SOURCE: Half Baked Harvest
The idea of hosting Christmas dinner sounds nice until the planning begins. That’s when the panic can set in and let’s face it, for good reason. There are about 100 things to remember like the diverse diet of everyone attending, getting your home holiday ready and creating multiple lists to keep you on task. The one aspect of holiday entertaining that should be fun is creating the tablescape.
This is just a fancy way of saying “set the table” but you have to admit, it sounds more elegant to say tablescape. It can be an enjoyable break from cooking and planning but only if you have what you need on hand. I’m sharing my go-to tips for getting your table looking festive and impressive as well as being prepared before the big day.
CREATING A TABLESCAPE THAT WILL LEAVE YOUR GUESTS FEELING FESTIVE
If we treat this part of the planning just as we do with the rest of the holiday season, it’ll be a breeze. It does require organization and planning but let’s think of this as the relaxing aspect of Christmas dinner. Here’s what to consider when planning dinner so that you’re ready to go when the day arrives:
1/ Create a Colour Palette
SOURCE: Kelly Golightly
You definitely want to have fun and make this table work with the ambience of your home. Create a colour palette that works well with the rest of your Christmas decorating.
If you’re a traditionalist and love a green tree with red and gold ornaments, take a cue from that when it comes to your tablescape. If you love a white tree with pink ornaments then incorporate white and pink into your table. Read this post for more ideas on decorating with pink.
2/ Plan a Centrepiece
SOURCE: Zevy Joy
The next thing to consider is the centrepiece. Start by planning the shape and height first. You never want it to be so tall that it obscures the view of some guests. Well maybe you’d love to obscure your view of loud Uncle Bob but you should probably refrain. Too tall centrepieces have to be removed from the table when your guests sit down and that will detract from the overall look of your table.
The centrepiece should be the showstopper of your table. The centrepiece really sets the tone for the table so consider your style. Think of the words you want your table to communicate – elegant, fun, joyful. Whatever it is, the centrepiece should reflect that.
If you really want to have some festive fun you can create an edible centrepiece. If you love to bake and have spent a lot of time on your cake, sit it on top of a beautiful cake plate and that can become your centrepiece. If there are a lot of kids coming to dinner, you can charm them by adding your gingerbread house (or village) to the table. This is a 10/10 for creating joy and festivity to your tablescape.
3/ Make it Festive
SOURCE: Country Girl Home
Since this is Christmas dinner, you want the table to be as festive as possible. Add greenery and seasonal florals but you can go much further at this time of year. Have some fun by adding some festive surprises to the table. You can add small gifts to each plate, add a sprig of pine on top of each napkin or incorporate hand-written place cards. You definitely want there to be a nod to the holidays so just have fun being creative.
4/ Incorporate Sculptural Shapes
A table looks best when there are some interesting shapes incorporated into the tablescape. Try adding dishes and bowls in various heights. The change in height allows your eye to move across the table and creates balance.
Pay extra attention to the candle holders and vases that you add. You want pieces that have interesting sculptural shapes. Sometimes a table can look drab when it’s a series of platters and bowls. Incorporating sculptural shapes helps to create more visual interest.
5/ Create Sparkle with Glassware and Flatware
SOURCE: Nourish & Nestle
We tend to rely too heavily on our dishes to create the perfect table. Even the best dishware collection needs some bling at this time of year. The easiest way to add that is to incorporate shiny glasses like cut crystal. There’s something extra reflective about it.
Your silverware is another way to add shine and sparkle. Whether you prefer gold, silver or a combination I suggest laying it out flat as opposed to wrapping your napkin around it.
6/ Add layers with Linens
SOURCE: Rooms for Rent
Just as layering is super important when designing a room in your home, it holds true for your table as well. Your tablecloth is the primary layer and sets the tone for what’s to come. If you have chargers add those in for the next layer. Once your plates have been laid you can start to incorporate your napkins and you’ll soon see how the table comes to life.
If you really want to have some fun add additional layers with fun faux fur cushions on all or just some of the seating. If you have bench seating at your table, you can throw a textured blanket or a faux fur throw down. It’ll keep your guests feeling cozy and warm but it adds so much appeal to the overall look of your tablescape as well.
7/ Incorporate Greenery
SOURCE: Ilaria Campagna Interior Design
Nothing screams Christmas like layering in some greenery to your table. You can go really big and create an entire runner using pine boughs. If you prefer to keep it a bit more sedated you can fill small vases with some greenery and pop in a few branches of your favourite holiday flower or branches with berries. Add these little pops of colour at various places on the table and spread the Christmas cheer.
8/ Add Elements of Whimsy & Fun
The last and maybe most fun step in creating your own tablescape is to use your own objects to add fun to the table. Since it’s Christmas there’s nothing I love more than adding a vintage ornament to each plate. You can also go a bit bigger and layer small light up houses across the length of the table.
It’s not even something you need to go out and buy. Just take a look through your Christmas bins and see what feels appropriate. The best part of this time of year is you can create in a more whimsical way than you might at any other time of year.
THE ESSENTIALS FOR CREATING CHRISTMAS MAGIC:
- Table cloth and/or table runner
- Plates & chargers
- Beautiful flatware
- Glassware for sparkle and shine
- Interesting bowls and platters
- Candles & candle holders
- Greenery and seasonal flowers
- Extras – place cards, gift, ornament
I hope that gets you feeling a bit more excited about setting your own festive tablescape this year. Just remember that it’s ok to act more like a kid than you might normally.
If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.