Plan your holiday table with ideas from Traditional Home design’s Krissa Rossbund

When we’re still in shorts and flip flops, it’s hard to think about the holidays, but the scary truth is that Thanksgiving is just nine weeks away and Christmas is just a month later.

Krissa Rossbund understands that it’s hard to get in the mood of the holidays while we’re still hot and sweaty, but she’s hoping that her talk and festive table settings will start getting us in the mood.

Rossbund, senior style and design editor at Traditional Home magazine, will visit the Tazi & Co. Interiors showroom and interior design studio in Pearland on Thursday. The firm — formerly Brown Interiors — is owned by Shazia Kirmani, who worked there, then purchased it and rebranded.

Rossbund, who speaks widely as a style and interior design expert, will set four table tops for the holidays using modern and vintage china, crystal and flatware provided by Replacements Ltd.

Chef Richard Knight will make light bites in the showroom’s Thermador kitchen, and attendees will be able to take home recipes for cocktails, appetizers and dinner.

When: – p.m. Thursday

Where: Tazi Interiors, E. Broadway

RSVP: required, infotaziinteriorsm

Rossbund took time recently to talk about floral arrangements, her favorite decorating essentials and a few shortcuts to get you through it all.

: Tips for creating a beautiful holiday tablescape, on HoustonChroniclem

Q: Everyone loves a beautiful table. I don’t know if it makes the food taste better, but it certainly sets a festive atmosphere. What are the big trends in holiday table top that we can tap into right now?

A: You have to know your crowd. If any of us are so lucky to be invited to a state dinner at the White House, you want to know old-school etiquette. That’s the image so many people have in their head. Formal entertaining, where does the fork go and why are there five forks? So they don’t do it at all.

You don’t have to stick to those rules. Sitting down to Christmas dinner, I put flatware where it should be, but if you have a huge family and serve buffet style, put flatware in five-piece sets with a red ribbon tied around it. As far as the table goes, we try to inspire mixing patterns. And inexpensive votive candle holders make a really elegant and impactful presentation. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Q: There’s so much for people to do during the holidays — decorating, shopping, cooking and baking — so what holiday hacks or shortcuts can you suggest to make it all do-able?

A: One thing is to always be mindful of what you have in your accoutrements to set a table. That’s something we can think about in August — not in the middle of November. Keep it in a cabinet in the dining room or on a shelf in the basement. Scan it and be mindful of what you have. You may not have to buy a whole lot.

Q: And ideas for saving money?

A: I’m just not a fan of spending a ton of money on formal arrangements. Go to your back yard or grocery store. A bowl of artichokes or lemons and simple white candles are gorgeous.

The most important rule is that you need to be able to see over what the centerpiece is — see the guests who are across the table. A -inch-tall thing in the middle won’t work, so bowls of all sizes and heights are important. I’m also a fan of each guest having their own little decoration.

Q: What are you planning for the tables you’ll decorate during your visit here?

A: I’ll do a couple of harvestThanksgiving-themed tables and a couple slanted toward Christmas. You all on the coast can bring coastal elements into a Christmas theme that others don’t have the advantage to do.

Regardless of the region, it’s good to take advantage of natural elements outside. At Christmas you can snip off pine cones and branches of pine trees and put them on the table. In Houston, being close to the water, it’s an opportunity to bring shell life into it and take advantage of the natural colors. Traditional green and red is what people think of as the Christmas palette, but decorating with all sorts of colors is interesting.

Q: People seem to be decorating so much more. It starts at Halloween, which is so big now, and just doesn’t stop until the new year. How has this happened?

A: I think it’s all of the social media platforms. People are so inspired by what other people do. Regardless of what you do all day, whether you’re in a creative field or an accountant or lawyer or teacher, it gives all of us that opportunity to create. Being able to unwind from what we get paid to do during the day, making a beautiful wreath to hang on the door or baking cookies to give guests as they leave, help put your mind elsewhere. That’s my therapy.

: Tips for setting a gorgeous holiday table, on HoustonChroniclem

Q: When it comes to table linens, do you prefer a tablecloth or placemats — or both?

A: Dining tables have gotten to look so darned good, a lot of people opt not to cover them with a full tablecloth because they want the silhouette to show. Placemats and runners become more important because you need the protection on the table.

A tablecloth is another layer of formality, but placemats and runners don’t require as much yardage, and if you’re having them made, you can choose a fabric and have someone make them for you. It’s fun to mix something soft with natural materials like raffia or wicker or rattan. Those rough raw materials are a nice juxtaposition with things that shine and glitter and glisten.

Q: You mentioned Pinterest and social media. What great ideas have you gotten from them recently?

A: Over the weekend I went to Trader Joe’s and bought these little white pumpkins, and you can write names on them with a gold Sharpie. If you are having people over and have a big bowl in the foyer or entry, fill it with little treats so you have something to give them. It elevates the experience.

Q: Is there anything else you would tell people?

A: Plan ahead — we all know holidays are coming. And don’t be afraid to entertain. No one will judge you if you have the fork in the wrong place. They might even be relieved.

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