IT’S the most important sit down meal of the year – and this year’s Christmas dinner will definitely be one to savour after the turmoil of 2020. If you want to make the most of it, setting a beautiful Christmas table to match the occasion and delicious food is a key consideration.
That means it’s out with the everyday table cloth and in with some finishing touches that will make the Yuletide turkey – or goose, or nut roast – taste even better.So we asked interiors expert Rebecca Kane, from online kitchen and homeware specialist Silver Mushroom, to give us some top tips on how to perfectly capture the festive mood with a table fit for a feast.
Like with anything Christmas-related, leaving things until the last minute will only create stress and disappointment. So it’s a good idea to take the panic out of the table-setting situation by sitting down a few weeks before the big day and giving some thought to what you will need. The main thing, of course, will be the number of people you are catering for.
Rebecca said: “As Christmas is a family time, there will be a mixture of young and old around the table.”
“Work out where you want them to sit, where the serving dishes will be positioned and how many plates, bowls, glasses and items of cutlery you’ll need.
“If there are young mouths to feed, you may need different tableware. And if you’re going to be up and down to the kitchen a few times between courses, make sure you position yourself in the nearest place setting to ensure as little disruption as possible.”
Pick a theme
You could go all-out with a Winter Wonderland look, but for most it will come down to a few complementary colours to make everything look pleasing to the eye.
Rebecca said: “Red, green and silver all work well, but some eye-catching gold accessories and a crisp white table cloth can also give the Christmas table the right feel.
“You might want to swerve the usual shiny festive look and instead go for a more organic vibe.
“Natural cotton linen and some wooden napkin rings will do the trick if that’s your decision.
“A table runner is a must-have too,” added Rebecca. “It’s not something you see throughout the year, so gives any table a really special feel.”
The temptation is to make everything look uniform and ‘Instagram-perfect’, but don’t forget to add some personal touches to make it very much YOUR Christmas table.
“Hand-crafted place names always go down well,” said Rebecca. “If you have kids to occupy between the start of the holidays and Christmas Day, it’s a great way to get them involved and keep them busy.”
Why not go one step further and create your own centrepiece? Candles work well, as do winter foliage and seasonal flowers.
Keep it simple – ditch the clutter
This will obviously depend on the size of your table, and how many people you have sitting down, but it’s key to make sure there’s enough room to manoeuvre. With crockery and cutlery aplenty, plus crackers and napkins, tables can quickly become swamped.
“If you’re serving more than two courses, it’s a good idea to use a side table for the main dinner plates and any additional glasses you might need for toasts so things don’t become too cramped,” said Rebecca.
Give it some sparkle
When you’ve got all the main bases covered, spend some time making sure your table fits the occasion.
“If you can’t make your dinner table sparkle at Christmas, when can you?” said Rebecca. “Tea lights in decorative holders are a nice touch, but make sure you keep them away from the younger diners.
“You could also go for some smaller fairy lights to really make things shine. Battery-powered ones are best as it means there’s no risk of tripping over wires.”