Our tips to creating the perfect table setting
Christmas lunch is often the crescendo of the chaotic silly season. At our house we start by opening presents then sit down to a light breakfast of seasonal summer fruits, croissants with jam and freshly brewed coffee. Before-you-know it the family are due. Lucky most of the preparation was done the day before and all I have to do is open the champagne …well you know the rest!
1. Prepare for a Successful Day
We try and set our Christmas table the night before. If you prefer a formal setting think about simple, elegant colour schemes. A crisp white table cloth and napkins with silver or gold accents is always stunning. Use your white dinner set and if you are really keen some name cards tied with metallic ribbon and printed with gold or silver writing is a lovely personal touch that will make your guests feel special.
2. Decorate to Make Your Guests Feel Welcome
If you prefer a splash of colour splash around some traditional red. Again, add accents of silver or gold then add some simple foliage and greenery like conifer branches, lilies or magnolias. Gum nuts are very on trend at the moment and native flowers will complete your masterpiece. Remember the simpler your palette, the more pleasing to the eye your table will appear. And remember, keep centre pieces below eye height or you’ll create a barrier to conversation.
You may prefer a casual, fun setting if that better matches the mood of your family and friends. Begin your design by laying down a table runner and placemats. These will add structure and balance to your casual setting. Solid colours or a pattern in the same colour scheme will work equally well. You can have some fun with patterned disposable napkins. These are reasonably priced, readily available and will save on the washing.
For a casual, earthy setting introduce natural materials. A white table cloth with an overlay of hessian or natural dyed linen with centrepieces and arrangements of driftwood and shells can look really beautiful. Start collecting your empty jars and other vessels to create arrangements of herbs and flowers from the garden to finish the theme.
Age, personalities and available space can influence your decision on how to organise your table seating arrangements. If kids and adults are on the same table keep it as casual as possible. Mixing formal and casual designs on the one table just won’t work – trust me.
3. Make Your Setting Entertaining
If your kids are young or fickle eaters try making the table setting entertaining and interactive. We once succeeded using butchers’ paper as the table cloth so our offspring (and James) could draw on it between courses. I’ve also heard of making the centrepiece something they could play with. And no matter what don’t forget the Christmas crackers! Christmas dinner would not be the same without those trivial facts and silly jokes that we laugh at regardless of the quality of the humour.
4. Have Fun!
Whatever the style you choose this year KIS (keep it simple), relax and have fun…… there is always next year to try something new. I try to remember – especially at this time of the year – “people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
If you have any Christmas decorating ideas of your own that you’d like to share please do so below.