Back to the basics: Easter dinner tabletop

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About Sandy

Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.

tablesetting

The world is looking for something real, something tangible, and to be loved. So this year I’ve been thinking about a way to show the people in my life true love and authenticity, by sharing the common life around our Easter Sunday dinner table.

My goal this year is to not only keep it simple, but to get back to the basics of true hospitality, and not let a large dinner be ruled by my pocketbook.

Entertaining can be so overdone these days. Really, all we need is to invite our guests, create a warm place to gather (whether that be a sit-down-dinner or an easy buffet) and have a willing heart to reach out to others and include them in the day.

Delegating the food will definitely help with your budget, and will create a more “community-type” entertaining style. I’ve found that people expect to help. Most of our friends know how expensive entertaining can be, especially for a holiday meal.

This year, back to the basics Easter entertaining also means to use what I have (dishes, flowers, and greenery from the yard, even go through my stash of paper napkins), and work from the heart rather than the debit card or VISA!

How can this be done? Let’s start with the table…

• Nothing’s more basic than pulling out my Dollar Tree water goblets and dishes that I’ve been using for years…

• Looking through my ironed tablecloths, or better yet, borrowing from a friend…

• Planning a meal where everyone contributes, down to asking for help if you get behind…

• Even grabbing a few kids to help bus dishes after the main meal…

• And working together in the kitchen afterwards doing the dishes and overall kitchen clean up.

One tip that I always recommend before any large gathering in your home: Set your table the night before Easter Sunday, so it’s all ready when you wake up Easter morn. It’s one less thing to have to think about, and it actually brings a calmness to your spirit, and inspiration for the day ahead!

Remembering that hospitality comes from the heart, here’s my plan for this beautiful Easter Sunday, that fills my heart with love and thanks for “new life.”

tulips

10 Steps to a Beautiful Easter Tabletop

1. Count the people who will be attending Easter brunch or dinner.

2. Decide if you plan to serve buffet style, family-style, or if you plan to serve your guests individually.

3. If you’re serving buffet-style or individually, you can squeeze more guests in around the table.

4. If you plan to serve family-style, then your guests will need more elbow-room because you need to make room on the table for the food.

5. Make sure your table cloths are pressed and ready for use. You may need to push 2 or 3 tables together.

6. Have your kids help you count the stemware, dishes, and silverware.

7. Make sure you have “springy” napkins for use. And remember, using paper is okay!

8. Have your children help you set the table, if they are old enough.

9. Look at the table and count out how many low-level mini centerpieces you’ll need and gather your vases. If you need to borrow, don’t be afraid to ask family, friends, or even your neighbors for what entertaining pieces you may be missing.

10. Cut fresh greenery and any blooming flowers from your yard and make mini-arrangements. If you don’t have flowers, ask a neighbor or a friend if you could snip a flower or two from their property. That is all you need if you have greenery.

Back to the basics entertaining, in a frugal way, really helps lessen the stress level. It restores sanity to what could be very expensive, without sacrificing or taking away from the joy of the season.

You can still have style, and focus on the reason for the day, and quite honestly, it just “feels right” deep down inside when your heart connects with simplicity.

How do you keep your style in balance with your pocketbook during holiday entertaining?

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Comments

  1. Just the inspiration I need this month! I try to remember that having people over is about making them feel valued and welcomed, rather than putting on a show. My efforts are usually focused on the food rather than the tabletop, but this post is encouraging me to add some visual appeal without spending money we don’t have. Merci beaucoup!

  2. Absolutely true. Also, and I’m sure this goes without saying, the larger the crowd? The simpler the menu. Because serving several courses to a large group gets tedious and the clean up grows exponentially. I serve 20+ people every weekend at my home and I have found that when I provide the main course and assign the side dishes, I can still make it feel like a meal and less like a potluck (food roulette). Having dishes that I can mix/match makes a fun table no matter the occasion and keeps me from getting bored looking at the same place settings.

  3. I tend to stick to the same menu plan over and over, the routine of it makes it a no-brainer and none of our friends seem to mind, because they too seem to like knowing exactly what to bring to go along with the meal. I have not yet done and Easter get together but would love to. This article might be just the inspiration I need.

    • Hi, Victoria. I agree, keeping the same menu when you first start to entertain really does give peace of mind. Let us know if you host Easter this year!

  4. We have a family lunch this Sunday. Thank you Sandy for your ideas. Children’s help is very important for them and also for us. For family style, we put kids together: funnier for them and a little calmer for us ^^. xo

  5. Love the tips–especially the ones about delegating and not hesitating to ask for help! :) Committing to using what I have for decoration, asking guests to bring a dish, and accepting clean-up help are my best keeping-it-simple principles. If I know a holiday is coming up, I also try to be strategic in planning meals for that month, so that I’m not buying as many extra or different items for the holiday meal as I would otherwise.

  6. Love your point on Easter dinner. Yes, I always have this holiday and love it. I do have everyone bring something and I prepare the main dishes. I have to say I do keep it as simple as possible, so there is more time to build the memories. Finding Easter eggs, laughing and hoping the day is warm rather than snow on the ground. If that does happen we have fun inside, even if 6 months down the road I find an easter egg that has nested in it hiding place. I still like to use the real boiled eggs that are dyed for the easter egg hunters. It just seems right.
    Thanks for sharing your tips. We can all use some new ideas.
    Debbie

  7. Great tips! I like the idea of getting the kids involved. Even my children, even though they are young can still help. Also like the idea of asking for help and delegating. I’m not very good at that sometimes. I like to do things my way, but I’m trying to get over that!

  8. I usually buy decorative paper plates and napkins at the dollar store for holidays and birthdays to use for dessert. This cuts down on dish washing while still enabling me to set a nice table for the meal.

    I read in Proverbs 9 where Wisdom sets her table for a feast and it inspired me to write about it: http://comewearymoms.blogspot.com/2013/03/bella-sophia-lady-wisdom-sets-her-table.html

  9. SImple flower arrangements from the yard (or leaves and fruit) for decoration, usually using mason jars as vases. Homemade place cards made by the kids always adds a sweet touch.

  10. We’re big fans of keeping it simple. Not only is buffet style a favorite of ours, but if time allows we get together with the kids a few days before the holiday and craft our own special sentimental pieces. We may make our own bunnies out of construction paper or maybe put together a large basket for our main centerpiece. Whatever we do, it’s sure to make some great conversation during the meal itself.

  11. Ack, you’ve inspired me! As a vegan agnostic/ Christian in a meat- eating, atheist family, I’m going to do it- I’m going to host Easter lunch!!

    Pray for me ;)

  12. Maybe this is a silly question, but where does the family eat breakfast if the table is already set for lunch?

    • Jane, we use our center aisle for the brunch and keep our table free for breakfast/brunch/lunch! You can also set a table up somewhere for the brunch food to free the table space! Good luck!

  13. Do you have more photos of your centerpieces? Tulips and lavendar with greens? Gorgeous. And simple. Love it.

  14. What a wonderful article to find. This is how I was raised with so many children in the family everyone brought a dish or something. The mood was always so festive and there were never enough chairs sometime two chair and board would create 3 seats. I am glad you mention using table clothes and pressing them adds a fine touch. I would like to suggest using a bundt cake or several for centerpieces; just add flowers. Bundt cake are cheap and easy to make and taste great!

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