Christmas table settings ideas for indoors and outdoors

It was one of my keen readers that asked “when are you going to do a post on table settings for Christmas?” So I thought, that’s a great idea, and so here we are. I decided to do two settings, one indoor for those of you that live in the colder parts of the world at Christmas time and one outdoors for the likes of myself that experience Christmas in summer and normally celebrate with a BBQ. I also wanted to challenge myself and only use what I had around the house to help give you ideas without having to actually buy much at all. Like we know Christmas is a very expensive time of year anyway. The table settings will be a simple affair as I’m not one for lots a jazz and simple is often a lot cheaper.

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This blog will be a bit different from my usual approach as I have decided to do mainly photos and explain what I have used for each of the settings. I hope you enjoy and get some great inspiration to help planning your awesome Christmas table setting.

Indoor table setting

As I stated above I am keeping these settings simple and low cost and in fact have just shopped my home for all the items I have used. So I challenge you to do the same, it’s amazing what you can find to use rather than find the need to buy yet more stuff.

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First up I raided my Christmas decoration stash and decided on the using the Christmas garland as the main centrepiece and use some decoration accessories to add to it. I also had Christmas crackers that are obviously an important part of the Christmas table setting.

Next up was working out the plate setting and the cutlery. The plates are part of of our everyday plates, well to be honest we only have everyday plates now….I am long past keeping something for best or special occasions, I mean it’s everyday a special occasion!!!.

Some time ago we got the big light blue plates from the local Harbour Hospice shop which we got for $20 for the set. They were basically new and from Citta (check out the price per plate!). I did however buy the smaller plates new, from Tony Sly, Raglan Wharf…like OMG I love his stuff and treated myself, like don’t you blame me.

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Which brings me onto my cutlery set. In our home we have some very special family pieces and one is the writing bureau from my beautiful Nana Anne . She also gave Pete and I a stunning silver service cutlery set for our wedding present. We keep these pieces together. The cutlery set is certainly something that I would like to use more often, however the pieces have to be hand washed and placed back into the box so it’s a bit of a mission. So I’m sad to say in this case they only come out on special occasions…..and of course Christmas is one of those. I do love fussing around and getting them out and using them.

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So if you have always wanted to know how to set a formal table setting well wonder no more. Above is a simple setting, essentially formal. The secret to these setting is the order of the cutlery lines up to the order of the plates and therefore the courses. You just start from the cutlery on the outside and work inwards and the dessert cutlery is a top the plates. There is a very good post at Real Simple.com with all the details on how to set a table. It’s handy to know this, especially when you are at that fancy restaurant and you have to figure out which fork to use! I always just remember….”outside in” .

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With the place settings I folded up the cloth napkin, again these are ones we use everyday, and placed them under the top plate. It just adds a bit of interest and formality to the setting and is a nice simple design. You will notice that I have done place names, I did this just to show how you could do this if you need to. This is actually helpful if you have a number of people coming. All I did some use some paper envelopes that I had and simply wrote the names on them and placed the flower on the top. Again it was a easy to do and gave a nice aesthetic.

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For the centre piece I used the Christmas garland. I didn’t want to clutter up the garland too much however did need to embellish it it a bit. I took a jute ribbon and wrapped it round losly around the length of it then run a small string of battery run copper lights along the top. In the middle of the table I placed three large church candles and at each end placed decorative silver reindeer. All these items I had in my Christmas decoration stash so I did not need to buy anything more.

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Challenge # 1 done for the insider Christmas table setting now for the outside one.

Outdoor Table setting

The intent of the outdoor setting is for a very casual, more BBQ style with a touch of Christmas. Again challenge was to shop the home and keep it simple.

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To add a Christmas theme to the centre piece I just laid out a length of jute ribbon (wide) and used that like a table runner. I placed the centre piece on top. All I did here was take the existing outdoors tray and place the decorative candles and holy onto the tray. You will see in my previous Christmas decoration posts how I have done this before.

One thing that I did was to use what I thought could serve as a double purpose was that of citronella candles. Most of us that eat outside a bit have these as they work really well. I just used ones that I already had. If you don’t have any I totally recommend getting some. You can pick them up from most hardware, garden centres and home stores. I have found, locally, that The Warehouse has a good selection at great prices


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To achieve a more casual style I used our everyday cutlery and took the napkin (hospice shop finds) and tied them up with string, garden twine in this case. I also used our plan white plates, (easy to replace if one breaks). The other option is to simple stack the plates up and bundle the cutlery together so everyone can just help themselves. The main thing to think about for outside use is the chance of something being dropped and broken. So maybe you could also use some of your plastic picnic wear, there are some really gorgeous outdoor dinning wear, great selection here from Kmart

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The old outdoor fridge is essential for the perfect outdoor Christmas dinning, and you don’t need some flash outdoor mini fridge. We just use this tin container (another hospice find) and fill it up with ice and it keeps the beves nice and cold.

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That’s it folks , my inside and outside Christmas table settings , hope you got some inspiration for your Christmas day…..remember to check around your home to see what you have to make a great table scape.

For more inspiration follow me on Pinterest as I have Christmas board set up where you can see even more ideas.

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Stay tidy!

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How I try for a stressless Christmas.

I am so excited to be joining 11 amazing Kiwi Mummy Bloggers, in the "12 Days of Christmas - A Blog Collaboration". We have a had a fantastic variety of topics of Christmas themed posts e.g. Craft Decorations, DIY gifts, Gift Inspiration ideas, Recipes and Family traditions. Yesterday, Day 10, we got a great treat from Hey Little Sweet Thing with her recipe for those yummy Dark Chocolate and Nutella Snowball Truffles. Tomorrow is the 12th Day and the last blog and we are visiting Karen from The Fruitful Homemaker  who is going to be chatting to us about making the ultimate Christmas Smoothie . Be sure to pop over after midday and have a read.

So today, Day 11, it's my turn, a little bit of stress relief in between some tasty treats!

Let me just say up front that the title of this blog maybe a bit exaggerated, not sure that one can actually have an entirely stressless Christmas. However, over the years of running around like a chicken with its head off, I have learnt a thing or two to help prevent you being taken away in a straight jacket! So I thought I`d share what I found that helped me through this crazy season!

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Plan it out!

Yes this boring old chestnut! let me say this right now, you actual have to do some planning if you want to stop simply running from one state of madness to the next. Planning does actually mean that you know what is coming next and so it actually feels like you are in some form of control.

I always started with my December calendar and marked out all the dates that I knew we had coming up. To help make sure that I got everything I would just think of all the activities and events that were coming up for all the family, such as;

  • School functions - prize giving, dinners, class picnic. lunches etc 
  • Sports functions  - end of year awards, BBQ`s
  • Family gatherings 
  • Friends get togethers
  • Work do's
  • Street parties 
  • School break dates
  • Work finish dates (if you are lucky enough to get a break)

After marking out the calendar, I worked out what was needed for each event and who had to go. I tell you that juggling the school activities while working full time is a challenge so if you can try to share this with your partner and extended family, like grandparents. Planning out the events meant that you can book in your helpers in advance, rather than ringing around the night before trying to get someone to help. Even better was working in with other parents so you can help each other out. 

Now to give yourself a bit of a treat and to help with planning, why not get yourself a Christmas Planner. I scored a Kikki K Christmas Planner in their January sales. Apart from having to re-write the December dates (2016 calendar) it's a great little planner and nice and small for your bag.

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There are also heaps of printable Christmas planners, just like this one from The Fruitful Homemaker  or a little more OTT with Brilliant Business Moms which came free this year to all her email subscribers. 

Stash it

"Stashing it" can save your bacon, and did mine so many times over the years. So quite literally this just means having a  stash of presents and food for any unplanned and forgotten events and visitors. I would just buy extra boxes of Sampler biscuits pre wrap them and just pull them out like I had planned the present..boom baby. You could also do a batch of home baking and make up wee Christmas hampers or treats in a jar...for a bit of inspiration just check out these great Christmas Truffles from Hey Little Sweet Thing that would be perfect for this.

In regards to food for events, which often were "bring a plate!" it helped me to always have a "go to" dish! This was either hokey pokey biscuits or carrots and humus, for a bbq or meal, it was potato salad.

TIP 2: Stash emergency cash in the car and at home for those emergency runs to the store for a gift or for takeaways. 

TIP 3: Stash energy bars and water in the car to hold off those starving kids who are Hangry!

Buy it

This is the fun part......who doesn't love spending up a storm on christmas present. But you don't really want to go into debt doing this.

TIP 4: Have a budget and use cash only to stop you going over the budget.

If you can, list out the presents you need to buy and try and purchase a couple per week over December. The same goes with your Christmas and Holiday food,  just add a few items (non-perishable)  into your weekly shop during December, then you only need to buy the perishables closer to the day.  I found that this really helped with the budget and pressure at the end of December.

2016 christmas , all hospice shop finds !

2016 christmas , all hospice shop finds !

 

Also don't forget to schedule in your shopping time. DO NOT....what ever you do, leave your shopping to the last minute, that is maximum stress level right there.

TIP 5: Go shopping on your own if you can, take the list, go to the mall, only shop for what's on your list, use cash only.

TIP 6: Christmas savings - set aside a small amount each week from the 1st Jan. I used a cash envelope and put in $20 a week plus $10 on the Pak'nSave Christmas club card. This essentially was our total Christmas budget.

My cash envelope system

My cash envelope system

 

Just Relax 

I always tried to get everything done by Christmas Eve so I could just sit back and relax and enjoy being with my family. So make sure when you are planning out what you need to do to actually plan for "relax day" on Christmas eve!. 

To help you get into the relaxing mood, check out this simple cocktail recipe at Parental Misadventures

So there you have it, these are the things that I found worked for me in surviving the month of madness!

Now for this year's Christmas.....well it has to be the least stressful ever!

Our Christmas 2017

This year Christmas is very very low key.  We are renovating our Kitchen, bathroom and ensuite also decorating the lounge, master bedroom, dinning room and two guest rooms. So one half of the house is currently a demolition zone and we are living in the other half. I don`t even have the Christmas tree up, however I have managed to find some where to hang the stockings!

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Our two kiddies, will be home for Christmas day, however as we don't really have any cooking facilities our dear friends are having us over on Christmas day and we will feast like Kings! 

The other tradition that we started last year and it was soo much fun, was to shop for gifts only at hospice shops and you can`t spend over $20 each person. We found some absolute gems, cheap and recycled ...the perfect gift, so we are doing it again this year. 

So now the kids are grown up it is certainly a lot calmer coming into Christmas, but it's funny as I kind of miss it!! 

Have a fabulous Christmas and enjoy the precious time with your family, even if they come in all excited at 4am!

 

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It's been such a privilege to have been part of the "12 Days of Christmas - A Blog Collaboration".  We have certainly been treated to some awesome blogs by 11 amazing Kiwi Mummy Bloggers. I have included a full list of all the bloggers taking part in the blog collaboration below, so you can see who has posted their blog on what day. You can also find all us on Facebook and Instagram - simply search #KMB12DaysofChristmas.

 

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Day 1 (1st December) My Other Name is Mum  

Day 2 (2nd December) Teacher by trade, Mother by nature

Day 3 (3rd December) Life With Lochlan 

Day 4 (4th December) Misses Mac 

Day 5 (5th December) Eva - The Living One

Day 6 (6th December) Caroline Larnach

Day 7 (7th December) KidsPlayNZ

Day 8 (8th December) Parental Misadventures

Day 9 (9th December)  Sweet Pea Homestead

Day 10 (10th December) Hey Little Sweet Thing

Day 11 (11th December) Tidying With Tania 

<---- YOU ARE HERE ----> 

Day 12 (12th December)  The Fruitful Homemaker



 

 

 

 

 

 

How I did my Christmas decor on a budget

What would December be without a blog about Christmas decorations. It is a fun time of year, albeit busy and a time for us decorators to let loose on the house, making it as festive as we can. I could go crazy on Christmas decorations, however thankfully my wallet does not allow it at present....but I still want to be surrounded by nice decorations. So the challenge for me this year was to do my christmas decorating on a budget. I needed to get to a bit creative! See how I got on!

Say hi to an old family favourite, given to us by my beautiful Auntie Odette, he still holds pride of place with the Christmas stockings.

Colour Theme

To help keep some focus to my decorations this year...(my eyes do wander to bright shiny things) I chose a colour theme, something that suits the colour and tones of my home decor and incorporates my existing Christmas decorations. So gold and silver it is, I just needed to get a bit more silver to balance out the gold of which I have a lot.

There are so many beautiful colour themes, just go on Pinterest or on Instagram and you will get inspired left right and centre!

Bargain Hunting 

New lights for the Christmas Tree this year would be great, however I decided to wait for the New Year sales to pick up some good ones. So I just added some silver garland from the $2 Shop that helped to balance out the gold on the tree. 

In one of my Hospice Shop trips I managed to find a bag of silver decorations which I picked up for 50c.  I took the silver baubles and just put them into a glass vase. I placed them on a shelf that gets the afternoon sun, so when it shines through they look like lights!  Boom... free lights!

My favourite cheap xmas decoration find was three "wreaths", again from the $2 Shop. They had big, rather ugly red bows, on them and nothing else so they did look cheap. I simply took the bows off and used them to surround my table centre pieces, and I think they look awesome!

Yes that is supposed to be mistletoe! It was a whole bouquet which I just broke up and placed around some plain candles, simple and very inexpensive christmas decorations.

How cute are the reindeer, these and the new pine garland were the only items I splurged on. Well maybe not splurged. The reindeer were on special, 50% off, at Farmers. so I got both for $20, fyi, they still have great specials on all the Christmas decorations.

The new garland ($30) got to surround the stereo stand as that is our "fire place" where we hang the Santa sacks. As it was plain, I just used a jute ribbon that I had brought from Spotlight and placed some bows that were in the 50c Hospice Shop bag. I also managed to get some little LED lights at Kmart for $12 which I placed in the garland. Just a hint, if you like Jute, don't buy the Christmas themed ribbons, just got the craft section and get the plain/patterned jute. They are a lot cheaper and you get much better length.  I got both rolls of ribbons for $7 each.

Another use of the $2 Shop silver garland was to wrap around the stair banister, to add a bit of texture and colour I used a different jute ribbon, black and gold.

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This is not all my decoration, however it is the best examples on how to do Christmas decorating on a budget.  The great thing is that you can just keep adding to your collection each year.  And do make sure that you take advantage of the Christmas sales in the New Year. 

I hope I have inspired you with some cheap Xmas decoration ideas. 

Happy Decorating and don't forget to share your great decoration tips.

How to solve Christmas present ideas for kids

Question! Can you create christmas gift ideas for kids that includes boredom busters, has fun items for the holidays and solves some back to school shopping!  Answer! Yes you can. I have got the solution and I think my adorable little niece and super dude nephew will love their creative present from their favourite Aunty and Uncle. Also am pretty sure my bro and sis in law will appreciate the presents too.

Kids Christmas present ideas

 

Ok so they are backpacks, not very original here, however it's the whole package that I think makes these christmas present ideas for kids so good.

The Problem

This time of year can be really hard work for Mums and Dads of younger kids. Not only are you having to deal with getting ready for Christmas, you also have to sort out school holidays. It is sometimes true madness. I recall those times when my two where young, it's hard work especially if you are working full time. So when it came to thinking about presents for wee M and H, I wanted to try and provide something that was entertaining for the kids as well as solving a problem for Mum and Dad. 

I got thinking and decided that the present needed to have the following items;

  • Summer holiday kit
  • Boredom busters
  • Christmas theme gifts
  • Back to school items

The Idea

My a hah moment was when I came up with the idea of getting them backpacks each. The first thing this is going to solve is to provide them both with backpacks for the new school year, thereby saving Mum and Dad a job. 

Now I just needed to fill up the bag with all sorts of goodies that would cover the remaining items, summer holiday kit, Christmas theme gifts and entertainment activities.

The Solution

It was such a shame that the solution required me to shop at Kmart! Yes I am one of those Kmart fans, sorry but they do have some great items (and some rubbish) and it's fun. The great thing for me was that I managed to get everything I needed in one shop and it didn't cost the earth.

So what did I get; 

Summer Holiday kit

  • Beach towel
  • Water bottle
  • Glow sticks (great for camping)

Boredom Busters

  • Mini microscope (really good for checking out the bugs in the garden)
  • Drawing and colouring book
  • Colour pencils
  • Stationery pack

Christmas theme gifts

  • Chocolate Santas
  • Wallet/purse to hold any Christmas money
Boredom busters

 

Back to School 

  • Backpack
Christmas present ideas for kids

 

I'm pretty sure wee M and H will be happy with their backpacks full of goodies and get hours of fun and entertainment over the summer and into the school year.

There are lots of other gift ideas that you could use, some suggestions are;

Inflatable beach equipment, swimming goggles, DVD's, Reading books, pencil cases, pens, craft sets, movie vouchers, knuckle bones, Rubix cube, MnM`s, Choc bars, and the list goes on.

You could even fill the backpacks up like a Santa sack or Christmas stocking. It is really only your imagination and purse that will limit you here.

So there you have it, my boredom busters, back to school, and christmas gift all in one! Can`t really get better than that if you are a kid and parent alike!.

Hopefully this has inspired you if you are stuck for some ideas for kids christmas presents.

I would love to hear what creative christmas gift ideas you have come up with.

Tidying with Tania