Christmas Tablescape:: A Beach Cottage

By Kate Riley November 29, 2011

G’day friends!  That greeting rolls a little easier off the tongue today since I have a wonderful friend visiting from Australia. I think it’s so fascinating to read how different people in different countries celebrate Christmas around the globe, so earlier this year I asked my friend Sarah of A Beach Cottage to share how she celebrates the season with her family, Aussie style. 

Sarah’s story is fantastic, she was born and raised in England, but now spends her days with her husband and three children on the sunny beaches of Sydney, Australia. I’ve followed her blog for two years now and secretly wish we could trade lives for a few weeks! I adore her cheerful approach to life and ideas for living simply and we share a love of old furniture and an affection for white paint.        

Sarah’s table is a great example of how it just takes a bit of sparkle and a dash of color to create an effortless table for your holiday home. Please welcome Sarah from Sydney and enjoy the tour of her beach cottage tablescape and Christmas traditions!     

“I love styling for the holidays . . . it sure is one of my favourite times of the year, I get to play around with one of my fave hobbies, decorating and making things look pretty but all wrapped up in sparkly bits too. . . bliss!  

BC Christmas Table Scape

Since our sea change to Australia from London, Christmas and celebrating nowadays for our little family, means lovely long warm summer days and Christmas Day starts off on the beach.

Beach Cottage Holiday Tablescape


On Christmas morning we open a few presents and then head off to the local Surf Life Saving Club to meet up with friends and locals. Here an ocean swim takes place (with Santa hats), and we mingle on the beach with nibbles and a bit of a champagne breakfast.  If we’re lucky the old guy with the white beard himself makes and appearance for the kiddos on the back of a boat.  Mid-morning we head home to a Christmas lunch that is served on the deck.   

beach cottage christmas 3


We love a traditional meal and that for us is turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings . . . the rest of the day we hang out outside, chat with neighbours and later on in the evening we take a walk down by the sea and go to look at all the lights.   

Beach Cottage Christmas Table Vintage Ladder


Decorating for me is a mix of the old traditional feel and a whole lot of white mixed with silvers and golds plus a pop of red here and there for a lovely Aussie take on the holidays.   

beach cottaeg christmas 4

I love to mix in with this white silver and gold theme the hints of the sea and I love to use the things I find on my hunt for vintage things as part of my decorating. 

beach cottage 6


Here I used some old bottles painted white (simple to do, just collect soft drink/soda bottles and paint them by either using a can of spray paint or using a paintbrush.  You will need to use oil based paint to ensure it stays put) and tied them with polka dot red ribbons then used them for a very simple Christmas tablescape out on the deck. 

beach cottage christmas table 1


The bottles and baubles are laid through the centre, chairs tied with white Christmas wire-edged ribbon and finished with a starfish.

beach cottage christmas 5

Elsewhere around the house we fill our old fig tree out the back with lights and on the front of the cottage we string white fairy lights, hang baubles from the trees, decorate the picket fence and love everything that is twinkling. 

beach cottage snowflake

On the front door and on the back deck I love to hang driftwood wreaths and and prop stars made from whitewashed driftwood all around the place ~ these say Christmas to us . . . Down Under. Sun

So fascinating to read how others celebrate Christmas around the globe, don’t you think?  Thank you Sarah for sharing your beautiful table and traditions, you can visit with Sarah anytime at her lovely blog A Beach Cottage !

swirl snip

A reminder that tomorrow is Wednesday November 30th and that is the BIG day for the holiday tablescape contest sponsored by Home Goods. It will be live at 9 a.m. EST, so get ready to link up your fall or winter holiday tablescapes for a chance to win a $100 Grand Prize gift card from Home Goods. There will be also be three runners up who receive $50 Home Goods gift cards, and you can enter via email.  

You’ll find all the contest details here.   

tablescape link party

See you then!  




  1. Great guest post! I have always been fascinated by the ways that people in other parts of the world live and celebrate holidays. I love that Sarah and her family spend parts of their holiday with their community and neighbors. Around here, everyone stays in their homes or goes out to see family.

  2. I love a white Christmas, but I wouldn’t mind trading that for a white sandy beach Christmas every once in a while! It’s always great to hear about holiday traditions from around the world! Great post!

  3. Love this gues post!!! That table is gorgeous!!! Thank you for sharing Sarah’s style for the holidays. Simple yet elegant…love it! We should all live a little more like our Aussie friends do. Can’t wait for your Link Party tomorrow. I’m all ready! :)

  4. It is fun to hear how others celebrate Christmas around the globe. Sarah’s home is lovely. I get a sense of peace by just looking at it. Love all of the white with touches of red. Very simple and serene.

  5. I love all the white… it makes me think of the snow as well as the sandy white beaches of our Gulf Coast. Would love to see pictures of the swims with the Santa hats! :) Merry Christmas!

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