One Tabletop, Three Holidays

With a few tweaks, you can take your dining table from Thanksgiving to New Year's with ease.

One tabletop, three holidays

One Tabletop, Three Holidays

Thanksgiving: Make a runner and set of no-sew napkins from blue, brown and copper plaid fabric. We used about 5 yards. Create a casual yet elegant vibe by placing white plates on faux copper chargers. Set out simply designed wine glasses. On the sideboard, stack two cake stands lined with scrapbook paper and load them up with apples.

Thanksgiving favor on plate

Thanksgiving Gifts For Guests

Create a place card out of a small, brown paper box. (Check the wedding favors aisle at your local craft store.) Place a note inside the box telling guests why you're thankful to have them in your life. Tie each box with a satin ribbon, and attach a handwritten tag.

Thanksgiving table display with aluminum cans

Thanksgiving Table Display

Gussy up large aluminum cans (we used tomato sauce cans) by using double-sided tape to affix wide bands of blue and copper-colored ribbon. Wrap an inexpensive, 10-incy by 48-inch laminate shelving board with coordinating fabric. Fold fabric firmly over board and fasten with strong tape underneath. Stud with decorative nail heads and top with loose display of pinecones, acorns and two bags of shimmery copper glass gems. Votive candles add extra glow as their flames reflect off the gems, cans and glassware.

Thanksgiving sideboard with

Thanksgiving Sideboard Display

Fashion a runner from the same fabric used on the laminate board. Pack grapevine cornucopias with a bounty of seasonal goodies. Copper-colored ribbon will tie the look back to the tabletop. Spell out a seasonal sentiment by embellishing 8-inch papier-mache letters with copper-colored glitter. To frame the scene, set creamy-white pillar candles atop squatty candlesticks tied with copper-hued ribbon.

Christmas tablescape with with cider in glassware

Christmas Tablescape

Christmas: Keep runner in place. Loosely roll napkins and tie with copper-colored ribbon left over from Thanksgiving-themed display. Keep plates and chargers as they were. Fill glass mugs with golden cider and a cinnamon stick and chunky orange slice. The filled mugs serve double duty as both decoration and beverage. Set out chunky glass highballs for water or each guest's thirst quencher of choice.

Christmas gift on plate

Christmas Gift For Guest

Go a touch more formal with this gift for guests by dressing up tiny dark brown boxes with white satin ribbon and mini jingle bells. Place a decadent store-bought truffle inside.

Christmas tabletop display with cans, pinecones and votives

Christmas Tabletop Display

For the tabletop display, keep metal cans and votive candles as they were. Cover laminate board with coordinating blue fabric. Replace copper glass gems that adorned the November table with inexpensive silver ball ornaments of varying sizes—they're festive and add sparkle.

Christmas sideboard display with apples and cornucopia

Christmas Sideboard Display

On the sideboard, leave runner in place. Keep cornucopias intact, but mix in ornaments. Replace a pillar candle with a trio of votives. Remove letters and add a Christmas tree-inspired cake stand display. Working from the fall arrangement, add a third stand of apples. Turn the middle stand 45 degrees. Trim with ornaments and top with a homemade star made from a glittered cardboard cutout taped to a skewer or stiff wire.

New Year's tablescape with clocks and votives

New Year's Tablescape

New Year's: Use blue corduroy to make a new runner and set of napkins. Remove chargers. Keep chunky glass highballs, if desired. Serve cocktails in sugar-rimmed flutes. Arrange glasses on a porcelain platter and set on the board as guests arrive, and enjoy the oohs and aahs. On the sideboard, make a special message extra special by embellishing papier-mache letters with silver glitter.

New Year's gift on plate

New Year's Gift For Guests

Favor your guests with pretty white-and-silver-edged gift bags tied with satin ribbon. Enclose a small good luck charm for the year ahead.

New Year's tabletop display with clocks and glassware

New Year's Tabletop Display

In the tabletop display, replace copper-colored ribbons wrapping cans with blue ribbon. At their bases, scatter blue and silver ornaments and handfuls of chocolate kisses. Remove earthy elements like pinecones and acorns, but keep votive candles and ornaments. Mix in funky chrome clocks.

New Year's sideboard display with clocks and globe

New Year's Sideboard Display

Create a runner for the sideboard with blue corduroy. Remove cornucopias. Replace copper-colored ribbons on candlesticks with blue ones. Scatter chocolate kisses and ornaments along length of sideboard. Add clocks of varying size, placing them at varying heights. Add a globe to to salute the worldwide celebration.

One tabletop, three holidaysThanksgiving favor on plateThanksgiving table display with aluminum cansThanksgiving sideboard with "Thanks"Christmas tablescape with with cider in glasswareChristmas gift on plateChristmas tabletop display with cans, pinecones and votivesChristmas sideboard display with apples and cornucopiaNew Year's tablescape with clocks and votivesNew Year's gift on plateNew Year's tabletop display with clocks and glasswareNew Year's sideboard display with clocks and globe


Let’s keep it real. Most of us have one dining table, one set of dishware, one set of flatware and one set of linens (two, if we’re lucky). And until scientists figure out how to clone humans, there’s only one of us, too—and we’re strapped for time.

So, when the holidays blow in like a freight train, we want hard-working spaces to be as nimble as we are, with items that can toggle from one festive occasion to the next. Whoosh! Enter the transitional tabletop. The ideas are fresh and simple, the materials are easy to find, and the color palette is versatile enough to extend from one holiday to the next.


A copper and blue color palette sets a sophisticated—but in no way stuffy—tone. (See Thanksgiving tablescape above.)

TIP: If you’re using votives, add a tablespoon of water to each before placing a candle inside. The burned-down candle will easily slip out, and you can reuse the votive.


We amped up our handsome plaid palette with blue corduroy, adding seasonal warmth and cheery color to the table. (See Christmas table setting above.)

TIP: A super-safe alternative to traditional candles are flameless votives.

New Year’s

Understated elegance transitions to an electric, let’s-party-like-it’s-1999 blue and silver color palette. (See New Year’s table decor above.)

TIP: You can find inexpensive clocks at a discount store or use vintage or flea-market clocks in their place.

Holiday table settings designed by Stephen Campbell.

Photography by Nancy  Yuenkel.

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