10 steps to creating the perfect Christmas table

A few days ago my sister asked me ‘What’s your Christmas table theme going to be this year? I can’t wait to see it!’

Christmas dinner will be round at ours again this year and my Christmas table themes have become a bit of a ‘thing’ in our family - no pressure then!

I get asked all the time ‘Where do you get your ideas for Christmas table decorations from?’ or ‘How do you pull together your Christmas place settings?’

Great questions! 

I get it. When you’re running around, spinning all those plates as you are at this time of year, it can be overwhelming. 

You have this vision of creating beautifully elegant Christmas table settings that have that wow factor.

But by the time you put that turkey in the oven it’s all you can do to get a clean table cloth on the table and gather enough plates that match. Sort of. 

Stylish Christmas centrepieces - are you kidding me??!

The answer is fairly simple. You need is a plan!

Here’s my step by step guide to creating the perfect Christmas table this year.

Step 1 - Take stock of what you’ve got.

Before deciding on Christmas table colours or themes, It makes sense to think about what you’ve already got and how you could incorporate it. This is also the time to check you’ve got all the tableware, glassware and cutlery you need.

Got a fabulous red table cloth? You might want to work that in somewhere.

Snapped up amazing gold and black crackers in last year’s sales? That’s your starting point right there.

Did a dinner plate from the ‘good set’ get broken last time out? Order a replacement now.

How about requesting new cake forks as an early Christmas present from the Aunt who never knows what to buy you?

Step 2 - Choose your theme.

There are endless sources of inspiration for Christmas table decorations out there from home decor magazines to sites like Pinterest and Instagram. 

These days though most of us have a mobile phone with a camera. I love to snap pics when I’m out and about - department store displays, hotel lobbies, I’m snapping and saving them for future reference! 

Your theme can be colour based - navy and silver anyone? Or it could be style based like my ‘ski lodge’ themed table last year.

Choose something in keeping with the rest of your Christmas decorations and where you can achieve the look you’re after without blowing your entire Christmas budget on it. 

Trust me, with all those gorgeous options out there, that would be very easy to do!

This year I’ll be incorporating our very own Eucalyptus Lurex runner and napkins in my (hopefully!!) calming Eucalyptus, white and silver theme.

Step 3 - Organise Christmas table linens

If buying new, order early as it’s harder to get popular sizes closer to Christmas. Remember to buy a table cloth big enough to cover your table when it’s fully extended.

If using a tablecloth, runner and napkins you already own, now’s the time to check they’re still in tip-top condition, laundered and good to go.

You might want to consider investing in some table protectors for under your table cloth. With space at a premium on the Christmas dinner table it never hurts to cut back on the need for excess table mats.

Step 4 - Buy or make place setting cards

Buy  - How about some of these gorgeous options from our friends at Not on the High Street? 

Make - ideas like this one on Pinterest are so simple but beautifully effective. Wonder if I can get green peppermint candy canes?

Step 5 - Choose a centrepiece

When choosing a Christmas table centrepiece, consider how much space you’ll need to put out serving dishes, gravy boats etc.

The best centrepieces make for a stunning impact when your guests first see the table (or throughout the holidays when your table isn’t set) but can swiftly be removed and put on a side table for the actual eating part if space is an issue.

This year I’ll be using these garlands from M&S with some added battery LED lights. 

Step 6 - Choose table mats

Even if you’ve opted for table protectors, table mats will give you the chance to add a bit of contrast colour. 

If you’ve lots of guests to fit around the table, smaller sized mats work best. 

Keeping your budget in check - I’ve had great success in the past by spray painting an old set of table mats picked up at a charity store. 

Step 7 - Add a novelty

Crackers give you the chance to add a splash of colour but truth be told I hate them! The mess, the terrible jokes, it just seems like a waste of money.

However with an under ten at the table, Auntie has to inject a bit of fun! I’ll be looking at alternatives to crackers such as these Santa Reindeer Head Bands to raise a giggle. 

Step 8 - Add something unexpected

For great impact, why not decorate your chair backs? 

For an added surprise, why not place a small gift on everyone’s seat for them to discover when they go to sit down?

How about these cute Santa Hat Glass Decorations from Ginger Ray? They could always double as place setting cards.

….and then there are always chocolate brussels sprouts. They're always surprising. 

Step 9 - Set your table on Christmas Eve

Put Bing Crosby on and take your time. You put all this effort in. You don’t want to be stressed and rushed on Christmas Day.

Think of it as the last gift to be wrapped.

Step 10 - Sit back and admire

Then wait for the compliments to roll in.





Written by Lynn McMurray
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