When I entertain, frequently due to necessity, I often think outside of the box. There are definitely times that warrant emphasis on our formal dining area or even the outdoor one. But the Christmas season presents all sorts of entertaining situations, including small-scale and last-minute socializing. And that’s when I use the coffee table. While so much entertaining right now is focusing on formal dinners with all the pretty settings or casual entertaining that comes with hanging out with family and friends, the coffee table is worth a second look and consideration for the holidays. Here are some tips to make yours shine like this one that I styled with goodies from my friends at Mark & Graham.

Layer styles and mix materials.

I’m not one to only use things that match when I entertain. Here, I mixed an assortment of good-looking serveware from Mark & Graham to arrange nibbles both savory and sweet. A wood tray contrasted with silver antler handles, and a marble-and-wood round server, are both stamped with our last name. These are a perfect gift as well if you aren’t done with your shopping quite yet.

Add decoration to shout the season. 

Working with a theme is always helpful and I love Christmas and all its motifs. On the coffee table that I decorated for an impromptu get-together with friends, I pulled out a bit of flair. White marble star coasters from Mark & Graham that are engraved with my initials, offer shimmery spots to place the cocktails that Mike mixed. It’s important to protect your table’s surface so make sure you have coasters at the ready. I wrapped a couple of boxes and wrapped them with plaid and craft papers to lift the Christmas spirit. A metallic snowflake is actually the cover to a mercury glass candle from Mark & Graham and adds the sparkle that we need on the dark afternoons during this time of the year.



Have fun with flicker. 

Winter days are short, but what joy it brings to have the dancing flames of a candle nearby. Turn to your candle stash for a luxurious presentation. Here, I used votives from Mark and Graham that are encased in glamorous mercury glass. Or, if you are gifted a beautiful candle as a hostess gift, show your appreciation by lighting it right then.

Remember that “live” gives life. 

You’ve heard me say it before. Adding something live from the garden on in this case, one simple magnolia bloom planted in an angled vase, breaths movement into a vignette, and brings the outdoors in.

Don’t forget to style the surroundings.

The coffee table may be the star, but you’ll want its neighbors to dazzle with beauty, too. In our Catskills living room, I styled the sofa with festive plaid pillows and an appliqué throw that boosts the winter charm.

Maybe your coffee table takes the reign for a simple after-hours gathering of snacks and drinks. Or maybe it becomes the centerpiece for an afternoon gathering during that week between Christmas and New Year’s when everyone is hanging around and relaxing. Either way, the coffee table, and its surroundings are a great spot to enjoy conversation and relax. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

I look at the mantel as a canvas for creativity. It’s relatively small, and a great spot to style, rethink, and style again as I change my mind and imagine something different. So as you decorate for Christmas this year, give Santa something fun to see as he makes his entrance and moves onto other homes. Then let it extend the spirit of the season until decorations are stowed away for next year.