How My Family Is Inspiring My Holiday Table, Even If We Can't Be Together This Year

The preparation involved in planning out my past holiday table decorations have usually looked a little something like this: me scouring the internet up until the last possible second searching for inspiration, dragging images into a folder on my desktop titled "Holiday Dinner Table Decor," and then somehow using that as a guide for my own interpretation. However, instead of choosing my holiday table decor based on what is trending, this year I plan on creating a tablescape inspired by my family.

It's hard not to acknowledge that the past several months have been difficult for many of us. Plans may have been canceled, trips may have been postponed, and our everyday lives may have been uprooted to fit into the new reality we're all experiencing. Because of this, some people have spent more time with their families, while others have been separated from those closest to them. Through it all, many of us have discovered how much our loved ones really mean to us. This time of introspection has shown me that family is everything, and this year I want my tablescape to reflect that, even if we all may not be together.

This time of introspection has shown me that family is everything, and this year I want my tablescape to reflect that, even if we all may not be together.

For instance, the flowers I plan on arranging as a centerpiece will be my grandmother's favorite winter flowers — either red poinsettias or different shades of pink and red roses with accents of hypericum berries. I'll use a tablecloth or cloth napkins with pinstripe detailing as a nod to one of my late father's favorite sports teams, and will use one of my mother's favorite sets of family dishes that we only take out for special occasions. I also plan on adding a touch of DIY flair and taking it back to the '90s with displayed hand-drawn cards for my boyfriend and I. Growing up, holiday crafts always provided an outlet of expression and were cathartic for me, and I think they may be able to offer that same comfort this year.

Probably one of the most important must haves for me is decorated pinecones arranged among the centerpiece and place settings. When I was young, my siblings and I would go "pinecone searching" with my great aunt all around the neighborhood each winter. We would find pinecones of all sizes and shapes along the city streets and inside public parks, and we'd stuff them into our pockets and backpacks. When we got home, we'd decorate our found treasures at the dining-room table, dipping them in silver glitter, painting them in white metallics, and gluing little red pom poms and googly eyes onto them, transforming each into our own versions of Rudolph. Our masterpieces would then make appearances around the house during the holiday season — piled into baskets or laid out carefully on the dining table alongside seating place cards.

Family and friends have always helped to make the holidays a special time for me, and regardless of whether or not we can be together this year, it's nice to have a little bit of each of them around for the holiday season.