As we gather together for holidays, the table we gather around becomes an important part of the festivities. Here are tips and ideas for decorating your dining room at Christmas.
“Dinner parties ought to be fun,” says Roseanna Robinson, director of Home Entertaining and Dining for The Pfaltzgraff Co. “You have to be relaxed and enjoy it, or no one has a good time. Think of how much we do sitting around the table!”
Planning ahead can make all the difference, says Robinson. She offers these tips for holiday entertaining:
- Tablecloths are important. Use one. For a simple yet elegant touch, tie the corners with wire-reinforced ribbons. See our tips on taking care of table linens.
- If you have a holiday collection—such as Santas, reindeer, or snowmen—you could include one at each place. Or, give each person a Christmas ornament as a little present to take home.
- A simple centerpiece is the best. For the fall, fill a ceramic bowl filled with orange squashes and harvest vegetables. For Christmas, add a basket with small gifts or fill a glass bowl with red ornaments for a stunning display.
- Keep centerpieces low. Or, remove a tall centerpiece before sitting down to eat, setting it on a side table. You don’t want your guests to look at each other through a jungle of greenery.
- Use a lot of candles. Set out assorted candlesticks of all shapes and sizes. Freezing candles for at least 2 hours helps keep the wax from dripping. Try filling a vase or bowl with cranberries and floating votive candles for festive color!
- A fun idea: Set the table with different plates, no two alike. This makes a festive and colorful table and gets people talking. It’s a great icebreaker.
A Few Tips About the Plate and Place Setting
- Plan your menu so it will work easily on one dinner-size plate. Avoid things that will run into everything else. If you’re serving a buffet, don’t include soup. Think through the meal ahead of time and make sure everything will look appealing on one plate.
- Don’t go overboard with desserts. Have a light one and, if you must, one drop-dead dessert. That’s plenty. Don’t make dessert the focus of the meal. See our best Christmas recipes.
- Make sure you have a serving dish and serving utensil for everything on your menu. Make these easily accessible before you start cooking.
- Set the table ahead of time, and figure out what will go where. Use sticky notes, if necessary, to plan positions for serving dishes. See how to set the table properly.
- Use place cards and put them at the center of each place setting. Write in bold letters. If you’re entertaining people who don’t know each other, put the name on the front and on the back of the card, so the person sitting across the table can read the name, too.
- Seat couples together. Although party books will tell you to split them up, in today’s busy world, it can be a treat to sit down to a meal with your spouse next to you.
Always remember that getting together and sitting around the table rates above the food!
See our new post on natural decorating for Christmas. Get inspired by nature!