Whether you’re hosting Christmas dinner or inviting friends over for coffee and a catch up, here are my tried-and-tested recommendations for dressing your table this festive season
Establish a new Christmas tradition
For me, Christmas is all about people. I love inviting friends and family into our home, whether we’re sharing a meal or meeting for coffee and a catch up. Whenever we host a festive gathering, everyone flocks to the table, and creating a new festive tablescape each year has become one of my favourite seasonal traditions.
I remember the first time we held a Christmas Eve meal at our home – I quickly found that I was much more excited by the prospect of decorating our table than the food I was cooking! My first tablescape was an exercise in rustic charm; I planted some zinc pots with white hyacinths and paperwhites topped with moss, laid down white tablecloths, and placed tall candles in glass candlesticks along the length of the table. We had to push two dining tables together and use mismatched placemats as we’d never hosted that many people but, despite the organised chaos, I have such fond memories of creating that tablescape and establishing a new festive tradition.
Since that first party, my Christmas table dressing has become more elaborate. I love experimenting with different designs and styles, from hanging installations to foliage-based garlands. My accessories collection has evolved too; I’m now lucky to have a plethora of candlesticks, place settings, crockery, and glassware at my disposal. And while the design of my Christmas table changes each year, taking the time to dress it is now an unmissable part of our holiday celebration.
Create a festive centrepiece
The centrepiece is the focal point of any Christmas table and it’s the part that I spend the most time contemplating. This year, I get to unleash my creativity on a new table that I’m hoping will be delivered very soon – I can’t wait to share it with you all! While I loved the large fabric chairs and bench style of our previous dining table, it’s just not practical for our girls anymore. Our new table is much simpler and will feature a winter planter, filled with Amaryllis and Hyacinth bulbs, that can stay in place throughout the season but is also easy to lift and move if needed.
To mark the magical period between Christmas Eve and New Year, I’ll be building on this more minimalist display with a long, low-level centrepiece featuring festive foliage and tall dinner candles. The foliage will be held in place with plastic trays, chicken wire, and pot tape – find out how you can create your own with our video tutorial here. This entire look can be created with just one festive foliage box, and I still had plenty of pine and eucalyptus left over!
If your dining table is round rather than a rectangle, you can achieve a similar look with a round planter and fewer dinner candles – I’d recommend using no more than three in total.
A place for everyone
Now that your Christmas centrepiece is ready, it’s time to think about your place settings. I think that people feel especially welcome in our home when I’ve taken the time to create a unique place setting for everyone. I have special placemats that I save for this time of year and have fun with the napkins. Why not try a fancy fold (here are three of my favourites [LINK]) or keep it simple with a sprig of foliage tucked into the fabric? I’ve built up quite the collection of napkins over the years and now have a colour to complement almost any design. However, I often find myself leaning towards crisp white tablecloths, placemats, and napkins for Christmas.
How will you be dressing your Christmas table this year? I’d love to see your designs – tag me on Instagram @the_suffolk_nest