An Informal (Yet Sentimental) Approach to Festive Tabletops


This post was kindly sponsored by Seventh Generation. All images, words and opinions are my own.

Ive set my fair share of tables for the holidays, and yet I still cant remember which utensil goes where, or in what order nor do I care, to be honest. Tablescapes are like art projects that I (usually) enjoy tackling. Since I still dont cook, the tabletop design is what I feel I can bring to the dining experience. At least once per holiday season, I try to carve out an hour or two to come up with something special in our tiny home or garden. (The cleanup, however, Im not so patient with. But more on that later.)

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For me, its not about new or extravagant dishware, flatware or drinkware. What brings me satisfaction is coming up with creative, unfussy, space-saving formats for sharing the same items Ive had for decades with our guests, and also figuring out clever ways to make do without formal dining accessories, of which we have none. (Gravy boats? Napkin rings? Chargers? Butter dishes? Salad forks? Glasses for red vs white? Meh. Were doing just fine without it all.)

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While I try not to get to emotionally invested to any of our belongings, I do of course harbor sentimental attachments to certain items:

The vintage, blue-spotted mugs that I remember using in both of my childhood homes while sitting next to my mom and dad.

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The hand thrown, imperfect plates that a childhood friend made for me when I rented my first apartment sans-roommates in my junior year.

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And then the jug he made me 9 years later as a housewarming gift when Adam and I moved into the cottage.

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The handmade, ceramic pour-over coffee filter that that the illustrator, editor and I used as inspiration when coming up with visuals and concepts for my book.

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The single spoon I bought for my apartment in southern France, and then revisited repeatedly over the course of a decade, sharing it with old friends and new, as well as my family, before finally slipping it into my carry-on suitcase for the flight home to Venice Beach.

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If it all washed away, Id still experience the visceral feelings when thinking of these pieces.

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But while theyre still here with me, I appreciate the chance to honor and tinker with them daily, and share them with loved ones who join us for special holiday meals here in our tiny home. (There is no difference between the items we use when dining as a family vs those we use when hosting.)

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Since the house is so small, we have to clean up as we go along. Luckily, everything here is close together, so even if Adam or I are tidying up in the kitchen, we can still talk to our guests who are an arm stretch away in the living/dining room.

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On a daily basis, Adam usually immediately washes most of the dishes by hand with soap we get at our local refill station. (Adam is the dishes partner, Im the laundry partner.) But when were entertaining, neither one of us wants to stand hunched over the sink with our back to our guests, so thats when we finally get to put our dishwasher to use.

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Im not sure if Id be so bold as to put my beloved ceramics through any sort of machine if I was just starting out with them today. (Nor do I recommend it unless its stated as safe by the maker.) But over the years and varying waves of frenzy or absentmindedness, I placed some of these pieces into the dishwasher and was relieved later on to discover that they held up beautifully. So now, when were hosting over the holidays, we use the dishwasher without worry.

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We dont go through much dishwasher detergent, but when we need it we can find it within walking distance at Erewhon, or within biking distance at Whole Foods. For years weve been usingSeventh Generations Dishwasher Gel - Free & Clear, which is formulated to work in all dishwashers, and comes in a bottle thats made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials.

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Its Leaping Bunny certified, and EPA Safer Choice certified. This means that all ingredients no exceptions are reviewed and and pass for the safest possible ingredients for human health and satisfying environmental criteria.Seventh Generations Dishwasher Gelworks on the dishes that we dont rinse as thoroughly in the throws of hosting (we load them in the bottom rack facing towards the center), and it does so with plant-based enzymes, and without the use of chlorine bleach, dyes, or fragrances. Seventh Generation is a Certified B Corporation, which means its certified as being better for workers, better for communities and better for the environment.

Thank you to Seventh Generation for making quality products that we use here in our tiny home, and for sponsoring this post. Partnerships like this help us keep our small creative business in operation, and keep our twinkle lights glowing.

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