Decorating the table is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. Second only to decorating the tree. It’s such a fabulous excuse to get creative and really go to town after all. And even if you are a die-hard minimalist there’s no excuse for ignoring this important part of, what must be, the most important meal of the year. A well decorated table will wow your guests and set the scene. Not to mention create a magical memory for the youngest in the family. My one big tip, would be to start early. The day before if possible, and especially so if you have a dining room that you can just close the door on. That way you won’t be juggling decorating with cooking, entertaining, and enjoying yourself.
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Table Centrepieces – Overhead
Image: Decorations from Lights 4 Fun.
1. Table centrepieces don’t necessarily have to be on the tabletop. Buy a basic wreath, decorate it with masses of green foliage, battery operated fairylights and a few hanging baubles, and suspend it over the table with some velvet ribbon. It looks better if the foliage hangs down a little, and choose a wreath size that will make an impact. The advantage of this kind of table centre is that there is more room on the tabletop for all that festive food.
Image: Hanging Star Decorations from Garden Trading.
2. A variation of the hanging wreath is to hang stars or baubles from a wire wreath. Choose a variety of sizes, and hang them on different length ribbons for greater effect. You can choose the shapes, colours and themes to match the rest of your decorations and that way you can create something totally unique.
Image: Paint Ideas from Annie Sloan.
3. You can even use a branch from which to hang your foliage and baubles. Choose one that is the same length as your table and get creative. Ivy is good for this idea, as the stems are usually long and pliable. If this appeals to you and you would like something that does not necessarily have to hang from the ceiling, have a look at this clamp on table stand from Rockett St George.
Table Centrepieces – Runners and Garlands
Image: Tableware and Decorations from Marquis & Dawe.
4. It’s so easy to create a natural green garland to run down the centre of the table. You don’t even need any wire or cutters, as most branches will stay where you put them. Use two or three different types of foliage for variety, space candles down the table and then add in any decorative objects you choose. Berries will look lovely dotted about. You can even add small bud vases for flowers.
Image: Decorations from Dobbies Garden Centres.
5. Small trays are really handy for decorating the table centre. Add height with glass domes or a taller vase of flowers. The advantage here is that it is really quick and easy to move the decorations once the meal is over and the board games come out.
Image: Chair Decoration from Garden Trading.
6. Chair backs are often overlooked when planning the table decorations but shouldn’t be. It’s even more important in open plan rooms where the table will be in plain sight long before the meal is ready. The simple idea above is to tie together some hessian, twigs, and a decoration to match the rest of the table decor.
Image: Decorations from Dunelm.
7. Chair backs can also be decorated with fabric, ribbons and baubles.
Napkins and Place Settings
Image: Plate Decoration from Garden Trading.
8. One way to make your guests feel extra special is to make a fuss of each place setting. Instead of just folding your napkins, collect a few sprigs from the garden, bunch them together, and tie them up with a bow.
Image: Linen Napkins from The Chalk Pink Linen Company.
9. You can also add a name card to each setting so that guests know where to sit. Making the namecards could be a job for the children to keep them quiet while you are busy, or you can brush up on your own calligraphy skills.
Image: Decorations from Dunelm.
10. Instead of making name cards, why not write each guest’s name on the plate instead. Acrylic paint pens will do the job but even though they are non toxic, best to use this idea on the bread and butter plate only.
Image: Decorative Golden Robin from Oka UK.
11. This is where your own imagination really comes into play. Choose a different tree decoration for every place setting maybe? They can then become gifts for your guests to take home with them.
Image: Fern Leaf With Gold Glitter Tips Hanging Decoration from Rockett St George.
12. Or dip some leaves into some gold glitter for an extra festive touch.
Image: The Ducks Collection from Sophie Allport.
13. A nice idea is to wrap a gift for each member of the family in their napkin. Something simple like a bar of soap, a mini scented candle, a puzzle or a miniature bottle of spirits work best.
Image: Christmas Tableware from Rockett St George.
14. The best idea of all is just to have some fun. Mix up your favourite plates and cutlery. Splash out on something glitzy and fun. And remember that your table decorations do not need to be perfect. It’s the effort that is appreciated most of all.