Beach Cottage Holiday Deck Table Christmas Decorating

Thu 9th, Dec, 2010

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G’day, what’s cooking?

Well I tell you what, I have the ingredients for Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls assembled on my kitchen bench.  I really do not know though if they will get made (oh and thanks to Mary for finding the maple oil and thanks to Alice for your puff pastry version…so trying that :-) ) because once I took a look at what to do properly, I got a trifle scared.  For a start the whole dough thing and then the rolling and gasp the number of steps…I am not anywhere near the skill of Pioneer Woman here, plus I have the patience of a knat, plus I really really should be doing other things than trying to make cinnamon rolls from someone on a ranch on the other side of the world…but for some reason these are saying Christmas Morning in BC Land 2010.

Will report back on the results.  With Christmas bells on.

Now back to something I am much more of a dab hand at.  Setting the table.


Much of our dining is centred outside at this time of year and even if it isn’t blistering hot, it’s more than warm enough to sit outside nearly year round here…love that…

and go to Susan’s blog party for more Christmas tables galore, HERE

It’s taken me a while to get used to the Christmas dining experience in the summer though…and I have taken a few different routes to the celebratory meal in this climate.

Firstly, when we were fresh-off-the-boat, I decided to completely ignore the sweltering heat and go for  a full on Christmas dinner….the English way…turkey, pigs in blankets, bread sauce, brussells…you name it I cooked it in a hot kitchen.  By the end of it I was a sweating heap…


Next I tried the turkey on the barbie, same sorta trimmings but all based outside.  OK but it felt kinda wrong, the hot food, the warmth inducing carbs in temps in the 80′s.

After that we went for picnic style, I cooked a huge turkey in the morning while we opened presents etc and then we carted down to the beach a huge picnic basket, a table dressing for the picnic bench by the sea, an Eski that had enough drink in it for most of New South Wales and a layered salad (the recipe I had receeved from an Aussie girl in Queensland on a cooking forum I used to belong to).

This Christmas Day picnic experience gave us a two things.

One the layered salad (and I must blog that, it is a true BC Recipe, which means it is a no-brainer but looks like you worked hard) was a huge huge success, the BC Crew have never scoffed so many raw vegetables in one hit.

And two, never try and do a Christmas dressed up table on a public picnic bench…you will have a husband cursing having to lug china plates, white linen napery and a centrepiece from the car that is parked a mile away.


Another year, we were away on holiday in the Whitsundays.  And I thought Sydney was hot.

We took a vote in our little family on what we wanted to eat on the day.  We settled on a tapas type affair, with something like 15 small courses, lasting all day from about mid-day until the bronzed bird made an entrance late afternoon.  We made one fatal mistake here, though, in that along with these courses we decided that Mr BC and I would have a different little tipple to go with each one.  And so we found ourselves very Christmas Day sozzled, hot and stuffed before the turkey was anywhere near the table.


So, last year I thought I had it nearly there and this year, even more I am feeling mildly confident that I have found the solution to the Christmas Dinner Down Under and that we will be able to celebrate in the way that means holiday to our family in our new life, but keep alive those traditions from Blighty that I love.

So in saying that on our table will be a very large turkey, cooked most probably on the barbie, a layered salad, roast potatoes and some pigs in blankets and I know it doesn’t go with salad but there’ll be white bread sauce, I’ll spoon it from a bowl if I have to. White sauce is Christmas to me and Mr BC.  There is a story, I’ll save that for a rainy day.

To start we will have seafood, namely King Prawns, which once you have tasted them, in Australia, at Christmas, you will never, ever eat a prawn that lives up to it again.  And to follow we will have cheese and something cold…to drink will be a few bottles of bubbly and as that is mostly out of bounds to me now, a jug full of Pimms No. 1.

Anyway back to table dressing.  I like the Christmas table to be special, to me that means linen napkins, a few baubles thrown around and I love a wreath, if it’s the right sort.


So this table started off with the wreath, which I added to a few baubles (all collected from previous years) and some hydgrangeas from my garden…I had in the back of my mind a Nordic feel Australia style..the green of the wreath with a summer feel…the blooming of the flowers that are my fave.


I tied the napkins with shell ball baubles that were a new addition last year and for some sparkle and so that it wasn’t all uniform added sparkly silver lovehearts too…I found the little jars in Vinnies, the other day for 50 cents each…


…love the calm that is white and silver at Christmas time, but then again I love me some pomegranate red…

I hope you like it…as ever all on a budget…no fancy stuff here ;-)

See you tomorrow,  there’ll be a GIVEAWAY for a giftcard…I am hoping that it’ll provide one lucky BCer with a bit of Christmas cheer…spread the word ;-)

Jingle Bells from the Lucky Country


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66 Responses to “Beach Cottage Holiday Deck Table Christmas Decorating”

  1. Lenora says:

    I really love your dishes and was wondering where you got them and what the name of the set is. Also are they stoneware or bone china? – thanks! :)

  2. Laura says:

    Very pretty. I remember celebrating Christmas in Sydney and I did the full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings… even though it was warm, it went down a storm… but I think that’s because everyone was hungover from Christmas Eve celebrations. I could never get my head around warm Christmas days… I remember seeing the Salvation Army playing in Sydney and I stood watching in my summer gear… Now it’s blooming freezing in NJ and those days are distant memories… Can’t complain though I like the chill, when this old place looks cozy! Take care. Lx

  3. Laura says:

    Very pretty. I remember celebrating Christmas in Sydney and I did the full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings… even though it was warm, it went down a storm… but I think that’s because everyone was hungover from Christmas Eve celebrations. I could never get my head around warm Christmas days… I remember seeing the Salvation Army playing in Sydney and I stood watching in my summer gear… Now it’s blooming freezing in NJ and those days are distant memories… Can’t complain though I like the chill, when this old place looks cozy! Take care. Lx

  4. marylou says:

    Oh my goodness, I am sooooooooo loving this tablescape;-) What have you wrapped around your little jars, ribbon??? And your menu sounds divine and fun and at the end of the day that is what it is all about, family, friends and fun ((*_*)) As always Sarah, a feast for our eyes in the decor AND the writing….you are the bestest;)

  5. marlis says:

    I love your stories and I love your tables. Your centerpiece is perfect and I love the calming green and white. with just a touch of red. Simply beautiful!!

  6. Joanne Hall says:

    When my parents arrived in Australia, they too quickly realised that in the middle of the South Aust desert there was no way they would contemplate eating a hot Christmas lunch…. so they ate after dark…..also pretty sure they consumed copious amounts of alcohol!!!!

    As my brother and I got older the tradition has always been for our faimily to have a late brunch consisting of prawns, chicken and champagne… (littlies having been given cereal at the crack of dawn!!)…. then pick pick pick all day on said chicken and prawns. Then at 7pm we sit down to a traditional Christmas dinner – Turkey, ham (never baked though)..(even duck or goose on occasion). brussell sprouts (it’s law at Christmas that everyone must eat at least one of the sprouts on their plate – unless of course you are sneaky enough to unload yours onto anothers plate!!!!), bread sauce is an absolute must – couldnt ever eat turkey without bread sauce!!! (My Australian sil hand never had bread sauce…. she went through a stage of making it even when they were having roast chook lol – same with yorkshire puds – she cooked them with all roasts not just beef lol)…. back to Christmas dinner….. the traditional pudding with charms (we used to get coins til mum bought charms)…… with brandy cream…… it would have to be my most favourite meal of the entire year!!!! Every year we bring up having a bbq or going to the beach….. it never happens!!! We may eat in different homes – but it is the same menu every year – as it should be!!

    • sarah says:

      lovely story Joanne, thanks!

      errm why didn’t I think of having the dinner later? I guess to me it is after the Queen’s Speech, 3pm then and pretty darn hot…

      I do yorkshire puds all the time too, tho not bread sauce, that has to be saved for the big day

  7. Nicole says:

    it looks lovely, I adore the white wreath hanging on the wall very pretty. I’m off to ikea tomorrow, haven’t been in months so need to stock up of lots of white goodies. the hottest Christmas we had was a couple of years ago, we built an American barn in the WA bush, it was boxing day and all the family came up to visit and it was over 50C. a lovely but very hot day..

  8. Donna says:

    It looks lovely and cool. I would totally love to have that transported to the beach. I can’t believe you got a spot though. People usually camp out to get beach picnic tables on Christmas tables.
    I have lived in Australia all my life and we ALWAYS had the sitdown roast dinner in the middle of the day! It hasn’t varied much in recent years either cos my parents are quite elderly and my father HAS to have roast chook and potatoes. And we NEVER had turkey- I never even tasted turkey til I was in my 40s!!!
    Did you use Norfolk Island pine for your greenery?
    Donna from Brissie

    • Donna says:

      And I still haven’t tasted bread sauce!

      • sarah says:

        really! we just rocked up and got one… must have been the Irish luck in my ;-)

        you never tasted turkey, wow..& you need to get yourself some bread sauce lady!

        errm no the greenery is from Iqkea hahaha


  9. Queen Mommy says:

    I haven’t really gotten into Pioneer Woman, but I have to say…after hearing about the cinnamon rolls this morning on FB, I think I will definitely be making a batch or two this year….although probably with my own icing (I prefer almond flavoring). Anyway, if you want to dress my table, I would happily bake rolls for you! : ~) What can I say? I’m a baker. It’s my decorating skills that are lacking… :~) Love your pretty tables, the jar glasses, the seashell ball baubles (my IL’s brought me one from Florida a couple of years ago…it’s on the table next to my bed). So many pretties!

  10. Beth says:

    Hi Sara, Your whites are just beautiful! Love the wreath with the baubles! Thanks for stopping by my table tonight.
    Blessings, Beth

  11. You’ve set a wonderful table, full of bliss and tranquilty. I enjoyed my visit to your blog. hugs ~lynne~

  12. Ro says:

    Love all your white. Very pretty!

  13. Deanne says:

    Love the setting!
    We are planning a day by the pool with prawns, watermelon and soft drinks in individual bottles- a treat for our kids, and dinner with the rest of the family beside another pool!

  14. Love your Holiday decor Sarah!

  15. ellen b says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve visited here and it’s just as delightful as I remember. You really have a knack for simple beauty! Love your table!

  16. you so white on white so well ~

  17. Tricia Rose says:

    Maybe Constant Change is your own Christmas tradition…

  18. You are SO incredibly lucky to be able to dine outdoors so many months of the year! I wish!!! We are stuck inside here (Missouri, USA) for at least 6 months, and it’s excruciating!!! I love all the clean, pure white on your table with just hints of red here and there! Absolutely sumptuous! And the use of the white hydrangea to emulate snowflakes is gorgeous!!!

  19. Your summer whites look beautifully bright for our winter weather. Love the holiday look of white on white.

  20. liz says:

    sigh….hhhhh… can i come sit there?

  21. What a delightful story and post, Sarah. I was just delighted by it! Your table has hit a lovely ballance. Bright and clean white, with touches of evergreen and beach. I just love it. ANd I certainly love this post! You are adorable! So fun to hear how you have Christmas Down Under!

  22. Mimi says:

    Beautiful table…love the all white. I am wondering what white sauce is? It was hard to get into Christmas in warm weather…I moved to Phoenix, AZ after living in New England for the first 30+ years of my life. After the first few years I didn’t even notice the the lack of snow!

  23. Liz says:

    I just adore your setting!!! White is just so pure, elegant and simple!

  24. I loe the beach holiday table. So serene and elegant. Dining here would make me feel very relaxed.

  25. Bev says:

    Remember as a child my parents fresh from England taking us to Batemans Bay at Christmas and mum having to cook a turkey in a little wooden hut in a caravan park and it was like 39 celsius. Never have we ever gone away at christmas again and always we eat the full turkey ad at home…..stunning, simply fresh and oh so BC again….you inspire us!

  26. Anne-Marie says:

    Seafood is our favourite for Christmas Day accompanied by lots of bubbles and yes it is very laid back!
    Too hot in Brissy for anything else.

  27. Lynda says:

    Simple… elegant… and beautiful…
    LOVE your casual cottage style!

    :D Lynda

  28. Scribbler says:

    Warm weather for Christmas? I think I would like to adjust to it! Please tell me what is bread sauce?

    • sarah says:

      it is a classic savoury British sauce made with bread….if you make it youself it is beautiful, if you make it with a packet mix it if foul…

      flavouring comes from cloves, onion, bay leaf…it looks stodgy and not that appetising, lumpy, but iS yummy :-)

  29. silvia says:

    I really do like your tablescape! So simple and so fresh!
    Have a nice day!

  30. Alice says:

    I love how your tablescapes. Unfortunately tablescaping isn’t appreciated much in this house hold by my husband or the parents. It apparently gets is the way of the food…. I’m lucky though, we have a gorgeous solid rustic table I usually set up for the family gathering outside ofcourse, so I recon I can get away without dressing it up. Looking at your gorgoeus table set up however makes my fingers itch and my mind is working over time as I am typing thinking of ways I could sneak a centre piece…. Hmmm… Enjoy the puff pastry cinnamon sweets and keep an eye on them they can brown quite fast!

    Lovely as always…

  31. Hey,

    The arrangement looks awesome. Simple and sweet.

    like this :)

  32. Camilla says:

    That arrangement looks lovely, though a bit strange, with summer and winter clashing so beautifully. I don’t know if I should wish to be able to sit outdoors this time of year and eat, or be thankful I have snow up over my boots and an appetite to go with it for duck stuffed with apples and plums, caramelized potatoes, red cabbage and apples and then for desert vanilla rice pudding with chopped almonds and cherry sauce (essentially cherries that have been soaking in rum). Hm…though choice, the food or the weather!

  33. This is one of the best Christmas table settings I’ve seen yet! I love all the little details.

    I have yet to make Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls, I can’t to hear how yours turn out :)

  34. Chania Allen says:

    Forget making dough for your rolls. I buy a pizza dough from the deli section of my grocery store. Roll it out, butter it, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinammon, throw on some raisines or nuts and roll it up. Cut into slices and bake. Drizzle with a wee bit of icing made from icing sugar and maple syrup.

  35. Johanna says:

    What a nice beachy white Christmas theme. very unusual but beautiful done. Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings, Johanna

  36. Barbara says:

    I loved hearing about your Christmases past. Your all white table is just so pretty. The Christmassy touches make it perfect for the holiday. I hope this year’s feast is just perfect!

  37. Nice how you’re now mixing old traditions with new! I like that, and what a lovely table you’ve set. Happy holidays!

  38. Simply stunning table! It looks SO elegant, but in a friendly way! Loved your account of adjusting your holidays to a new climate — great writing! Thank you for commenting on MY table this week, too!

  39. Jane says:

    You always set the most beautiful tables…always an inspiration. I loved hearing about the trials and tribulations of Christmas in the past. We all have those stories to tell, and sometimes laugh about!


  40. Heather says:

    life’s all about adventure and making your own traditions.. you’re doing a fabulous job :)

  41. It looks wonderful!! I love both the wreaths! The one on the wall, and the one on the table. And the combo of silver and white is just right!

    Looking forward to hearing about the white bread sauce……

    Hugs! Fi

  42. Amanda says:

    What is in the little jars?

  43. Susan says:

    Sarah, I don’t know which I enjoyed more…those funny stories or your beautiful table! I loved hearing all the ways you’ve celebrated. That totally cracked me up about y’all beening “sozzled” before you’d even had turkey. Toooo funny! I could envision hubby lugging the dishes…sounds like something I would have tried. ;)
    Gorgeous table and I love your hydrangeas! Beautiful napkin rings…really lovely!

  44. Jessica says:

    Simply stunning, as usual!

  45. Your Holiday Table is gorgeous! I still can’t get over its summer there. It has been down in the 20′s and 30′s here lately. Its too cold for me but feels like Christmas. Ah if we could just see some snow. I live on the coast of North Carolina “IN the South” so a white christmas is pretty much unhear of.

  46. Shron Smart says:

    Love the christmas stories!! Glad you found our Prawns to be the best ;) !

  47. Gorgeous table! Love it. It is so calm and peaceful.

  48. I had to laugh about your full blown Christmas tablescape on a public beach. My husband would not only have been yelling, he probably would have been throwing assorted tabletop items into the sea. I say that I salute you for the effort! Your table this year has that soft, romantic seaside flavor…it’s gorgeous. I enjoyed your historical journey of Aussie Christmases past to present. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay

  49. Nicola says:

    A table setting perfect for a hot Australian Christmas Day!

    Your Christmas Day Stories are great!

    I have lived in the Tropics most of my life and over the years our family have gone for the cooler options – cold ham, chook and bubbles + one hot roast of some sort and a few trimmings – usually cooked on the BBQ.

    The first year that my Husband and I were in our first home, we invited both families to celebrate with us and as we lived around 5 hrs drive away everyone came to stay as well! We had 13 Adults and 5 Children in our 3brm house, in tents on the lawn, in a caravan and even in our shed! It was the best Christmas – all the girls in the kitchen cooking up Seafood Thermedore, Baked Ham, Crumbed seafood of every kind imagineable and so many vegetable dishes I can ‘t believe we managed in my VERY old and inefficient Kitchen!

    This year we will be camping at a very remote beach, just us and the kids – can’t wait! Lots of cold meat and salads and of course a few bottles of bubbles!

  50. Sarah! Lovely just lovely. You are amazing………..

  51. Ohhhh, may I join you at this ever so Beautiful table setting and enjoy your delish meal with you??? I LoVe how you decorated your table!!!!!! I LoVe how you decorate everything period!!!!! I HeArT your style so much!!!!!!

    Michelle Torres

  52. Gail says:

    Looks and sounds like a perfect Christmas to me, would LOVE tohave your layered salad recipe, sounds divine!

  53. mydesignchic says:

    Budget or no budget this tablescape is beautiful…warm and homey!!

  54. Puff says:

    I sooooooo love this! White and silver – really a great combo ;)

  55. Jo Milbourn says:

    Hey there lovely girl, I’m right there with you on the Christmas dinner thing. I am a Pom living in NZ. We had the same problem when it came to a traditional lunch. In fact all my English friends here went through the exact same thing. Here the traditional meal is ham, so after many years of experimenting, we decided to stop fighting this stange habit of the kiwis (by that I mean having Xmas in the sun..weird or what?) and go with the flow. So ham it is now.! To be honest it is impossible to get a decent turkey here anyway.

    We now go away for our annual holiday on boxing day and so we don’t want lots of left overs hanging around.

    I must admit, being an obsessive tablescaper I still set my table just for show and for my blog. I love to see the candles sparkling during the evening before we go away. I lay the table in the dinning room a week or so before Christmas, just so that I get to see it! (Now that’s mad!!) I just think of it as my Christmas decorations.

    Anyway me old china… great blog!! It’s good to see not all the bloggers are from America!!! We Brits can get in on the act too!

    Jo x

  56. Nat says:

    Stumbled apon your site only this week and am loving it!! Your home is beautiful and gives me lots of ideas. Can you tell me where you got the 2 cushions with black stripes on the sofa in the back of these shots? Thanks for giving me the inspiration to finally paint a few pieces Ive been meaning to do for ages :)