Christmas table ideas we love
Tablescaping – yes, it’s a thing and Christmas is the perfect time to indulge. Holly Louise Eells has the tips…
The art of decorating your table is back in vogue, and the festive season is a great time to theme your dining area for the big feast. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or mean buying accessories you’ll only use once a year…
It Starts With a Theme
Whether you are going all-out or looking for a few key touches, you need a theme. It’s all about creating a cohesive look. Notes Elys Wimbledon: Having a defined colour scheme not only makes the table look extra-special but adds a polished look. Traditionalists could opt for classic red, green or gold; meanwhile, frosty silver and white create a Winter Wonderland-inspired finish. Or, if you want to opt for a more glam Christmas setting, choose hues of rose gold and copper for an indulgent glitzy theme.
A striking centrepiece is the best way to bring it all together and wintertime offers a variety of beautiful flowers, scents, berries, coloured stems and dramatic evergreen foliage, so take advantage of what this season has to offer.
Emma Holding, owner of The Strand Flowers in Wimbledon and Raynes Park, says: “We are really spoilt for choice at Christmas. There are so many stunning flowers, especially amaryllis, which come in a variety of colours, including festive red, yellow, green and deep orange. Cut the stems down and add natural woodland, foliage and pine for the finishing touches. They will definitely leave your guests impressed.”
She adds: “It is best to get your flower arrangements at the weekend. This will give the amaryllis an opportunity to fully open up for Christmas Day.”
For a dramatic look, pair a monochromatic floral centrepiece with matching Christmas baubles at each place setting. If you’re short on space, simply trail ivy across the table, intertwined with battery-operated fairy lights. Or fill elegant glass dishes with unshelled nuts, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and dried citrus. And think above the table, too, where you can create a stunning statement decoration.
Laying the Table
When it comes to laying your table, you don’t need the luxuriousness of linen for it to look spectacular. But make sure whatever cloth you use is ironed well for a crisp neat finish. If you have a heatproof tableliner, you can iron the cloth directly onto your table.
Christmas dinner is often a multitude of courses, but this doesn’t mean you have to have a huge amount of crockery on the table. Also, you don’t need to splash out on Christmas china or crystal glassware to have a magnificent table as plain china can be transformed with festive touches. A sparkling charger plate layered with a dinner plate, side plate and bowl sets the scene perfectly.
Tablemats and cloth napkins are practical additions that can also help style the table. Says Elys: “Cloth napkins are one of the most inexpensive ways to instantly dress up your table. Coupled with napkin rings for that extra detail, it makes all the difference. Fabric or rattan placemats are an easy way to add a pop of seasonal colour or texture. They’re an inexpensive investment, or you can make your own from felt or fabric remnants.”
Whether you go for tea lights or candelabras, candles create atmosphere. But if you have a number of children at the table, faux candles might be a better option.
Touch of Glass
With all the food, for many of us, there will be a wide range of drinks too. But a big selection of glasses can be overwhelming, especially if you have more guests than normal around the table. So what glasses do you really need for Christmas? According to Alex Roberts from Park Vintners in Wimbledon, he believes every Christmas meal should commence with Champagne. He says, “It is the perfect beverage to be toasting a special occasions.”
He recommends, “Ideally, you need a flute, a medium size glass for the red wine, and smaller one for white wine and of course a tumbler for water to keep hydrated.”
It’s All in the Details
Now this is the really fun part and it is all about those personalised finished touches that make all the difference. From handwritten place cards, decorating the frames of the chairs, and a Christmas table treat, this will guarantee to make everyone at the table feel like a guest of honour. Create your own place-card holders out of pine cones, then make or buy some homespun place cards. A personalised bauble also makes a lovely placeholder and is a nice take- home keepsake for the recipient. Every table needs Christmas crackers and they are a great way to enhance the theme and entertain guests.
Table presents are a nice touch but it doesn’t mean the host has to buy them all: rather like a Secret Santa, have each guest bring a gift for another. For games, there is nothing like a Christmas quiz for a little festive competitiveness! Try Christmas Charades – print off a list of festive films or songs you want to act out, separate everyone into teams, then get one person from each team to do the acting. Like regular charades, the actors are not allowed to talk or make signals of any letters. Every time a team guesses correctly within the time limit, they get one point. The first team to get 20 points wins the game!
(Main image: Hever table, Noa & Nani)