My make-believe Christmas dinner party

This week, one of my favorite design bloggers, Rhoda, of Southern Hospitality came over to shoot my house all foofed up for Christmas. So I decided to set my dining room table for a dinner party. And I nagged and whined until my crazy talented interior designer buddy Clay Snider came over to help me make it look like I have a fabulous life-style. You know, the kind of life-style where you dress up in a stunning black velvet cocktail dress with your grandmother’s good pearls, and your movie star handsome husband wears a dinner jacket and a tartan cummerbund, and all your guests also look like they stepped out of a Ralph Lauren magazine ad. In my imaginary lifestyle, we serve glammed up food like shrimp bisque and Yorkshire pudding and chocolate souffle. Five course meals, with corresponding wines. I did decide to get a little realistic with my make-believe Christmas party. In this scenario, all our handsome fantasy friends show up for a semi-casual game dinner. They probably drove over in their pretend vintage Range Rovers. Because my husband and son are outdoorsmen, we actually do sometimes serve quail, ducks or venison which they have shot.Here’s what we came up with. And by we, I mean, I dragged all this stuff into the dining room and Clay did his magic.
The woven rattan chargers are set with my chipped-up white Mikasa dinner plates, which are topped with antique blue willow luncheon plates. As you might gather from my dining room decor, I’ve collected vintage blue and white transfer-ware for many years. The tartan napkins are from Pier One, bought at an estate sale, and the beaded napkin rings are also estate sale bargains. The flatware is my silverplate wedding pattern, mixed in with some random estate sale pieces. The footed beaded goblets were a recent lucky score from the Ballard’s Back Room outlet on DeFoors Avenue here in Atlanta. Four for $9.99!
The centerpiece is made up of magnolia branches poached from a city park near my house, along with similarly poached pine cones. One set of the deer antlers are from the large buck my son shot last fall–his first with a bow. The other antlers were all scored for $3 apiece at a yard sale in Savannah last year. We mixed in pheasant feathers my husband brought back from a hunting trip to South Dakota this year. The bird-dog sculpture is actually a vintage iron door-stop English Setter–a gift from me to my husband, because we own two similar setters, Wyatt and Weezie. The gigantic glass vase full of apples probably came from the Pottery Barn outlet in Gaffney, N.C.
Because I’m a firm believer that more is always more, we added in the antique transferware vases (estate sale finds) filled with nandina berries and leaves clipped from my yard, along with some curly willow branches from Home Depot. The silver pheasants aren’t terribly old, but I like their look, and I think I picked them up at an estate sale. That bottle of bourbon is there because we happen to like bourbon. So that’s my fantasy dinner party. After dinner, the make-believe ladies all retired to my (non-existent) salon, where we traded gossip and bon mots, and the men-folk wandered into the (also non-existent) library, for Havana cigars and an excellent port. We served ourselves drinks from this antique mahogany game table–yes, another estate sale score, which is topped with one of my many estate sale silver plate trays, which I like to think class up my house–even when the only thing served on them is cheap chardonnay.
So that’s my make-believe dinner party. Aren’t you glad I invited you? You must come back New Year’s Eve, for our intimate faux black-tie foie gras, caviar and champagne party.