Liveable, Fussless Christmas Table Decor

I love to walk into a shop and see their display tables all loaded down with decorations and place settings and tall centerpieces, there’s something about the layered look of abundance that is so appealing, especially in the cold winter months.  And then, without fail, my thoughts lead to “yeah, but in real life none of us can have that look sitting around if we ever need to actually use said table”.   And then I mourn the loss of my non existent layered, over the top pre-set table.

We have one main eating surface in this house and it’s in the breakfast room.  If we used the front room as a dining room, I could get away with setting a stunning drool worthy table and I assure you, I would totally be all over that.  But, instead our dining room is actually a sitting room with a sofa so our one eating table is right there in the breakfast area.  So here in this house full of motley boys with projects and hunger pangs every 90 minutes I’ve learned that the secret to my sanity is clear surfaces.

What’s a fully decorated Christmas table loving girl like me to do?

I mean, I’ve already bragged about my secondary table.  It’s a mere 10 feet away from our main table and it’s where the homework and legos land.  That doesn’t solve my desire for a table that screams “Hey you, it’s Christmastime!”.

So here’s my other secret: I have a tertiary table.  Yep.  I just said tertiary.  You know like Primary {my big table}, Secondary {the homework table} and now, thirdly, Tertiary–my library table tucked in there behind the Primary table.

He’s a very hard worker because he holds all the pretty table decorations when we need to clear off the table and use it for something.

The green plant is low enough to stay on the table all the time, but if we are all sitting down to eat I’ll move the bust and anything else in my way to the tertiary table.  Sometimes we move the poinsettias {or whatever it is that is there because I move things around the house so often} sometimes we just scoot them in front of the empty 6th chair since there’s only 5 in our family.  Sometimes the bust just stays over on the extra table but if I’m feeling like I want a bunch of stuff to festivate, festify, festivize the table I’ll pack it in.  And let’s face it, it never looks the same two days in a row.

My tertiary table has been a great assistant during every season helping hold extra serving dishes, lots of candles, and plants but, it’s especially helpful during the winter months.

What about you, do you have a Christmas decorating sanity keeping secret?  Don’t forget to link up your holiday table today with Layla at The Lettered Cottage…..and…..

**Oh Holy Night Sign Giveaway**

 Did you enter to win your own Oh Holy Night sign {or your choice of Christmas sign} from Red Letter Words?

I’m offering two more ways to win

1.Like the Nesting Place facebook page and then go back to the GIVEAWAY post and leave an extra comment letting me know we are fb buds.

2. Tweet on twitter, I’ll give you a phrase and a shortened link if you are tired of thinking already::

Oh Holy Night Art giveaway from @redletterart & @thenester  you know you want one.

Once you tweet come back and leave a comment on the giveaway post NOT this post




  1. Love the table decor, that is decor I can live with! All your tables look fabulous!

  2. I just moved a smaller table into the kitchen (to make room for the tree in the living room). I was debating whether to keep it in the kitchen… you just answered that question for me. My “secondary” table now has a purpose! And how I love “Oh Holy Night”! It was played at church the day I accepted Christ… I wrote the lyrics on a lamp for the season…

  3. Any plans for “The Nester’s Dictionary of Decorating Terms”? I love your use of big words (Word of the day toilet paper?) and created words. It gets my brain going just a little in the morning!

  4. It looks amazing! And we totally did the same thing! Natural elements, OPEN space on the table..and it makes me happy every time I walk by it. Mine’s filled with legos quite frequently, too.

  5. Sooooo stealing the tertiary table idea…and that bowl of poinsettia’s? TO DIE FOR!!! The whole tablescape is positively lovely and I hadn’t planned on doing any holiday decorating this year (not going to be home a lot this month), but I just might have to scoop up a big ol’ bowl full of poinsettias in lieu of a Christmas Tree this year! ;-)

    PS- Thanks for the shout out, too! :-)

  6. Your tertiary table is a great idea and I can totally relate about needing clean surfaces for eating, kids projects, etc. Somehow, certain others in my family don’t really get the need for a decked out table! I love how you have draped the pine boughs through your chandelier too ~ they really add to the ‘festiviousness’ of your table! : )

    • Sorry ~ didn’t mean to make an anonymous comments, just forgot to fill in all the info ~ guess I was too preoccupied trying to figure out how to spell ‘festiviousness’!

  7. Conclusions of this post:
    1. Adore the tertiary table/library table. He’s got the most gorgeous legs.
    2. Basket o’ Pointsettias are a classic, gorgeous addition to any holiday decor.
    3. My obsession with busts continues. I have one myself, but they are always on my shopping radar….one must have more than one bust in ones home (at least in this ones home).
    4. Nester continues to be one of my favorite, inspiring bloggers.

  8. I’m so glad to know someone else’s kitchen table ends up with Legos on it, too. I fear I’ll be found one day buried under a pile of Lego’s. I really think they breed and multiply when I’m sleeping. :/

    • better legos on the table than on the floor! Ever step on one of those little fellows in the middle of the night?

  9. I LOVE this post! I too bemoan the fact that if I want to be able to LIVE in my house, I need clear surfaces. Only ONE table at my place so that has to be ready for dinner every night. I can’t drag all the decor off to set the t!le for dinner ’cause I need that time for other stuff like…..we’ll…..making the dinner :). I try keep it super simple and just visit the retail when I need my Christmas fix. I tried convince the hubby that I should serve christmas dinner in the store this year since its already beautifully decorated LOL. He shot that idea down :(

  10. Three cheers for the tertiary table! (Get it?) I have a side table against the wall in our dining area where we have a round table. Even though there are just two of us and no one plays with Legos or does homework, the tertiary surface here is still the workhorse you talk about.

    Having one means I can stage a gussied up tablescape to see while I am eating. It means I can set up a dessert bar or drink station when we entertain. It means I can light the whole area with candles if I want, and they won’t set fire to the silk Japanese lantern that hangs over our dining table.

    Everyone needs a tertiary table. Thank you for giving it a name, Nester.

  11. My kitchen table was a pc repair station all weekend. It made it hard to want to decorate .. or serve food. Frankly it makes me nervous and cranky.

  12. Amen! I am in total agreement about clear surfaces with a house full of boys!

  13. Julie Schaal says

    These signs are the BOMB!!

  14. Julie Schaal says

    Oh and we are now fb buds!

  15. your bowl full of poinsettias are beautiful….

  16. Angel of the Lord is my favorite and oh how I’d love to win one! Thanks!

  17. amy sheppard says

    Yeah! We are fb bffs :)

  18. I use to work at a home decor shop that was locally owned and I had the freedom to make displays. The owner and I would get on whims and redo the whole store. Then, I would come home and continue doing what I did all day at work, only to see beautiful, layered displays that looked like I was trying to sell my possessions.

    I tried to keep that layered look at work and something more functional at home. It was all fun!!!

  19. simple organic..elegantly pretty
    any table in our house is a catchall
    I am a paper freak so I always have lists, bills, computer, Bible etc.
    laying around.
    I drive myself crazy. No secret there;)

  20. I went forth from reading this post with haste and created a tertiary table. We skip the secondary table altogether and shuffle everything to the family room, but I have never had a centerpiece for this exact reason – no place to put it. I have a lovely round sixties style table that only looks good between two chairs I’m about to get rid of, so I wondered what to do with that table. It now resides in the dining area with a floor lamp by its side and just a plant on top of the cloth – now I get to go centerpiece shopping :)

  21. I’m loving your Holiday Posts. I also enjoyed the Series: Do Less, Be More. I mentioned your blog today in my post: first-monday-of-last-month-of-2011.
    Thanks for your inspiration

  22. I am digging your tertiary table’s legs!

  23. Stopping over from Layla’s party. This is really beautiful! Your chandelier is gorgeous. I love the your subtle fresh color pallette choice. Happy Holidays!

  24. I have a small sanity secret. I pack Christmas things that go together, together. For example, before we had our faux mantle, I used sturdy metal Command Hooks to hang our stockings. So, I packed the hooks in the box.

    I understand your conundrum.
    “stuff to festivate, festify, festivize”

    Might I suggest…”Festification!”

    All the best,
    ~ Dana

  25. I love the O Holy Night print, but at the risk of sounding REALLY snobby… it would drive me crazy that there’s no possessive apostrophe in “Savior’s.” :-/ If you know the peeps at Red Letter you may wanna give ’em a friendly heads-up on that one.

  26. Tertiary happens to be one of my favorite words. As in, a couple members of my family would probably not be alive if it were not for the expert medical attention they get at a tertiary care center. Love that word.

    And I love your tertiary table. It’s pretty all by its undressed self, but it looks stunning with your stuff!

    My breakfast table is big enough to seat 12 people. Right now we have just four people eating there on a regular basis. So there’s lots of room for Legos. Have to keep my priorities straight.

  27. simplicious! merry, airy & bright! tertiary trifecta! ;}

    m ^..^

  28. I love the idea of a Tertiary table and may totally have to steal that idea (except in my case it would just be a secondary table). Your Tablescape is beautiful. I love the white and green.

  29. I have a table that could serve as a tertiary – actually now that I think about it I have two to choose from. My question is, could I situate said table in front of the French doors in our dining room since we have never in four years opened those doors? Our dining space extends off the living room but is rather narrow, so there isn’t much room along the side wall for a table.

    Oh, and thanks for linking up to the poinsettia posts last week – they motivated me to get going on my Christmas decor. I bought a bunch of faux poinsettias for those spaces that are tough to water and used them as the basis for my decorating. I’m pleased with the result – the three males in my household seem not to have noticed. Nothing unexpected there . . . . . .

  30. I LOVE your kitchenscape! It’s beautiful! The variety of foliage and Holy Night Print is perfect! I LOVE all the Christmas touches, especially the linens and the chandelier! 8 bloggers are hosting a Blog around the Christmas Tree Party and today’s feature is Christmas Scapes! I’d love to have you join up, the party is just beginning!

    XO, Aimee from

  31. love your real life attitude! Thanks enjoyed your post.

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