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Modern Traditional Christmas Dining Room & Sangria Recipe Printable

4 tips to make your home feel special for the holidays + the best ever Christmas sangria recipe with free printable art.

Point blank: this year is weird. Although, you didn’t need me to tell you that, did you? 😉

Our “prepping for guests” this year consists of setting a table and setting up a sangria bar in our dining room using items from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart for my parents who live nearby, and that’s basically the gist.

No matter the size of the gathering, I’m so thankful for it. But if there’s anyone I’d want to share a Christmas meal with, it’s my parents.

Dining room decorated for Christmas with mirror gallery wall

A year after Robert and I got married 9 years ago and we were expecting Olivia, we moved into their upstairs spare bedroom when times were financially tough for us.

I was making a small beginner teacher’s salary while Robert was finishing his degree on the GI Bill. Then, surprise! Baby on the way!

Without any hesitation, they invited us to live with them, and for nearly two years, we stayed until we managed to save for our very first house.

During those two years, I felt a little bit like a failure. I was a new mom trying her best to figure things out and embarrassed that we couldn’t support our young family of three on our own. But looking back, I would never ever trade those two years for anything.

Dining Room Christmas Decor

Gatherings with them always feel like more than just gathering with my parents. It feels like home.

We cook weekend dinners together and sprawl on the floor playing with the kids together. Robert and my dad are well-versed in dad jokes. And my mom and I have perfected the eye-roll in response to them. 😉

Christmas table decor with fresh garland and dried citrus

So if this year looks different for you too, here are a few ways to get “holiday ready” to still make it feel special.

4 Tips to Make Your Home Feel Special for the Holidays:

1. Forage your yard.

When I was younger and danced in The Nutcracker at our nearby university every December, my mom would walk the campus during my practices and snip magnolia leaves and holly berries to sprawl out on her own dining room table for Christmas dinners.

The whole “foraged centerpiece” idea is all thanks to her little lessons she taught me as a kid.

Christmas table centerpiece with fresh leaves and dried citrus

2. Bust out the fancy dishes, even if it’s just your own household at the table.

I love this black speckled dinnerware that adds a modern vibe to the table and gold flatware to make it feel festive.

These white rattan chargers add brightness and texture too. And I just topped it off with a sprig of rosemary and a dried orange slice, which I’ve been using all over our house this year.

3. Light a few candles to make your home feel cozy.

I nestled these little gold lanterns around my DIY dried fruit and preserved leaf garland to make conversation unobstructed across the table.

Christmas table centerpiece with candles and garland

4. Set up a treat or drink station to make your night in feel festive.

On our buffet, that I painted just before the pandemic hit, I created a little Christmas sangria bar.

I love how the Christmas tree lights reflect on our mirror gallery wall every year. It’s one of my favorite spots in the house for that reason alone.

Christmas buffet table

I got this set of vases from Walmart and loved the size and shape of them. So I gave them a quick weathered stoneware paint job to work with the rest of the space.

DIY painted stoneware vases

Christmas sangria bar

To create a simple sangria bar, I used a cake stand under this drink dispenser and this wooden tray to hold orange slices, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks for garnishes.

Christmas sangria bar with garnish station

If you want to create my Christmas sangria yourself (or just want the printable recipe), you can get it here and place it in a pretty frame. It’s soooo yummy! Especially with a splash of club soda or ginger ale for a bit of fizz.

Christmas sangria recipe printable

Best ever Christmas sangria recipe

I didn’t make a ton because ya know… small gatherings… plus, I’d be completely schnockered if this dispenser were filled all the way to the top. Haha!

Christmas sangria bar

It definitely feels a little strange not having a schedule jam packed with Christmas parades and concerts and road trips and big group parties but ya know… the homebody in me is kind of loving it too.

A quiet Christmas is something the tired mom in me has needed for a while. The current situation certainly isn’t fun. But I am thankful for these quiet, intimate evenings at home with no hustle or bustle in sight.

If you want to mimic the look in our dining room for an intimate little evening at home yourself, you can find all of the sources here:

Christmas dining room with tree

And if you make the sangria, tag me on Instagram @blesserhouse and we can clink our glasses for a socially distant gathering from afar.

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28 Comments

  1. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is one of my favorites! I really enjoy reading it and seeing all your beautiful photos of your home and sweet family.

  2. I’m new here and love this post! Everything looks beautiful and so inviting! All the decor is amazing and I especially love the mirrors. I’m finding this year confining and depressing…just not a normal way of life. You have offered beauty and encouragement ~ thank you!

  3. Lauren, your post was from the heart and so humble – yet wow, loaded with sweet inspiration and hope – just loved it and appreciate it very much.

    I keep praying for a healing miracle to this ole Mother Earth. What a year. The new normal just isn’t good enough. Sigh.

    Enjoy that Sangria! I love Sangria!!!!

  4. This looks beautiful. I too am really looking forward to a quiet holiday season with my little family. So thankful for my wonderful parents and parents in-law.

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