A home is often a very warm and joyful place at Christmas, but the centre of this warmth is very often the Christmas table. This is the place where friends and family break bread and give thanks, so it needs to be dressed in a way that befits such a wonderful occasion.
While your Christmas table should be unique, and mean something special to you and your kin, these 10 simple tips should ensure it hosts the perfect festive celebration.
1. Create your own special centrepiece
While you’ll probably buy most of the decorations for your table, it’s always nice to spend a little time and effort on creating a unique centrepiece. Buy some garland, and add flowers, Christmas decorations and personal items as you see fit. This is your chance to be creative, so let your imagination run wild.
2. Add a small gift to every place setting
Think favours at a wedding. Give all your guests their own token gift, which should be sitting on the placemat between the cutlery. This should be a little keepsake that your guests can take away as a long-lasting memento of a wonderful Christmas.
3. Use place names
Spend a while writing out some attractive place names on some festive card. If you don’t have great handwriting, delegate this job to someone who has.
4. Select an overall colour scheme
The best Christmas tables stick to underlying themes and colour schemes. What you choose could depend on your home’s decor, as well as any themes you’re adopting for the festive period. For the best results, however, stick to maximum of three main colours — green, red and gold are absolutely perfect for festive tables.
5. Glasses to the top right
Even if you’re not serving wine, adding some elegant wine glasses to your Christmas table will add a touch of glamour to proceedings. However, make sure they’re all place to the top right of each person’s place setting.
6. Use matching crockery
Using matching side plates, serving jugs, pots, dishes and main plates gives a Christmas table a finished, uniform appearance. Just make sure the colour schemes complement the rest of your table.
7. Use placemats
Use placemats or plates to fill empty spaces and give your Christmas table an interesting texture. Again, make sure the design and colour scheme blends in with the rest of your table.
8. Place cutlery with position
When you’re setting your cutlery, remember that starter cutlery — which is often a little smaller than regular cutlery, should be positioned to the outside. The idea is that people gradually work their way inwards during the meal. Of course, dessert cutlery should be positioned to the top of the place setting.
To maximise visual appeal, use a tape measure to ensure all of your cutlery is placed in exactly the same position. Always place the fork on the left, and the knife on the right — with the blade facing your placemat.
9. Use fabric napkins
Don’t make the mistake of finishing off your Christmas table with cheap looking paper napkins. Invest in some fabric napkins to add an element of grace and glamour. And of course, choose a colour that is in keeping with your overall scheme.
10. Use a table runner
A great way to make your Christmas table really “pop” is to cover it with a brilliant white table cloth before placing a red or green table runner over the top. This will set the tone for the rest of the table, and act as a point of reference for everything else that goes onto your table.
Spend a couple of hours experimenting with different colours, layouts and features to create a Christmas table that will live long in the memory