As delicious as it is, we all know Christmas dinner is about more than just the food. It’s the atmosphere and festive feel of the occasion that makes it so special. And the one thing that contributes to that more than anything is the environment you eat it in. To host the most fun, and memorable meal possible, you want your table to look amazing. Set the scene in the best possible way with these Christmas dinner table tips.
Set a theme
Choosing your theme is an important first step. Basing your decorations, crockery and other accessories around a select few colors will really tie the whole look together. If your dining room already has a bold color scheme, it’s worth taking this into consideration. Although your pink feature wall or statement lamp may not scream Christmas to you, matching your seasonal picks to your existing décor could be a wise choice.
Otherwise, there’s always the option to keep it classic with festive reds, greens and hints of gold, or create your own winter wonderland with frosty whites, silvers and greys. For something different, deep blues are incredibly striking. Paired with metallics, they give a real feel of luxury, with the ambience of a midnight sky.
Lay the table the day before
This gives you the chance to locate any missing plates or chairs, and make sure everything’s immaculately clean well ahead of your guests’ arrival. Certain parts of the process may take longer than you anticipate, but by getting it all done early you avoid the last-minute rush. And once you’ve decorated like a professional, it means you’ll enjoy the set-up for longer before the chaos of dinner descends on it.
Start by finding your table cloth and ironing it so it’s neat and crisp. It doesn’t have to be particularly fancy. White linen often looks best, and even paper cloth works just as effectively.
Use charger plates
As charger plates are used to dress up formal meals for special events, they’ll add an instant touch of sophistication to your table. These large, decorative bases go beneath your plates. There are a wide variety of materials and colors available, so if you don’t already own any, choose some that tie in with your theme. Metallics are a classy, failsafe option, for the festive season and beyond.
Another great benefit to charger plates is that they help retain the heat in your dinnerware, so your guests will be just as enthusiastic about their second helpings of the main course.
Plan which dishes to use
It’s better to do this before decorating the rest of your table, as by laying them out first, you’ll have a better idea of how much space you have left to work with. Pick out your favorite porcelain and silverware, then position the main plates onto the charger plates, followed by the starter plates and soup bowls on top.
If you have the option, layering a couple of different colors adds depth to the arrangement. Place the cutlery on either side, with the first course on the outside working inward. It’s also worth picking out any serving bowls or other accessories which will be kept on the table. Upgrading to more elegant salt and pepper mills will contribute your aesthetic - and when placed on a mill tray, they’ll tie into your centerpiece without looking out of place.
Create a stylish centrepiece
The real fun is about to begin. Your centrepiece is where you can get especially creative, with endless possibilities for customisation. To ensure your table’s beautifully lit, choose between sturdy pillar candles or floating candles in a decorative glass bowl of water. Candelabras are a great option if you’re short of space, as they’ll give the table height rather than intruding on precious food space. Any metallics on the table will reflect the candlelight, making the ambience even more warming and magical.
Around the candles, make a runner inspired by nature. Wreaths, pine cones, sprigs of herbs, foraged berries and other woodland finds all make for gorgeous table features, especially when arranged together artfully. And you don’t have to stay away from flowers. Although they may not be typically festive, the pop of colour they’ll bring to your aesthetic certainly won’t go amiss.
Personalise each place setting
This can be as simple as handwriting each guest’s name on a small piece of card, although some prefer to attach the place name cards to a small gift - perhaps a game or toy that will be a talking point around the table.
Another way to personalise place settings is by tying ribbon or charms to wine glasses or flutes. With each one varying slightly, it’ll also prevent glasses from getting mixed up when you take the party to the living room.
Add crackers and napkins
The final finishing touches. Instead of picking up the first crackers you see in the supermarket, plan ahead and order some that coordinate with your theme. If you want to make them extra personal, you can now purchase fill-your-own crackers which are sure to impress.
And for napkins, why not try your hand at some origami for a real wow factor? Napkin pockets, Christmas stars and intricate fans are all relatively easy with the help of an online tutorial. You’ll be a napkin-folding master before you know it.
There you have it, your Christmas table is all set and ready for your guests. Sit back, admire your handiwork, and enjoy being the host with the most.