The $16 “Vintage” Hosting Gem I Break Out for Every Holiday — Especially Christmas

published Dec 19, 2023
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Meal placed on top of pastoral round tablecloth
Credit: Caroline Mullen

Parties and holidays are even more enjoyable in smaller spaces — there’s less space for people to clump together in groups, and it facilitates a certain intimacy that wide-open venues can’t replicate. But because I only have so much space to lay out food (and I’m short on storage space), the existing furniture in my home has to pull its weight equally whether we’re eating dinner on a weekday or inviting 30+ people over for a holiday party. Luckily our four-seater round dining table is a workhorse, and the quickest way to make it feel festive is to add a tablecloth

Given the aforementioned lack of storage in my apartment, I don’t have a ton of room to store tablecloths for all seasons and occasions, even if I wanted to. Plus, tablecloths are surprisingly expensive for what they are, and I wasn’t looking to spend as much on a tablecloth as I did on the table itself. During my exhaustive research, though, I happened upon this dainty little number that has quickly become one of my most functional pieces of decor

I’ve always loved blue and white transferware china, blue toile, and chinoiserie ceramics, so this tablecloth fits right into my everyday style. Plus, the blue floral on a beige backdrop is actually quite versatile, easily fitting in with red berries during the holidays, pink peonies around Easter, and autumnal mums at Thanksgiving. The fabric composition is 70% polyester and 30% cotton, and while I’d certainly prefer something that’s 100% cotton or linen, I’ve found that this material breakdown doesn’t feel inexpensive and it holds up well in the wash. It does get a tiny bit wrinkled after a tumble through the dryer, but it’s nothing that a quick iron can’t fix. 

I originally purchased the 60” round version and 52” x 70” rectangular version ahead of hosting Mother’s Day two years ago and didn’t realize how often it would actually be used. The round tablecloth covered our dining table, and the rectangular one instantly spruced up a pretty unattractive plastic folding table that we borrowed to accommodate everyone. I set out disposable tableware and tulips and there was still plenty of space left over for a tray of French toast, a big plate of quiche, and a big salad

Credit: Caroline Mullen

Since then, I’ve trotted this tablecloth out for countless occasions, and it’s still going strong over two years later. I laid it out for Thanksgiving last year, and I paired the tablecloth with bright green cloth napkins, wooden napkin holders, and lots of fall-hued florals. And can I just say? It looked really great. And at our engagement party, I set out lots of apps and snacks, plus in-season peonies and lilacs. And, yes, it looked amazing.

Moral of the story? A tablecloth you love — that fits with any theme — might just be the hardest-working piece of decor you can buy. And this blue floral one? It certainly fits the bill.