December 10, 2013

A Dickens Village Tablescape

I am participating in Kathleen's Inspirational Challenge at Cuisine Kathleen.

My inspiration was a tablescape created by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.
Susan created a Christmas Village Centerpiece using houses from her Dept. 56 Snow Village collection.
InspirationTable photo Inspiration.jpg
As you can see, Susan's tablescape was created for a dinner in her formal dining room.

My table, which is located on our covered patio, has a much more casual feel.

This is where we will all be gathering for dinner on Christmas Eve.
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A 60 Second Video Tour of the Village

The tablescape centerpiece uses pieces from the
Dept. 56 Dickens Village collection.
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I started this collection over 30 years ago.

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I'm having 21 guests this year, so I'm mixing china and flatware patterns.
Susan used red stemware for an added "oomph" to her table.
I don't own enough colored stemware to duplicate that detail.

In a last minute attempt to add a little flare to my Dollar Tree glasses, a sticker was added to the water goblets.

I printed 21 circles with a picture I found on the internet and used white glue to attach the circles directly to the goblets.

Two Christmas china patterns were placed around the table,
alternating the china patterns and the accompanying flatware.
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Both dishes are Lenox. The larger Tartan plate is really a buffet plate.

I have a feeling a black tablecloth might have set all this off a bit better.
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I placed a few of my larger accessories at either end of the table, directly on the tablecloth.
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A final long shot.
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A few people have asked me about the curved table.
If your interested in how I built the table, click here to see how it was made. It was pretty easy! All you need is a jigsaw and a screwdriver. (Although a power drill with a Phillips bit will save you scads of time.)

Display Tutorial

Many of the display techniques in the centerpiece tutorial are shown in a Dept. 56 How-To video.

Place your tablecloth on the table and cover it with butcher paper.
Arrange your houses down the center of the table ALONG WITH YOUR PLATES AND STEMWARE.
This will help you determine how much area you can devote to the village and still allow your guests to dine comfortably.

Trace around the area taken up by the houses.
Move the houses to the side and cut along the line to remove the area occupied by the houses.
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Peel the silver film from a 2-inch thick 4'X8" sheet of polystyrene insulation.

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Transfer the butcher paper cutout onto the 2-inch thick insulation.
Cut out the shape (Mine was in two parts.) with an electric kitchen knife.
An electric knife will help to eliminate shedding.

Place the cutout insulation on the table.
Arrange the houses on the insulation, with an equal number of house facades visible to diners on each side of the table.
Place them so that they are not all in a row like little soldiers. Vary how they face the diners - some straight on, some facing left, some facing right.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) appears to have placed her houses back-to-back. Doing so helps reduce the amount of visible electrical cords. If your table is wide enough, back-to-back is the way to go.
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Remember, it's no fun trying to find a place to safely set down your water glass. So try and make as much room for your dinner guests as possible.
If need be, draw additional lines along the edges of the insulation and trim off the excess.

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Install the village house lights. Cut groves in the polystyrene insulation to create channels for the cords.
To secure the wires, place duct tape over the channels.

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You will need a cord to connect the electrical portion of this centerpiece.
I used a "Christmas Tree Extension Cord" which has an on/off switch
and three outlets along the cord.
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 photo 03e6842f-76e3-4d5a-84e1-5edde71bb452.jpg Cut holes in the insulation to accommodate your adapters and plugs.
The top layers of the removed insulation can be used (secured with white duct tape) to cover the large holes.
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Remove the paper stickers from the bottom of your village street lights.
Insert shortened skewers into the bottom of the village lights and place along the village scene. No more toppling street lamps!
The evergreen trees can be unscrewed from their white bases and the wire "trunks" inserted into the insulation. Place the trees throughout your village. Place two or three evergreen trees tight against the back of your houses in order to cover electrical cords and light bulbs.

My extension cord was covered with a strip of fabric. Had the cord been white, I might have left it as is. A giant button hole would have allowed me to run the cord underneath of tablecloth. . . perhaps, next time!
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Add village people to bring the village to life.

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Sprinkle snow throughout your village.
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Dinner plates: Holiday pattern, Lenox
Buffet plates: Tarten Holiday, Lenox
Sterling: Burgundy, Reed and Barton, wedding gift
Flatware: Hampton Forge, Kingsley Gold, Macy's
Stemware glasses: The Dollar Tree
Tablecloth and napkins: fabric from Joann Fabrics
Village Houses and street lights: Dept. 56
Polystyrene insulation: Lowes


  1. Very Pretty! I loved Susan's village table, you have done a wonderful job of copying the elements of her tablescape. I always used insulation boards to build up my village so I could run the wires underneath the village too. Beautiful!!!


  2. You did a beautiful job, Denise, so glad you played this week! I love how you alternated the fine china, very attractive. Of course your patio set up is wonderful!
    Thanks so much for taking the challenge at Let's dish!

  3. This is just incredibly beautiful -- and so clever, the way you managed the electrical cords! Thanks for the tutorial. I am very impressed you can set such a gorgeous table for such a large group!

  4. Denise,
    This is awesome..I am in awe by all the work you put into making this tablescape. It is truly beautiful and I am sure all of your guests will enjoy dining at your table...You did a great job copying Susan's tablescape..
    Love, Mona

  5. Oh I adore your village! What work to put it together on display for your table but what enjoyment your family and guests will have, so magical!

  6. Beautiful copy and beautiful Christmas Village! Thanks for your tutorial. Is your table curve like that? I love the plates and everything else!...Christine

  7. Your village is exquisite. You have thought of everything and it was a lot of work.

    Your china is beautiful and what a dinner party! Lots of guests.

  8. This is a great way to decorate a really long table like this. I didn't even think of what did you do with the cords until you showed us. It looks great and magical! Love the mix and match plates...just a fabulous job!

  9. Great way to challenge yourself with Susan's tablescape. I like your curved table and how you built your scene for lighting the village. Your china mix is a wonderful way to create a Christmas dinner, You did terrific work!


  10. I think your table is amazing! I have many Dept. 5 houses and I know how much work it is to assemble the village each year. Your guests will love this! Linda

  11. All I can say is "WOW!" Your extraordinary efforts have certainly paid off. Your guests should be astounded when they are welcomed by this table. Bravo!! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  12. Very had lot of patience to create such an beautiful table.Love the way you have put the things in order. very well done...:):)

  13. Love, love, love! Your table is perfect with those holiday dishes and the village pieces are to die for.

  14. I love this! The execution is amazing. It's so neat how the cords are tucked into the Styrofoam so they aren't seen. So much preparation but so worth it!

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

  15. That is an amazing table! I remember Susan's village table post and always wanted to try it. I've used styrofoam for my village but I taped the electrical down- I never thought to make a cubby for it! Great idea. I have the Dickens village pieces and feel guilty I don't use it anymore. This is a really cute idea! Your did a wonderful job of interpreting your idea onto your table based on your inspiration photo!

  16. Denise, this is just amazing! I never would have thought to do something like this. My DD has the Dickens collection of houses...I will have to show her this post.
    I am pea green with envy over all the room you have to host such a wonderful gathering...not to mention your nice weather!
    Have a spectacular Holiday celebration!!!

  17. Holy Dickens Village, this is quite a table! What an incredible engineering feat, figuring all that out! Great tutorial and you resulting table is just breath taking! Your guests are in for special treat and a magical evening! It is simply stunning! Have a wonderful time!

  18. Wow, I am so impressed with your table and the installation of the Christmas village All of your guests will be able to enjoy your creativity and hard work Great job!

  19. 21 guests ~ oh, my! You are amazing! The centerpiece is incredible, and your tutorial is fantastic. What an absolutely magical setting for Christmas Eve. Love the Dickens Village scene!

  20. Your table is fabulous and I love the long curved table. There's nothing like having everyone at the same table! I hope that you will stop by and visit my Dickens Village post, which is going live tomorrow. I'm pinning this to my Dickens Village wall, which gets lots of hits!

  21. Wow! You are amazing! This really is something! Your curved table is so wonderful. I like the mix of dishes together. They work so well. Really beautiful table!


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