The tables are set, and the votes are in. This year’s Deck the Tables, which saw 17 entries from 13 different showrooms, made for fierce, festive competition at The Houston Design Center. From antique stores to rug shops to flooring centers, showrooms across the interior design mecca on Old Katy Road rose to the annual challenge to set their most dazzling holiday-themed tables, and they delivered.

A panel of judges, including this writer, ranked the tables by awarding points for creativity, use of color and greenery, and more on a scale of 1 to 5—and we’ll be the first to tell you, dear reader, it was no easy task. As a first-year judge, I naively thought a quick after-work stop at each showroom would suffice and surely take no more than 30 minutes. Two hours and several glasses of wine later, I learned my lesson, having in some instances gone back twice to revisit certain tables (we’re looking at you, labyrinthian Memorial Antiques & Interiors) and assess earlier, hastier rankings.

As conversations with tabletop visionaries revealed, strategy varied widely from showroom to showroom. While some like interior designer Corbin Young sought a more approachable scheme actual holiday hosts could emulate in their own homes, others, like curators of dazzling chandelier-filled Charlotte Nail Antiques or Jim Shreve, CEO of Baccarat North America, were inspired by the grandiosity of their environment or the products at their disposal and instead opted for the tablescapes of your wildest dreams.

One common thread across the Design Center, though, was valiant effort. These people are professionals who take great pride in their art—which is what this is, really—and that’s to be applauded. It all becomes even more impressive when you consider that some of us—this “judge” included—have been known to take meals on paper plates in bed watching Netflix. Please let me know when we start giving awards for sheet crumbs.

In the end, there could only be seven—six who earned top scores from the judges’ collective reviews, and one who won the popular vote.

  • Best in Show: “Sugarplums & Butterflies” by Brad Brandt at James Craig Furnishings
  • People’s Choice: “A Wine Country Christmas” by Pamela O’Brien at Kitchen & Bath Concepts
  • Best Theme: “Bubbles & New Beginnings” by Missy Stewart and Rainey Richardson at Off White
  • Best Dinner Service: “Home for the Holidays” by Travis DeZalia, Baccarat
  • Best Use of Greenery/Florals: “A Texas Christmas” by Connie LeFevre and the Design House team at Design House
  • Best Use of Color: “Land of Flowers” by Ashton Morgan and Creative Branch at Dream Theaters
  • Most Creative: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Kathie Flournoy and Oscar Zuniga at Memorial Antiques & Interiors

This year’s event benefited the Memorial Assistance Ministries Christmas Share Program, which provides toys and gift cards to hundreds of local children in need whose families struggle with securing food and basic necessities. MAM, a Houston-area non-profit, is dedicated to offering emergency financial assistance to individuals and families in temporary crisis who need help avoiding homelessness.

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