How to create a Christmas table setting in 5 easy steps
Preparing the dining table for a fabulous festive lunch or dinner is the perfect excuse for getting creative with your Christmas table settings. With a little bit of imagination, your Christmas table can be a feast for all the senses, and one that is sure to make your family and friends feel as special as they should at this time of the year.
We invite you to take a seat at the Spotlight table and follow our step-by-step guide for getting all the elements of your Christmas celebration in order. Follow us to a tee or use our Christmas table ideas as a template for adding your own embellishments.
Given the importance of Christmas, a tablecloth provides a formal, elegant feel that is fitting for the occasion. It also acts as the foundation of your Christmas table setting, which means you'll want a cloth that hints at the fanciful but doesn't distract from the other Christmas table decorations you'll be placing on top of it.
If you have a tablecloth, there's no need for placemats - but the option is there, if it works with your overall design concept.
Garland or table runner
The best place for adding ornamentation to your Christmas table is down the middle (i.e. where they won't get in the way of people eating). A runner or garland adds a lovely point of interest, as well as marking out space for where your other decorations can sit.
Think of fir trees, mistletoe, ivy and pinecones when it comes to creating a Christmas wonderland (winter or otherwise) down the middle of your table. You may like to trim some runners from any vines you may have in your garden and drape them along the table as fresh foliage.
Crockery, cutlery and glassware
It's very rare for Australian families to entertain in a formal way these days, but Christmas is the perfect exception to the rule. Your Christmas table setting will look extraordinarily polished and refined if you lay it out with a full dining set of porcelain crockery edged delicately in gold for that festive flavour.
When it comes to cutlery, why not think beyond your average run-of-the-mill silverware and up the luxe factor with beautiful gold matte knives, forks and spoons? Top it off with Christmas-themed, embroidered fabric napkins (definitely not the disposable kind) that can be caught and twisted in glamorous napkin rings. Then keep the golden theme going with glassware, both highball and stemmed, that is metallic-dipped to complement the rest of your dinnerware.
By laying out your Christmas table formally, you not only give your crockery, cutlery and glassware the showcase it deserves, but you will really impress your guests with the extra effort you've put into your Christmas table decorations.
Serving trays and bowls
Little serving bowls for your petit fours, canapés and cranberry sauce should match your plates and bowls to ensure nothing is out of place on your Christmas table. Choose suitably fancy serving trays (not rustic baskets or wooden or plastic receptacles) for breads, cheeses, antipasti spreads or to serve your seafood sharing platters (as is often the preferred dish at Australian Christmas celebrations).
The little Christmas details
The really fun part is choosing the Christmas table centrepiece, which functions as the crowning glory - the pièce de résistance of your Christmas table setting.
While it may be tempting, it's best to avoid anything too large or high that could dominate your Christmas table. Not only will a grand display take up all the room, but your guests will find it impossible to talk across the table if your Christmas decorations are in the way.
Instead, think about small items that you can sit along your table runner or mingle in your garland and add points of interest to the setting that evoke the feeling of Christmas. Ornaments like baubles, gold deer statuettes, little bottle brush trees and flames flickering through candle holders with festive etchings are small but effective, especially when grouped strategically down the length of the table.
The precision of your Christmas table setting is likely to be destroyed by the end of your feast, but it will be well worth the effort to see the smiles on the faces of your loved ones when you unveil your Christmas table setting on Christmas Day.
Season's greetings from all of us at Spotlight!