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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Christmas Sleigh Bell Tablesetting

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Christmas is the time to use all your beautiful things. No other time calls for your best and finest more than Christmas. No better time to polish the silver, to wash the crystal, and to create a special tablesetting. 


Christmas Sleigh Bell 


White, green, silver, and black seems to be THE color combination for this year's Christmas decorations. The Hearth and Hand green and black Christmas collection, designed by Chip and Joanna Gaines, sold out quickly at our neighborhood Target store. One of the popular bloggers I read regularly, used black and green in her Christmas decor this year. 

As I gathered things for a Christmas table setting this year, everything fell into place for my table also to use this year's popular green and black color collection.  

An old-fashioned black sleigh carrying a black tree and adorned with a green wreath sparked the tablesetting and was the first thing I printed several weeks ago.  A NOËL greeting added just the touch of French Country I love to the card. 

 A different black sleigh makes a complementary name card atop green wire tree place card holders... black bases and silver bells fit together nicely with the table decorations. 

The set of place card holders has four different styles of green metal trees. All with personality PLUS. 

Wallace silver company has issued silverplate sleigh bell Christmas ornaments annually since 1971. Each year has a different pattern and the year engraved on the bells. Before this Christmas, I had two of the bells. One from 1977 and one from 1983 that always hung, along with several other ornaments, in the vaulted ceiling of the stairwell. 

In the early years of marriage, silverplated Christmas ornaments were very special since our budget was small with not much room for extras. A Bible translator's salary and a teacher's salary provided enough for the essentials, but not much more. I made out menus two weeks at a time, and hamburger meat was an every-other-night-staple. Sometimes it was meatloaf; sometimes it was spaghetti; sometimes it was Hungarian goulash; sometimes it was tacos. 

The two sleigh bells were the perfect items for this year's Christmas table to go with the black sleigh place cards and black sleigh plate cards. 

Have you noticed that no idea ever seems to be totally original? As my Christmas sleigh bell tablesetting was coming together, Miss Mustard Seed wrote a touching story about her collection of Wallace sleigh bells begun from her Oma's collection. Marian adds to her inherited bells from her grandmother by buying them from Ebay and Etsy. 

Aha! I was able to find a few vintage sleigh bells for good prices from Ebay after reading Miss Mustard Seed's post, and my Christmas table has five sleigh bells instead of only two. 

One of the vintage sleigh bells on the table is a Reed and Barton, about the same size, but with a little different style of engraving than the Wallace bells.  

Five crystal candlesticks, five small preserved boxwood wreaths, and one faceted crystal spray complete the centerpiece. 

Sparkling crystals mixed with black, green, and silver make a festive centerpiece... special for Christmas.

One more vintage sleigh bell hangs as part of the Noël Christmas swag. 

The centerpiece is narrow and works well with the small French breakfast table. 

Coasters with evergreen designs repeat the green and black colors in the centerpiece and sleigh cards. 

No candles in the candlesticks keep the centerpiece low for easy conversation across the table. 


J O Y E U X   N O Ë L 

from my table to yours... 

As another year draws to a close, I would like to thank you for reading Botanic Bleu. Your gracious comments uplift my spirits and add joy to my life. Thank you for making Botanic Bleu a part of your life. 

friends are the best presents 


  1. So beautiful, Judith, and I really love those place card holders too! The memories of being young and with less money are cherished times, and definitely help keep us humble as we've enjoyed more success through hard work over the years.
    One of my Panoply sisters had several of those Wallace and R&B bells which she sold in our booths. After Christmas I was ready to buy them after she marked them down, but resisted. I think they're beautiful, and I especially love their durability. But I have a collection of the Wallace annual candy canes which another sister started for me the year I married Mr. P. She gives me one each year as a hostess gift for hosting family for Christmas Eve. They are treasures!
    I enjoyed your table - always a favorite subject for me.

  2. This is so beautiful, Judith. I am not familiar with the silver sleigh bells displayed, but they are spectacular.

  3. Good morning Judith! I hope your Christmas celebration was as lovely as your table. I really love how festive the table is. It's elegant but it's not overdone; perfect! I too love a splash of black at Christmas. Who knew? I browsed the Magnolia Christmas displays at Target the other evening and was amazed at how stunning the deep green and black combinations were.

    Your bells are elegant and a perfect choice for the table. They inspire conversation but certainly don't obstruct it (your candlesticks the same). The tablescape is very elegant indeed~ 5 star.

    Hugs, Dana

  4. I love your tablescape. So gorgeous. I have one silver sleigh bell. Dated ornaments are so much fun. Ebay is a wonderful source for beautiful ornaments. Merry Christmas. I hope you had a great day.

  5. Little did I know these colors were "in." I wish I could post a photo of my table---but I don't see a way to do that? Anyhow. Your tablescape is lovely!

  6. When I saw your post, I thought of Marian’s post, as well!

    Your table looks lovely!

  7. Judith, your photos are magical capturing the beauty of your crystal candlesticks. I love the boxwood wreaths interspersed with your bell collection and crystal spray.
    I'm sick that I dropped my camera and it is not working right. I'm scared to mail it back to the company and receive the news it can't be fixed. I've only had it 1 1/2 years.
    Blessings to you.

  8. New Year's greetings Ms. Judith!! Your table is lovely and the crystal candleholders gave me an idea for keeping the glitter, but not the Christmas décor. I will line up my odds and ends of crystal in my centerpiece "box" with a little greenery, and it will be beautiful until the weather warms!!
    Thank you so much for the idea!!
    PS: my "sparkly" trees arrived in the late evening on the 22nd, and graced our mantel until yesterday. They are absolutely beautiful!!!
    Again my thanks!

  9. Your table setting is lovely with all the silver and glass.


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