3 Simple Recipes for Holiday Table Settings With Foraged Ingredients

By Annie Thornton, Houzz

These three simple table settings emphasize the beauty of the season without adding to the holiday load. They feature ingredients that could be snipped from your garden, picked up off the sidewalk or easily found at the local market. And if you can’t find a particular item, incorporate another material or just leave it out. Unlike most recipes, these won’t lose their flavor if you strip them down. “Simple things are oftentimes the prettiest,” says Alethea Harampolis, coauthor with Jill Rizzo of The Wreath Recipe Book. “I love using stark sticks.”

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Paige Green, original photo on Houzz

More than any time of year, fall and winter see a lot of recipes being used. They’re sometimes complicated, often time consuming and not always worth the hassle — just getting everything to the table often takes perseverance. In their book, Harampolis and Rizzo offer a different kind of recipe; shopping for supplies involves taking a walk outside or visiting a local nursery. The book features 100 wreaths, centerpieces and other decorations that will carry you through all four seasons, incorporating branches, leaves, fruits and flowers. The authors shared three recipes with us that bring the beauty of nature to the holiday table. Now get outside and start foraging!

1. Ilex Centerpiece

Mix winter sprigs and log slices for an easy-to-assemble and festive centerpiece that can be adapted to any dining table.


• 2 holly sprigs
• 2 redwood sprigs
• 2 ilex branches


• 5 log slices


1. Drill stem-size holes into log slices.

2. Trim the ingredients to varying heights and place them in the drilled holes in a pleasing arrangement.

Tip: Create a miniature winter scene by clustering these log slices along the center of a long dining table or fireplace mantel. You could even attach name cards to the branchlets for place settings.

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Paige Green, original photo on Houzz

2. Magnolia Garland

Golden magnolia leaves, rusty sunflowers, bundles of grass seed heads and artichokes bring the colors and textures of autumn inside.


• 4 sunflowers
• 4 artichokes
• 15 stems of ornamental grass
• 3 magnolia leaves


• Embroidery floss
• Embroidery needle


1. Trim the heads from the sunflowers and artichokes. Divide the ornamental grass into three bundles and tie them together with a short piece of embroidery floss.

2. Using the embroidery needle, thread the embroidery floss through the elements in a random order.

3. Alternate the directions of the magnolia leaves and grass posies as you go, until you’ve reached the desired length.

Tip: Rizzo and Harampolis suggest running the garland down the center of a long dining table, hanging it around a doorway or draping it around a guest of honor’s chair.

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Paige Green, original photo on Houzz

3. Pine Place Setting

Bunch fragrant pine, eucalyptus and kumquat together for a seasonal place setting.


• 1 sprig of pine
• 2 sprigs of eucalyptus
• 1 sprig of kumquat


• Floral tape
• 12-inch piece of ribbon


1. Gather the ingredients and secure them with floral tape just below the foliage.

2. Tie the ribbon so that it conceals the floral tape and trim the stems 1 inch below where the ribbon is tied.

Tip: These mini bouquets are intended for the table, but Rizzo and Harampolis recommend dressing up a wrapped gift with one or even clustering some together to make a centerpiece.

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Paige Green, original photo on Houzz

Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo, seen here, run the floral design company Studio Choo in San Francisco.

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Paige Green, original photo on Houzz

The Wreath Recipe Book (Artisan Books) is a follow-up to The Flower Recipe Book.

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