Over the holidays, the dining table becomes the central point of all activity.
It’s where the food is laid out and heartily consumed. It’s where families and friends gather to reminisce over old memories while building new ones.
But besides being a point of conversation, it can also be a conversation piece.
1. Make old things new.
“I always like to mix it up and make it fresh. I use a lot of pieces from my grandmother or my great-grandmother, but maybe use it in different ways that feels more modern. For example, I might take my grandmother’s glass tumblers and use them as votives – fill them up with sand while I’m at the beach or fill them up with water and put votive candles in them.”
2. Give it character.
“I’ll go out to my garden and pick dried branches, old flowers – maybe spray paint them, maybe put them out along with fresh flowers on the table so that it just really feels different and unique, and not like you just went out and bought something.”
3. Remember the guest.
“I like to set tables where each guest gets a gift or feels like it’s a special thing. If it’s an individual flower arrangement at every table setting or an ornament on the table to tie the napkin, whatever it is, try to make the guests feel like you’re really thinking about them … I have famous chef friends who will tell me very sincerely that it’s not about the food sometimes. The lighting is 60 percent of the meal, or the table setting is 60 percent of the meal.”
4. Make simple additions that show effort.
“It doesn’t have be a lot. It could literally be just candles on the table, dim lights or the shimmer or sparkle of something. It’s a matter of making your guests feel like you really spent the time and effort and love and care to do something different.”
As for the guest seeking the perfect host or hostess gift, Aram says combinative gifts work best: a bottle of wine and a bottle opener, a cake on a cake stand.
Even after the night is over, the memory will always be relived when the present is reused.
To purchase Michael Aram pieces for your next holiday dinner, click here.