When we think of a Victorian Christmas table, we often think of something draped with lots of fabrics or the standard rope greenery. The following two suggestion were printed in Decorating for Christmas, By Lilian Masters in 1893 and could easily be made today.
A Christmas-table on which to display the presents and cards received is
easily managed. It should be made of deal or other common wood, the
legs being enameled white, black and gold, or any preferred colors.
To the top of this is nailed a strip of green art serge, velveteen, or jute bordering, edged with white swans-down which may be sprinkled with silver or gold.
Swans-down is not something most of us have easy access to but other fluffy items could be found. A fluffy boa, which can often be found in a discount store for next to nothing, could be used instead.
Holly and mistletoe are so stiff that there are but few ways of arranging them. Small pieces of mistletoe may be tacked round the edge of such a table-cloth as I have just mentioned . (See Christmas Display Table #1) They form a novel decoration and do not involve much trouble.
All the twigs should be about the same size, and should overlap; the berries being taken away, pearl beads are to be sewed on instead, the holes being hidden as much as possible.
At some shops, flat uncut “opals” are sold for jeweled embroidery; these are the best substitutes for mistletoe berries, but they are dearer than beads. A gross, when sewed on in groups of three or five between each twig of leaves, goes but a very little way round a large cloth.
Since holly and mistletoe berries can be toxic, it is very important that they are removed if using real holly. Flat back pearls and other "gems" can be purchased at craft stores and used as described as above. The pearls come in a number of colors - one just right for your table.
Note: Article was edited for use on this site.