10 Thrift Store Christmas Tablescapes chock-full of ideas for beautiful, inexpensive holiday table settings

I feel like it’s “idea week” here on the blog… we had Christmas centerpiece ideas on Monday, crafts on Tuesday, and tablescape ideas today. And tomorrow, I’ll be posting my full 2022 Christmas tablescape, though there’s a sneak peek of it included at the end of this post. 🙂

Each of the tables here has its own blog post, which I’ll link for you so you can see more photos and get all the details. The best part is, everything used in these Christmas tablescapes is secondhand: handed down, thrifted, found at antique malls or flea markets, occasionally scored on Ebay, or occasionally not secondhand but for sure found on clearance – hey, ya-girl here is CHEAP, so… everything I do is affordable and represents another victory in “the thrill of the hunt”!

Ok, on with the parade of Christmas tablescapes!

First up, two tables for two!

This one is a very simple setting featuring “Woodland Santa” salad plates.

Christmas tablescape ideas

And here’s another look at the table for two I just shared a few days ago, featuring vintage Royal Ruby salad plates by Anchor Hocking, in the unique square shape called “Charm.”

Christmas tablescape ideas

Next, here are my favorite casual Christmas tables!

This one features “Christmas Ribbon” by World Bazaar:

Christmas tablescape ideas

Here’s more of the “Woodland Santa” coordinated dinnerware set. These were created by illustrator/artist Debbie Mumm. Be sure to click through to the full post to see all the chores Santa is doing outside!

Christmas tablescape ideas

Next, here are a few more elegant Christmas tables!

This very simple table was envisioned for a Christmas luncheon and features two different sets of antique transferware: “Shannondale” by Ridgways of England, and green “Roxbury” by Alfred Meakin, also of England.

Christmas tablescape ideas

You’ll see that I really love going over the top with gold – this table is a favorite (even though the flatware is placed incorrectly – horrors!) because of those amazing dinner plates. They are not marked, but the wide gold shoulder is just amazing!

Christmas tablescape ideas

The next table was photographed on an overcast day so the color of the dinnerware didn’t come across very well but they are a deep maroon with the beautiful white blooms. The pattern is called “Splendor” by Sakura.

Christmas tablescape ideas

Johnson Brothers “Windsor Fruit” was the featured dinnerware pattern in this table – the deep purple tablecloth echoes one of the hand-painted shades on the plate, and I had fun folding and decorating the napkins on this one!

Christmas tablescape ideas

Finally, here are two Christmas tables featuring “Old Country Roses” by Royal Albert, my all-time favorite pattern.

I collect “OCR” very slowly from Ebay, making sure I always get the oldest backstamp because this pattern came out the same year I was born. The tables look similar, but there are some beautiful differences. This one is from 2020:

Christmas tablescape ideas

And here’s a preview of this year’s Christmas with Old Country Roses table – no link yet for this one, but I’ll update this round-up as soon as the individual post is up.

Christmas tablescape ideas

Hope these will each give you one or two ideas to steal for your next tablescape, and hope you have FUN putting together your table this year!

For much more Christmas tablescape inspiration, please join us over in the Facebook group, Thrifty Tablescapers, where you’ll find a very creative group of kindred spirits who share the love of creating beautiful tables on a budget!

Here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this post for future inspiration – and, I’ll be linking up over at Susan’s beautiful blog, Between Naps on the Porch, for Tablescape Thursday.

Ten Christmas Thrift Store Tablescapes
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7 Super-simple Christmas craft DIY projects

The Christmas season is a time of traditions, and for me one of those traditions is hauling out the craft supplies and making a huge mess, usually late at night… making something new for my home. Here’s a round-up of seven easy Christmas crafts you can browse for ideas. Each one has its own blog post, so just follow the links for the tutorials! Happy crafting!

Quilted seasonal kitchen towel

I’ve been making these for over 30 years – Quilted Kitchen Towels are SO adorable and can be adapted to any season! (You might also enjoy the little story about what happened when I made one for my mother!)

Quilted kitchen towel project
Embroidery hoop, seasonal kitchen towel, a bit of stuffing, and embellishments – easy and cute!

Toaster Pastry Candy House

Grown-ups AND kids can have fun with this one – the Toaster Pastry House is an easy twist on the classic gingerbread house.

Toaster pastries, candy, and even a little silver display tray were all from Dollar Tree!

Easy Christmas Art from gift bags

A couple years ago, Dollar Tree had the CUTEST series of gift bags. I framed up a set of three for instant Christmas Gift Bag Art! Like the kitchen towels above, this one can be adapted to fit other seasons.

You can make your own custom frames if you’re handy, or just trim the bags to fit existing frames. I’m still using these, three years later!

Christmas Village Carousel

My Christmas Village has a different look – I paint my buildings pink and cover them in glitter! (I also designed a turning carousel to stack it on. You can read about that here, although the post is not a tutorial because Greg built it for me.) The Christmas Village and its carousel are magical!

I love the pink frothy carousel because it takes up less room. It still needs a topper on the center post, and I’m looking for a way to motorize the spin!

Quick ‘Flip’ for Santa’s Thrifted Boot!

Paint and glitter transformed an okay thrifted ceramic project into a show-stopper!

This one was as easy as painting and applying glitter, using supplies I already had on hand!

Secondhand Goblets Transformed for Christmas

Another simple “paint it and fill it” project. I painted crystal goblets and filled with seasonal florals and craft picks. You can vary the colors and filler for different seasons on these painted goblet floral containers!

I kept the gold goblets non-seasonal so I could easily add Christmas or other seasonal baubles when needed. You could also try different paint colors for other seasons.

Teacup Christmas Tree

A single ornament gifted to me by my daughter inspired me to collect miniature tea things and turn them into ornaments. Learn my tips and tricks for making teacup Christmas ornaments!

Miniature tea things are easily turned into tree ornaments!

Are you trying any new crafts this Christmas? I’d love to know what you’re making! Here’s an image to Pin if you’d like to save this post for future ideas!

7 cute Christmas crafts
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Christmas centerpiece ideas

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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Easy Christmas craft/DIY: Ornaments for a teacup Christmas tree

This is another one of those easy Christmas craft DIY projects that – in all honesty – I’m embarrassed to call a tutorial. Let’s just call this one, “Here’s a simple idea, and a few tips for problem-solving as you go along.” So instead of boring you with the entire story of how this project came to be in what could be construed as (but most assuredly is not!) an attempt to pad a blog post, I’m going to start off with the actual how-to so you can get right to the task of making your own. What we’re making here are Christmas tree ornaments, using miniature tea things: a teacup Christmas tree!

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree
  1. Buy miniature tea things from thrift stores.
  2. Tie ribbon through the handles.
  3. Hang them from the branches of your Christmas tree.

That’s it – that’s the tutorial!

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree

At this point you’re either still reading because you are genuinely interested in how this idea came about and can’t wait to absorb my tips and tricks for making your ornaments OR… you’re already off making your own teacup ornaments and you don’t need me anymore! For those of you in the former category, I present the afore-mentioned backstory!

If you love – as author Jane Austen called them – tea things, there’s a way you can enjoy them at Christmas in addition to brewing your favorite holiday blend and taking out your prettiest Christmas china: you can use them, particularly in miniature, as ornaments on your Christmas tree!

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree

My “teacup Christmas tree” started – as so many collections do – with a single perfect item and became, well, a bit of an obsession. My daughter had given me a miniature teacup and saucer in my all-time favorite pattern, Old Country Roses, fashioned as a Christmas ornament. I placed it on the tree each year, front-and-center at my own eye level so I could easily admire it.

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree

Now what’s that song by Madonna, the one from the movie Dick Tracy…? Oh yes –

One is fun, why not two?
And if you like two, you might as well have four,
And if you like four, why not a few… why not a slew

So one year it just occurred to me: more! Why not adorn an entire tree in teacups? Nevermind that I don’t even drink much tea (gasp!). It just seemed like the perfect easy Christmas craft, so off I went in search of miniature “tea things”… applied pretty ribbon to them and VOILA! Teacup Tree!

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree

I did this for a couple of years, hanging tea things on my pink flocked Christmas tree. Then in 2020 – the year I needed “extra sparkle” at Christmastime because didn’t we all – I bought a new-to-me (thrifted) gold tinsel tree. I hung my original Old Country Roses teacup, but the pink flocked tree and the other tea ornaments sat in the closet for two years. For 2022 I decided to just bring out ALL THE TREES and so this year I will have Gold Sparkle Tree, Pink Flocked Tree, Bathroom tree, and Woodland Tree. A selection of teacup ornaments will once again make an appearance on the pink flocked tree.

Oh! Tips and tricks – yes there are a few things that will ensure success with your ornament-making. You are smart enough to identify (and solve!) these potential problems on your own through trial and error, but I offer them here in case they are helpful for you. Just think of them as points to ponder. Shortcuts. Hacks, if you will – although I actually hate that term. Here they are:

Select miniature and/or lightweight pieces for your ornaments. Full-size teacups, unless you have a very large and sturdy tree, would just be too heavy. Lightweight demitasse cups could also work. The weight is the key.

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree
This little teapot appears to have been made to be an ornament – notice the tiny hole in the top? I wanted to use ribbon though (see next tip) which I looped through the handle.

Use narrow ribbon, knotted and with the ends trimmed at an angle, for a prettier look. Thin gold cord could also work. Whatever you use, keep your loops on the small side unless you have very “full” branches on your tree.

Easy Christmas craft teacup tree

Glue lids (on teapots and sugar bowls) permanently in place using your good ol’ E-6000 glue. If you have an actual 2-piece cup-and-saucer set, glue the cup to the saucer.

Easy Christmas craft teacup ornaments
The teacup and saucer were separate elements on this one – I glued them together using E-6000.

Run your ribbon through the handle of the item but keep in mind that the piece is going to find its natural center of gravity. You could end up with teacups hanging pretty much straight sideways, which looks a little odd. It’s okay to glue the ribbon in a spot along the handle if it helps the piece hang at an aesthetically pleasing angle.

The pieces are going to pull down the branches. It’s okay to hang the ribbon on a higher branch but then “nest” the actual ornament on a branch just below that, to prevent the piece from pulling the branch too far down. My flocked tree is perfect for this because the flocking gives each branch a bit of texture and the pieces don’t just easily “slide off.” This doesn’t work as well on the gold tinsel tree because the branches are a very smooth texture.

Easy Christmas craft teacup ornaments
Nesting on a lower branch, this little demitasse cup (marked “Occupied Japan” on the bottom) is also supported to a degree by the lighting wire.

Hopefully this post inspires you to try making your own teacup Christmas tree! This year I set up my pink flocked tree in the kitchen and decorated it with my collection of vintage Shiny Brite ornaments plus several of the teacup ornaments. They’re hard to spot from a distance, but a nice surprise when you get up close.

Easy Christmas craft teacup ornaments

It looks lovely – and now I’m wondering: might my Twining’s tea packets also be used as ornaments? Maybe if I add some glitter…

Here is an image to Pin in case you’d like to save this easy Christmas craft idea – a teacup tree! – for future inspiration!

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Christmas tablescape table for two

A recent thrifting trip yielded this gorgeous set of Royal Ruby “trios” (snack plate, saucer, and tea cup) by Anchor Hocking, in the somewhat unusual square shape called “Charm.”

Royal Ruby by Anchor Hocking
I mean this pretty much screams “CHRISTMAS,” right? Especially in December.

Although it was missing one cup/saucer combo (only 3 each of those), it inspired me to do a table-for-two using the snack plates in a traditional red/green Christmas color combination. It turned out lovely – especially in candlelight!

Royal Ruby Anchor Hocking table for two
Christmas tablescape for two

The place settings consist of dinner plates by Baum Brothers Formalities called “Bernadotte.” I always seem to forget I have this pattern, until I find it while searching in the cupboard for inspiration and it just never disappoints. Its ivory tone-on-tone design is so subtle and of course those scalloped gold edges – elegant perfect!

Royal Ruby and Bernadotte
The fun sequin placemats – a set of four – were a gift from my daughter many years ago. They are a perfect “Christmas Red.”
Baum Brothers Formalities Bernadotte
Baum Brothers Formalities Bernadotte

Now originally, this was going to be a table for four. But glassware proved to be a challenge! I’m beginning to really really love the look of crystal, and of course I have a few options there including with and without gold rims. I set out several and played a game of “These… or these?” for a solid 15 minutes. But I’ve used those pieces fairly often lately, and I was trying to do red and green for this table. I thought the glassware could be a great opportunity to pull in both colors. So I stood and stared at my glassware cupboard for a few more minutes, and then I realized: I have two each of these, so why not do a table for two instead!

Red and green glassware

Napkins are a fairly recent thrift store score and the sparkly rings have been in my stash for a long time. Flatware is Americana Golden Heritage by International Silver, also a secondhand score several years ago.

Pomegranate napkins

I have some Christmas decor displayed on the nearby sideboard, and I literally pulled all the items for the centerpiece from that collection. What could be more classic than Christmas trees and Santa?

Christmas table for two centerpiece
Christmas table for two centerpiece
Christmas table for two centerpiece

Here are a couple more views:

Christmas table for two
Christmas table for two

Even prettier in candlelight – keen observers will notice something I haven’t shared yet, acquired AFTER I had set and photographed this table! More on that soon!

Christmas table for two in candlelight
Christmas table for two in candlelight
Christmas table for two in candlelight
Christmas table for two in candlelight

I’m sharing my Royal Ruby Table for Two for Tablescape Thursday over on Susan’s fabulous blog, Between Naps on the Porch. Click through for much more tablescape inspiration!

And, here’s an image to Pin in case you’d like to save this “Royal Ruby Table for Two” for future ideas!

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