Christmas centerpiece ideas

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I have a lot of fun putting together centerpieces for my tables – to me it’s one of the most creative aspects of tablescaping! I admit I do go over the top sometimes, and not just at Christmas. 🙂 I’d like to share a few Christmas centerpiece ideas and inspiration pictures with you, not in the spirit of suggesting you copy them exactly (unless you want to!) but in the spirit of illustrating that centerpieces can be creative, fun, inexpensive, and imperfect – and still add to the beauty of the table and the enjoyment of the meal!

Also, note that everything shown in these photos has all come from thrift stores and other second-hand sources – so I feel like it’s “no harm done” to the budget when collecting these items, many of which can be re-used in other seasons.

Here are the types of centerpieces I usually create:

Quick, simple containers:

These are super-easy! I’ll generally “shop the house” for a vase, bowl, or other container and fill it with silk flowers (or real, if I’ve splurged!) or other items that enhance the theme of my table setting or evoke the season. Now granted, I shop thrift stores often for these types of containers so when I “shop the house” I’m very likely to find something suitable – but that’s the fun of thrifty tablescaping: buying stuff on the cheap so you have lots of options when the time comes! Here are some examples of easy container Christmas centerpieces.

Transferware bowl with silk flowers and Christmas ornaments
This red and white transferware bowl was part of the dinnerware set used for the meal. I filled it with a silk pre-made bouquet and Christmas ornaments from my stash.
Christmas centerpiece ceramic swan container
I’ve used this gorgeous thrifted ceramic swan for both Christmas and Winter-themed tables. Here he is just filled with faux Christmas greens, silk roses, and faux white snowy poinsettias. (Shhh… don’t tell my other dinnerware sets, but this Royal Albert “Old Country Roses” is my favorite!)

Runners and ramblers:

I’m not sure if there’s a “real” name for this style, I just call them runners or ramblers because they run a portion of the length of the table or just ramble down the middle. I usually start with a bed of something: maybe greenery or a piece of fabric, and then just build on top of that with items that support my theme or colors. These are always fun because you can tuck unexpected little items into them. Here are a couple examples:

Woodland-themed rambler centerpiece
If the weather was good on Christmas Day, you might find these items on a walk in the woods – greenery, acorns, pinecones, deadfall pieces of wood, and tiny birds. The dinnerware for this one was appropriately called “Woodland Santa,” illustrated by artist Debbie Mumm.
Lantern rambler centerpiece
This rambler rested on greenery again, but the “Christmas Ribbon” dinnerware by World Bazaar was very traditional so I pulled in the red using cute little candle lanterns. I varied the height for interest, a task made easier by the fact that one of the lanterns was missing its base – hooray for imperfection! Most of the actual “rambling” on this one was done by the greenery and rustic burlap ribbon.

Symmetrical Style

Another favorite – and very common – Christmas centerpiece style I like to use is just a symmetrical arrangement with a center “feature” element flanked by (usually) candles or other smaller elements. Here are a couple examples of that!

Symmetrical Christmas centerpiece with sleigh and candles
One of my all-time favorite tables despite the technically incorrect placement of flatware (:D) I called this one “The Golden Glow of Christmas.” In the center is yet another sleigh container filled with greenery and ornaments from my stash. It’s flanked by two rather unique candlesticks and then a pair of Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) toothpick holders that each contain a half-size votive candle.
Symmetrical Christmas centerpiece with deer and candles
Same erroneous flatware placement, and same unusual candlesticks here – this one features a gold-painted papier-mache deer nesting on a bed of gold-dusted silk English ivy. Candlesticks are a really easy item to use in creating symmetrical style centerpieces because they’re easily found in pairs.

Epergne Elegance

You might have to actually search Google for “epergne” images to see what it’s supposed to be (and how it’s pronounced – “eh-pearn-ye” in French, “eh-pearn” in English?) … to me an epergne is a tall-ish thing with a vessel at the top for holding flowers or food, and maybe even smaller vessels (attached) surrounding it to hold more flowers or food. There are a lot of beautiful antique silver ones out there, and I have tried to cheat this look on a couple of occasions. Although my efforts would never put Gilded Age hostesses to shame, I really love the “budget look” I’ve been able to achieve. While neither of my epergne examples are technically a Christmas centerpiece, I’m sure you can easily envision how they could be adapted:

Epergne centerpiece
“Nothing succeeds like excess!” Words to live by, uttered by the Dowager Countess of Grantham as played by Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey, one of my top five all-time favorite television programs. The makeshift epergne here is actually a metal lamp base I spray-painted gold, with a small gold electro-plated platter sitting on top for the vessel. Honestly, the two pieces are not even attached – they just looked great together and over-the-top when flanked by a pair of drop-crystal candlesticks (also painted) in a similar figural Baroque style.
Epergne centerpiece with platter
I know you can’t tell from the photo, but the silver platter here is elevated by a crystal cake stand and then loaded with food and flowers. The flowers and grapes are faux (you might recognize the stunt-grapes from the other epergne example above) but the apples and a glass dish of cubed cheese on the other side are real. (“I’m cutting the cheese in the kitchen – why don’t we all go in there?” Remember that line from Even Stevens on the Disney Channel, early 2000’s? No… just me? Okay…) Matching silver three-barrel candlesticks flank this low-slung epergne.

Hopefully these pictures have inspired you – to build a second-hand stash of your own, shop your house for containers and other elements, cheat your favorite high-end looks, and above all have fun playing with seasonal elements to create a less-than-perfect centerpiece that brings you Christmas joy and gives you something to talk about around the table!

Do you have a favorite style of centerpiece you enjoy creating? What is your go-to container for fresh or faux flowers? What will you create this Christmas to spark conversation at your dinner table? Please share in the comments!

Here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this post for future Christmas centerpiece ideas!

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