The nutcracker comes to the table! Looking for something different for a holiday lunch table? Construct a table full of nutcracker table settings that will make your guests march right in to the dining room.
We created nutcracker table settings that pull in a festive touch from our friends across the pond. I remember when I was young, one year for Christmas, my mother placed brightly colored tube-like things at each plate. Honestly, I thought perhaps she had been hoarding the empty inner cardboard tube from toilet paper rolls and had covered them with gift wrap. I was quite relieved to learn mother had not been nipping too much eggnog, but was instead trying to acquaint us with the traditional U.K. Christmas “crackers.” For more than 150 years, U.K. folks have been enjoying them at Christmas and parties. Two people each grab a different end and pull. Something inside pops like a cap gun and the contents are spilled out. I found a lovely green paper crown in my last one, along with a couple of jokes, a little trinket, and other such nonsense. They are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and widely available. For this tablescape, Christmas crackers play the role of nutcracker arms! Perfect — and they come in all types of colors and patterns.
Constructing a nutcracker place setting starts with the notion that it is best to stick with items that are edible or that could, logically, be found on a dinner table. Silverware, plates,. napkins (both cocktail and dinner napkins), charger plate, and a few nibbles. The “buttons” are pretzels. The eyebrows and nose are licorice. The eyes are the ends of a lime, and the mouth is cut out of a red pepper. The flatware emulates feathers in his cap.
This particular nutcracker table setting is ideal for lunch or breakfast because it features just one plate and a charger. When it is time for the meal to be served, the nibbles are eaten or set aside, the cloth napkin placed on one’s lap, the cocktail napkin (the green and white polka dot “collar” in our picture) put under the glass, the silverware moved to the proper place, and the plate placed on top of the charger. At that point, your table is still beautiful, but now functional. Pull the crackers. Put on the party hats, and dance like sugar plum fairies!
This is wonderful variation on the theme by my friend Patti B. The red licorice 3-piece mouth gives this dude lots of personality. Chocolates for the eyes. A baby carrot for the nose. Licorice eyebrows (we were using what we had — black would have been nice, but wasn’t available.) Plaid hat with a fancy adornment consisting of a napkin ring and some striped paper straws. See how she has made the flatware appear to be epaulets at his shoulders? So clever! Little chocolate Hershey candies in place of buttons. Love it! Note the positioning of the cracker “arms.” He looks happier and more carefree with the more casual arm placement.
If you have a chance, get together with a friend to play with your table possibilities. The creativity just grows as new ideas spark a chain reaction of “Hey, let’s try THIS!” moments.