Holidays are my least favorite subject for a column. There’s not much that hasn’t already been written in past years and by everyone. When writing about home décor it’s hard to ignore the color associated with the holiday, My friend Patrick used to own an Irish bar. He embraces this as HIS day and we always make sure to celebrate him on March 17. Reminding him of the religious connotation or any mention of the early St. Patrick for which the holiday originated falls on deaf ears. He does the day proud with his shamrock suspenders and everything green.
Think Irish, think green. This particular shade of green comes from the green harp flag used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name.
So, putting all the religious association aside and embracing it as a fun-loving day, it seems a good excuse to “go green” and really overdo it. Set a table in green and white. It’s the only thing I could to do without being a hypocrite and pretending to like the color and the whole idea of a day devoted to drinking green beer. Any holiday is a good excuse to set a table for friends of all persuasions.
For the ultimate table setting for St. Patrick’s Day I guess we should think shamrocks. I like to use big green leaves to cover a table. Or I use them as placemats. This is a holiday where we can use lots of paper decorations with the St. Patrick’s Day theme. Consider dying hard-boiled eggs in bright green to use as a centerpiece. Stick paper Shamrocks between the eggs. It’s a good time to do this because Easter is coming and the dye kits are in the stores now.
Set the table with bright green placemats, white napkins tied with green ribbons, white plates and don’t forget the silly paper hats at each place.
I’m in Key West and the thing I love about Key West décor, no matter how elegant or sophisticated the interior decorating is, there is always an element of silly somewhere. That’s about as creative as I can get for this holiday, which fortunately only lasts one day.
Big green leaves are wonderful decorating elements any time of the year. Here are some of the ways I use them to set a table:
Surround a votive candle with two large leaves stuck into the glass holder
Cover a buffet table with leaves on top of which you place a string of fairy lights. Scoop out heads of cabbage and fill with a dip for veggies on a platter covered with leaves (don’t forget to wash them first).
I also like to cover a small serving table with lots and lots of spinach and kale leaves and then put the plates on top. Use votive candles in various heights.
Using a clear glass vase, insert large leaves upside down into the glass to create a lining. Fill with water and sprigs of white flowers.
Green and white fabric prints are refreshing.
Are you up for a craft project? Rit dye works well on sisal. Create a stencil pattern on a sisal rug with green fabric dye. The easiest is a checkerboard pattern. I’ve used Rit dye to stain unfinished furniture. It’s water based so when you paint it on with a foam brush the natural wood shows through. It dries quickly. If you find a beat up chair with good bones at a yard sale, strip it down and coat with any color dye. There are lots to choose from. Easier and cleaner to work with than furniture stain or paint!
And just another “green” tip: Make old cloth napkins new again. Throw them in a dye bath and turn them a shade of green for St. Patrick’s Day. As for my celebration, I’m going to dinner with Nantucketers Liz and Todd Winship and Joanne and Steve Marcoux, where we are sure to have corned beef and cabbage and undoubtedly the table will be beautifully set in a very tasteful St. Patrick’s Day theme without a trace of a shamrock or leprechaun in sight.