Creating something beautiful and unique starts with using those objects yo hold dear and creatively styling them for the occasion. They may be inherited treasures or traditional ornaments gathered over time, but the key is that they belong to you, your family. The object – like the flower – must speak to you.

Your creation will be in the ability to create an environment that involves the senses – sight, smell, touch. With that in mind, start thinking of your table as a still life that reflects the season as well as your own tastes.

A nice focal point for a table setting would be a stack of books with a candlestick on top.

Candlesticks are wonderful elements on a table, even without candles.

Think of displaying several of your most unique tree ornaments on candlesticks of different sytles and heights, and using low votives for light.

Flowers, of course, are an important part of the story. Capture the season spontaneously, and let the season be your guide.

For the holidays, that means using clementines, pomegranates, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla beans, oranges, citrus fruits, chestnuts and kumquats. All these – plus meaningful bibelots, flowers, herbs, vegetables and spices – provide a structure to create a story using your own eye, taste, color and composition as a guide.

The glow of the holidays is enhanced when you use candlelight to bring the warmth indoors. The objects you have on the table are as important as the flowers and food.

A decanter of red wine with a candle behind it – use what you have in the house.

You might want to try a tablescape that might go something like this:  Wrap small bundles of wet moss or oasis in tree bark and tie with raffia or satin ribbon. Insert a stem of mimosa or narcissus in each. Sprinkle handfuls of fragrant dried pink peppercorns across the table, as well as bundles of cinnamon sticks wrapped in the same raffia or ribbon. Put tea lights or votive candles inside carved-out clementines. Add your special objects, and not only will the table be beautiful, the room will smell like Paradise.

Instead of china, try a place setting of two transparent glass plates with small cedar or pine needles in between the layers to add a one-of-a-kind collage effect.

Try not to be shackled to the same, old, same old!