Unfortunately it’s the time of year that many Mothers dread as the Christmas dinner is the most highly anticipated meal of the year; the mouth watering food, the family all gathered round one table (this doesn’t happen very often in our house!) and of course the beautiful table is always dressed flawlessly for the festive feast. What happens around your table is the heart of the whole Christmas event, from the build up of the advent calendars to frenzied shopping experiences. Dressing your table therefore is always important, it is the finishing flourish that can add that special atmosphere to your Christmas day meal – a main part of the dining experience.
There are so many ways you can dress your house – and (more importantly) your solid oak dining table for Christmas. It helps to pick a theme for your entire house so you can refine your search and choose pieces that work well together and give a running idea throughout your home. You could opt for a traditional feel with holly and ivy wreaths and a seasonal colour palette of red, green and gold. Or if you would rather create a contemporary look, go for copious amounts of glitter, silver shiny baubles and an extravagant reindeer on the mantelpiece?
Where to start with centre pieces?
Christmas Story 20" Lamp - Desk Leg (Special Christmas Lamp)
Depending on the size and shape of your table, there are a variety of different options; for a round table you could consider a large central candle which a rich cinnamon smell to enthral your family’s senses before the meal begins - keep it simple and cosy! Alternatively you could try floating candles in low level vases to create a real warm ambience to the day (why not try some coloured tea lights too!)
A vital part of the seasonal setup is of course the lighting. Whether you want to create a soft, warm glow using tea-lights and candles for an intimate feel or a crisp and fresh table, there are countless options to choose from. A huge range of votives are available on the high street, from cut glass to traditional silver and even more extravagant hanging beaded versions. If you want to add a touch of colour, take a look at Moroccan-inspired lanterns – they are a cheap and easy way to add culture to your Christmas decor, and a point of conversation.
Aside from the tree, fairy lights can be used to enhance other areas of the house and garden at Christmas. You could choose to cover your entire house in multicoloured lights, or just hang a few white fairy lights around candle sticks and fireplaces. If you want to add a dramatic feel to the table event then go for a candelabra or a high vase filled with flowers for big display – but remember people want to be able to see each other across the table, an intimate family setting doesn’t work with oversized flowers blocking heads and stopping conversation.
Is there a place for your placemats?
Something that can often get forgotten about – make sure you pick ones that encompass the colour theme/decorations (red and gold are traditional!) of the room or look you are trying to create. If you are going to splurge out on place mats and maybe even a runner then why not go for something that can be used again and again at special times throughout the year – perhaps avoid the reindeer ones! If you want to add some sophistication to the meal, don’t underestimate the power of sparkly table runners, napkins and glitter. Is your cutlery worn and weary? No better time to update it, along with your finest wine glasses (there is likely to be an accident so make sure you buy a few extra). This year antique goblets and patterned wine glasses are all the rage – dare to be different and make a statement!
- Ensure everyone has enough room to sit and eat comfortably – and access to get in and out for the toilet!
- Use warm colours to evoke a homely atmosphere – make a statement with an event not just a meal.
- Make sure you co-ordinate all of your lighting and table decorations together – from flowers, candles, placemats, fairy lights, salt and pepper pots, condiments, sauce boats, wine glasses and your best cutlery!
- Your table should sparkle! From glitter to crystals, whatever you can imagine, it will shimmer and sparkle in every light helping to create that special one-off, glamorous event.
- Why not make individual name place settings – even get the kids involved! From glitter to hand written names, all of the small touches make it special to you and your family.
Once you're decided on your theme, it will make styling the table a lot easier. The key is in the detail here: consider all the little things you don't make space for on your everyday table. Think beautiful votives, bell napkin rings, beaded placemats, luxury table runners and, of course, the compulsory Christmas crackers. To add a touch of elegance to your meal – napkin folding! They can be folded and placed in the glasses or on the crockery. A simple napkin fold for a wine glass involves pleating the napkin (each pleat about 2cm wide then folding the napkin in half and placing it in the wine glass with the first inch bent over to hold the pleats in the glass. As part of your party planning, before the grand day, try out all the elements together on the table to see how they all look. Work out if there is too much or not enough of something. Also keep in mind that you need to leave enough room for extra glasses, serving dishes and, of course, lots of elbows.
Above all enjoy!