Sometimes the most surprising items give us the most inspiration when planning tablescapes, and that happened to me this year. While going through the last of my mother’s things, I ran across a scarf that she treasured and wore during the Christmas season. Its Victorian motifs were the springboards for today’s Over the River and Through the Wood tablescape.
Growing up, my family often sang in the car, and I remember rousing choruses of Over the River and Through the Wood during the Thanksgiving season. Of course, we always said woods — who knew that it was singular? First published in 1844, the actual title is The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day, written by Lydia Maria Child and celebrates visiting her grandfather on Thanksgiving Day.
It is sometimes presented with lines about Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving. For instance, the line “Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!” becomes “Hurrah for Christmas Day!”. As a Christmas song, it has been recorded as “A Merry Christmas at Grandmother’s”. Although the modern Thanksgiving holiday is not normally associated with snow, New England in the early 19th century was enduring the Little Ice Age, a colder era with earlier winters (wikipedia).
Every December I pull out the cast iron sleigh and team of horses that came to me from my mother-in-law’s collection, and it was perfect to combine with the scarf this year. I often put Santa on the sleigh, but for this tablescape I wanted a sleigh driver that was appropriate to the song. I even emailed a blogger who sells Victorian-style dollhouse people, but she didn’t respond. Drat — and since I can’t drive yet, I couldn’t go searching for another figure. I can’t decide if the empty sleigh is better or Santa is better, but I went with historically accurate and we have an empty sleigh.
All fall I had been planning a blue and green – themed tablescape to go with the scarf, but imagine my surprise when I found that the ground color on the scarf is actually black. This allowed me to change up my color palette and include my new black and cream Royal Stafford accent plates that I got on sale at Home Goods last summer. My friend and I chased all over town to different stores, but we only ended up with six in two patterns. I think I’m actually going to break down and order two more because I just love them!
The black and cream palette also allowed me to use a set of candlesticks with French toile shades. I love the play of patterns on this table.
The black tray from Target came out again to play in the snow, and I added black napkins in the wedding ring napkin rings.
In the middle of sparkly red and green decorations everywhere else in my life, the colors of this tablescape are calming and just different. We’re going to enjoy eating at the table this week!
I’m linking up today with the creative bloggers at The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate Addict, We Call It Olde at We Call It Junkin’, Centerpiece Wednesday at The Style Sisters, Let’s Dish with Cuisine Kathleen, Open House Party with No Minimalist Here, and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to stop by and say, “Hello!”
Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”
Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)