Setting the table before gathering for a big family Christmas celebration dinner takes time to prepare and can be almost as important as the meal itself. I love adding small details to a tablescape that is inviting to my guests and creates a theme.
I’ve outlined what I believe are the five elements to creating the perfect Christmas Tablescape this holiday season. Keep in mind that I have collected pieces over the years and these are suggestions for starting to develop your sense of holiday style and creating a inviting space for your holiday guests.
Step One: Create Layers
Let’s start with the foundation of the tablescape and work our way up to the finishing touches. It’s easiest to think about your design in terms of layers, beginning your design with a festive table runner or tablecloth. I chose a tablecloth with a large pattern of pinecones, berries, and white poinsettias. Since I started with a patterned tablecloth, I selected a solid placemat as my next layer. Soft white chainstitching around the edges of the placemat provided a soft detail that I repeated throughout the rest of the design.
To provide a slight break in patterns and color, I selected a clear charger with gold edges that paired nicely with the gold flatware. The dinner plate I selected is a traditional plaid pattern. This pattern is always a good choice to include on your tablescape, with options ranging from plates, placemats, or even cloth napkins.
The final salad plate layer is a great place to show a little character with the main pattern that you want to highlight. The ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas series by Williams Sonoma is by far one of my favorite holiday themes I love using and that I’ve collected over the years.
Step Two: Select Beautiful Linens
Fresh pressed linens, such as a cloth napkins, make guests feel important. It’s a great break from the everyday paper napkin and, yes, I know that this creates more laundry and it takes a little more time to fold the cloth napkins. A good hostess will provide cloth napkins, creating a beautiful and inviting table for guests.
There are many tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube on ways to tie your cloth napkins. Throughout this story I showcase, in the photos, three of my favorite ways to introduce a cloth napkin to your tablescape, such as a rose or a classic knot.
Step Three: Flowers and more Flowers…
Flowers bring joy to every occasion and it brings your home to life. Select floral that will enhance your overall table design. I selected solid florals to help neutralize all of the patterns from the table cloth and place settings. Decorating with blue and white hydrangeas also went with our Chinoiserie style inspired dining room. Selecting complementary colors, such as the white and blue from the hydrangeas, mimics the classic Chinoiserie blue and white pottery and pulls the whole tablescape together.
Step 4: Lighting and Fragrance
Candles are a great way to set the mood at the dinner table. I always use unscented candles at a dinner table. You don’t want the scent from the candles to interfere with the food you are serving and most importantly you don’t want any guests to have an allergic reaction to the smell of the candles. I will vary the candle heights and selected a color that complements the floral arrangements, since they are on the same level.
Pomander Balls make excellent décor and provide a fresh scent that guest are sure to enjoy.
Step 5: Festive Table Details
Every guest likes party favors and the holidays are a great time to include holiday poppers. As guests peak inside they are surprised with silly games, jokes, and trinkets. Holiday poppers make great ice breakers to get the conversation started before the meal or a fun activity for guests while you serving dessert.