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How do you set a table for Christmas?

As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp, a special kind of magic fills the world around us. It's a time when twinkling lights adorn the streets, familiar carols play on the radio, and the scent of freshly baked cookies wafts through the air.

Yes, it's that time of year again, when the world comes alive with the spirit of giving, love, and togetherness – it's Christmas time!

It is also the time when we open our homes to family and friends and gather around the table to share food and a good laugh. So in this article, I will help you set the most amazing Christmas table ever, with easy tips and tricks for you to copy in your home.

These are tried and tested tips that will help you create cohesive looks with products you probably have around the house already. I will also be sharing key looks from the AW24 collections of favourite stores.


Dobbies Garden Centres

Choose a Theme or Color Scheme for your Christmas table

The very first thing you need to decide upon is the theme or color scheme for your table decor. Traditional Christmas colors like red, green, gold, and silver are popular choices. However, if you are more fond of Scandi style decor, you may limit colours to white or white/grey and red.

If you have preference on maximalist interior decor, then you should opt for jewel tones - think blues, emerald greens and deep burgundy.

Tablecloth or Table Runner

Start by covering your table with a tablecloth. If you don't have a 'festive' tablecloth, then maybe you have a runner that you could use? For example, a white tablecloth can serve as a versatile base for any color scheme when covered by a red or green runner.

Now you might be tempted to start scattering Christmas stars all over your tablecloth, but don't! Let's set the table first!

How should I arrange plates and cutlery on the Christmas table?

Follow these steps for setting your table:

  • Place a charger or dinner plate at each seat. Chargers are large, decorative plates that act as a base for other dinnerware. You can use traditional red or gold ones, plain or with a pattern. Alternatively, you can use an appropriate coloured placemat or use a natural fibre woven one.

  • Place a folded napkin on top of each charger or to the left of the dinner plate. You can fold napkins in various decorative shapes, like Christmas trees or fans. You can also place the napkin on the plate. Try any of these linen napkin folding ideas.

  • Set the silverware: Place the fork on the left side of the plate, the knife to the right of the plate with the blade facing inward, and the spoon to the right of the knife.

  • Add a bread plate with a butter knife above the fork, if needed.

  • Place a wine glass or water glass above the knife and to the right of the dinner plate. If you're serving multiple types of wine, arrange the glasses from largest to smallest, left to right.

  • Ensure that everything is neatly arranged and symmetrical. Take a moment to adjust any crooked items or uneven placements.

set a table for Christmas

What can be used as a centerpiece for Christmas?

The festive table should have a centrepiece. You can use a floral arrangement, a decorative bowl filled with ornaments, a wreath with a candle in the center, or any other Christmas-themed decoration.

Remember to add a festive centerpiece that doesn't obstruct the view across the table. If your turkey is likely to become your centrepiece, then you could think about adding decorations that hang over the table.

Adding Christmas decorations to your table - the tips and tricks

Here are our top tips when decorating your Christmas table.

Mixing up the decor

  • Mix tall (24” and up) and short (12” or less) centerpieces on the tables.

  • Scatter Christmas-themed decorations like pinecones, ornaments, or holly leaves on the table for added festive charm.

  • Consider using place card holders with guests' names or small gift bags as placeholders for a personal touch.

Candles and Lighting:

  • Candles add a warm and cozy atmosphere. You can use candle holders, candelabras, or even floating candles in a glass bowl. Make sure they are safely placed away from anything flammable.

  • If you're using candles, consider string lights or fairy lights as additional ambient lighting.

Name Cards and Favors:

  • Create or purchase name cards for each guest and place them on their designated seats. You can incorporate these into your table decor theme.

  • Consider small Christmas-themed party favors for each guest, placed either on the table or at their seats.

Set the Christmas table: conclusion

Now it's time to enjoy a special meal with friends and family: Once your table is set, gather your loved ones and enjoy your delicious Christmas meal together.

Remember that the key to a beautiful Christmas table is personalization and attention to detail. Tailor your table setting to your own style and preferences, and don't be afraid to get creative with your decorations.


set a table for Christmas

Jenny Kakoudakis is an interiors blogger. She has been blogging since 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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