Judy Woodruff's Christmas morning table was so engaging with son Jeffrey's teddy bear in a highchair that she vowed to reproduce it in her own home come the holiday morning.
Susan Baker's country holiday table sat on a sisal rug hand-painted by her daughter-in-law.
Betty Lou Ourisman's table in the benefit last night at the Watergate for The Washington Home -- a private, nonsectarian nursing home -- gleamed with Tiffany silver that Tiffany's own John Loring spotted in an instant.
But White House deputy chief of staff Michael K. Deaver turned the tables elsewhere as he stood looking at the Christmas tree created by his wife, Carolyn, along with the Washington Project for the Arts.
He was responding to questions about President Reagan's trip to South America at the end of the month, which he has been intimately involved with planning.
"That's going to be a hard trip -- Brazil, with two cities, Brazilia and Sao Paulo -- Bogota, San Jose," and then, after pausing for a minute, he added, "and Honduras." That last stop is scheduled to be announced later this week. It was added to the itinerary after speculation that either Honduras or Peru would be selected for a visit.
"The president really wanted to give more emphasis to the Caribbean Basin Initiative," Deaver said of the choice. There had been some thought that Reagan might stop in Peru to patch up differences with that country. Peru's President Fernando Belaunde Terry cancelled his trip here earlier this month because it coincided with the administration's announcement that countervailing textile tariffs would be imposed on his country.
The U.S. has made major efforts in Honduras to stop rebellion in Central America. The U. S. mission there has been upgraded and large numbers of American personnel and embassy staff have been added.
Asked if the president was disappointed about reports that the Argentinians had refused a meeting with him on his swing south, with the Brazilians as intermediaries, Deaver said those reports were "a little misleading."
When he and Thomas Enders, assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs, were advancing the trip in Rio recently, Deaver said, they had dinner with the Brazilian president's staff.
"We talked about five or six possibilities and they suggested having the Argentines come down for a visit, but it wasn't our initiative," Deaver said.
The more than 300 who paid $85 a person for the black-tie dinner-dance and opening of the benefit exhibition dined on roast veal and vintage wines after viewing holiday table settings and Christmas trees by such celebrity exhibitors as Lady Bird Johnson, Sen. and Mrs. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), Dina Merrill and Cliff Robertson, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and Redskin quarterback Joe Theismann--none of whom were there last night.
But others among the 27 exhibitors who were on hand to stand proudly by their displays were Delaware Gov. Pierre S. duPont IV; Jane Weinberger, wife of the secretary of Defense; Watergate owner Nicolas M. Salago; and Carolyn Long, wife of Louisiana Sen. Russell Long. Some wished that the extra bit of magic worked by decorators, who interpreted the exhibits for their prominent supporters, could be transported to their own homes.
"We're minus a few dining room chairs, but we figure it's for a good cause," NBC's Woodruff said while looking at the intimate display that included her Wedgwood china and a pair of men's leather slippers, which she said were not her husband's, Albert R. Hunt. "I wish I had a camera. I'll come back tomorrow and take some pictures."
Jane Weinberger, who masterminded a Christmas tree this year, was already planning a table setting for next year. It was news to co-chairman Jane De Graff. But she quickly signed her up.
The show, which is open to the public for a donation, continues through Monday, when some exhibit-goers may end up taking home to their own Christmas trees autographed ornaments by such notables as Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan.