Like trimming the tree, setting the table for a meal with friends and family during the festive season is one of our most loved Christmas traditions. Here are our tips for dressing your table to impress your guests this Christmas.
pick your theme
Have a look at where your dining table is located and decided how you want to theme it and whether it needs to tie in with the other Christmas decorations you have on display in your home. This will help you decide what you already have in the way of table top pieces you can use and what you need to buy. Flowers are always lovely on any dinner table, but why not try a beautiful Christmas ornament as a centrepiece for something a little different.
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consider your menu
When planning your Christmas meal, make a note of the serveware you’ll need for each course. By considering this in advance you’ll have time to stock up on any platters, bowls or serving utensils you might need before the big day.
Think about how many people you’re hosting and do a check of your current crockery – do you have enough side plates, dinner plates and bowls for each guest? It’s also important to consider the courses you’re planning to serve and the type of crockery your guests may need. Prawns on the menu? Add extra plates for guests to put the shells on and small bowls of water with lemon wedges. Cooking a turkey with all the trimmings? Make sure the plates are nice and big so they can fit lots of roast potatoes. Plum pudding for dessert? Give your guests a bowl rather than a plate so they can pour on plenty of brandy sauce! It’s these little details that will help make Christmas lunch at your place one to remember.
Consider how you’ll be serving your food to guests: will you be plating up for them, or will they be serving themselves? If they’re serving themselves, think about where everything will sit on the table. If space is tight, lay out all the food on a separate smaller table and ask guests to serve themselves before sitting down. There’s nothing worse than your guests feeling squashed on the table with platters and bowls taking up every last bit of space.
Cutlery can be a bit confusing if you’re setting a traditional table, but as a general rule of thumb work from the outside, in. Place the entree fork, then the mains fork to the left of the dinner plate, then the dinner knife and entree knife to the right of the dinner plate. Dessert cutlery – a small fork and spoon – can sit above the dinner plate, running across the top of the setting. Don’t forget to place a bread and butter knife on top of the side plate, which sits to the left of the place setting.
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what about the drinks?
Drinks are one of the most important parts of any celebration, so plan out your options and consider guests’ needs (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) when deciding what to serve. Once you’ve got that sorted, make sure your glassware is right for the drinks you’re planning to serve – champagne flutes, red and white wine glasses, hi- and low-ball glasses for soft drinks and spirits and so on. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your glassware by utilising leftover jars as glasses for a fun tabletop twist. Decide how many glasses you’ll need at each place setting and dress the table accordingly, placing one of each glass at the top right of the place setting. Don’t forget to add a small a water glass too – it’s important to keep your guests hydrated!
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To get your table looking like the professionals have styled it, use your tableware to create interesting layers at each place setting. Build your plates on top of one another in order of size to form a beautiful little stack, then finish with something special like a bon bon or little wrapped gift on the top. This will not only make your table look amazing but will also give your guests a lovely little surprise when they sit down. Don’t be afraid to play with pattern, colour and textures – consider a beautiful table cloth as a base with fabric placemats, embroidered cotton napkins and bright charger plates. These small details will ensure your table comes together and looks amazing for your guests.
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