This is our table set for New Year's Eve dinner, just before the fondu pot filled with hot oil was set in place. I really like our fondu pot because it has a very stable base with a wide area for the pot. Just the same - I always make my son move away from the table until the pot is safely set into place. We had pork and chicken fondu, green salad, rolls, egg/onion salad, vegetable salad, sauteed mushrooms/tomatoes/onions, potato croquettes, garlic/parmessean rice pilaf and carrot sticks and pickles. Those carrot sticks were a little nibbler to tide a little someone over until we ate - although we did eat very early.
A special meal calls for special linens and my son had fun picking out just the right table cloth, center cloth and napkins. I don't really care if everything "matches" - it is his job to pick the linens and that is an important part of setting the table. DH had to take a leaf out of the table to accomodate the choices. We have little New Year's good luck charms for our place settings too. DH and I re-used ones that we had previously (mine is 2 pigs, his is a bottle of champaign in a bucket with a tiny red mushroom). My son usually gets a stuffed pig for New Year's but didn't want one this year, so we picked out a good luck plant instead with a little chimney sweep figure. In Austria there are vendors all along the streets just before New Year's and you can buy all sorts of "lucky charms". Pigs are the most popular, but also lady bugs, chimney sweeps, mushrooms, bags of gold, horseshoes, etc. Getting a new plant seems to be a tradition. And of course, we had to wedge a candle somewhere on that crowded table - I like short, sturdy candles that are not prone to tipping over. We always have a water pitcher on the table too.
A special family fondu meal for 3 is our family tradition for New Year's Eve. This year we ate on schedule and put my son to bed at bedtime. We woke him up just before mid-night to go up on the roof to enjoy the city fireworks, which were just amazing! Some of our neighbors did the same thing so we toasted in the New Year together.
DH laughs at me because I dirty so many dishes per meal - because I like to put food in serving dishes, even if it IS just the 3 of us. I don't like serving food from the stove. What difference does it make - we run the dishwasher just about every day anyway. Because I don't like to have piles and piles of seasonal stuff (nor do I have the storage room for them!), I really like my white plates because they tend to go with every holiday. They are from Ikea so cheap - so I don't cry if I break one! I also like white table linens, although we have other colors too. I know - I am boring. But, I think it looks really pretty. Sometimes we buy paper napkins with a holiday theme. And, we have little seasonal accents that we put around the house. And candles.
We even like to play board games with a candle on the table. It just seems like a nice, relaxing way to wind down an evening.
Yesterday we had some unexpected guests for dinner and it was so nice to be able to quickly set a pretty looking table because it is routine for us. Also, because I keep a running meal plan in my head, I was able to change the menu to accomodate extra people knowing I had the ingredients on hand and was able to serve a nice meal with very little effort. Nice table clothes, a water pitcher, mats or tiles for hot dishes, serving bowls and utensils - these are all little touches that make me happy. And it makes meal time a special time in our day. Because every meal should be special.
But for art projects and cookie making - we have plastic clothes too!