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Setting a Beautiful Table for Christmas Dinner

By Philippa Baker, 18th December, 2014

Christmas is here once more, and if you haven’t already started planning your Christmas dinner – well, what’s keeping you? By now you should know whether you’re serving turkey, goose, or something less traditional; if you’re going to bother with the Brussel sprouts; how many different desserts you need to ensure everyone’s happy; and who’s the lucky soul on washing up duty.

Once the food is sorted, all that’s left to do is to decorate the table. To make things easier, we’ve put together a couple of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to help you prepare for the most important meal of the year…

1) DO… set the table properly

Christmas Dinner Table

Some traditions are worth keeping, at least at Christmas time. The classic table setting exudes instant elegance, although in this day and age you can probably go ahead and lose items like the fish knife or fruit fork.

Symmetry will always make for a beautifully set table, so make sure everyone has at least two knives and forks, as well as a dinner plate, side place, water glass and wine glass.

Investing in a good dining set with matching placemats will lend your table a harmonious and co-ordinated aesthetic that’s guaranteed to impress your guests.

2) DON’T… forget the finishing touches

Dining Table Complete With Finishing Touches

A great Christmas dinner table is a joy to behold - piled high with food and sparkling with glassware. But by adding just a few festive finishing touches, you can elevate your Christmas dinner to Instagram-inspiring heights. Why not try one of the following...

- Decorate napkins with a pine cutting fresh from your Christmas tree. Secure stiff branches in place with a piece of contrasting red ribbon.

- Tie two candy canes together to make a festive (and delicious!) place name holder.

- Decorate your wine glasses by adding some ribbon to the stem. So nobody gets confused, choose sparkly gold bows for the white wine glasses and vibrant red bows for the red wine glasses.

- Layer a festive runner over your usual tablecloth to add extra colour, whilst protecting the table underneath from the inevitable spillages.

Feeling Festive Pinterest Board

Check out our Feeling Festive pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration.

3) DO… use fresh greenery as a centrepiece

Christmas Dining Table With Centrepiece

Centrepieces come in a myriad of different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a fan of fancy silver candlesticks or have a favourite decoration from your childhood, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

Fresh, seasonal greenery is a great alternative that looks good, smells beautiful and feels instantly festive.

Take some cuttings from evergreen trees and display them in a clear glass vase or bowl, or simply wrap pine branches and holly leaves around a few chunky candles. A seasonal flower arrangement using vibrant poinsettias and lush greenery from the garden is another great choice.

4) DON’T… leave the kitchen in a mess

Christmas Kitchen With Stools

It’s often said that a good chef cleans as they work, and there are a few good reasons for this: hygiene (particularly the risk of cross-contamination when working with raw meat and poultry); access (no one wants to watch their gravy go lumpy while they search frantically for the whisk in the mound of dirty pans in the sink); and most importantly, peace of mind.

This last point is key to enjoying your Christmas dinner, even if you’ve been up since 5am prepping the turkey. If you know the kitchen is a mess, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour. What’s more, if your dining area is within eyesight of the kitchen, your guests will be stuck looking at piles of dirty dishes and crusty pots while they try to enjoy the delicious feast you’ve prepared.

It’s always easier to clean things as you go along, so designate a helper (or two!) to help keep the kitchen spick and span while you take care of the food.

5) DO… keep a few extra chairs handy

Festive Dining Set

Things rarely go to plan at Christmas. Between the weather, traffic, excitable kids and the inevitable festive argument, you’d be lucky to finish your meal with the same number of people who sat down to begin with.

Guests may drop out at the last minute or you could end up feeding a few more than expected, so it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality. Keep a few extra dining chairs on standby in case your Aunt brings her latest boyfriend along, or you discover that the old lady next door has no one to spend the day with.

Christmas is about bringing people together, and nothing is more welcoming than being able to offer a chair to everyone at your table. Stackable dining chairs like the Candy are ideal for such occasions, as they can be whipped out at a moment’s notice then stacked away when not in use.

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