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Hosting a stress-free Christmas dinner: 10 tips for setting up festive dining tables

Hosting a stress-free Christmas dinner: 10 tips for setting up festive dining tables

Tip 1: Prepare early

Unless you're reading this post late on Christmas Eve, you still have time to get everything together for a fantastic Christmas dining table setting.

As you read through these ten tips, note down anything you will need and add it to the Christmas shopping list. Don't forget to stock up on string, sticky tape, card/paper and stationery. A decent pair of scissors is another essential Christmas item.

Decide upon and communicate your colour scheme early, too. This will make it so much easier to tie everything together on the big day.

Tip 2: Sort out the logistics

A lot of the stress around Christmas dinner comes from trying to find things amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy household. It is amazing how a little bit of planning and task delegation can make everything run smoothly on the day.

As you run through the rest of these tips, decide where the items you need will be stored and allocate specific tasks to different people. As they say, many hands make light work.

Decide when you will wash up all your dinnerware, cutlery and glassware. Make sure there are several spare chairs on hand just in case of unexpected guests. You may need to squeeze people around the dining table, but at least you won't have to ransack the house looking for extra seating.

Tip 3: Add a bit of sparkle (but avoid glitter!)

There's nothing quite like a touch of gold or silver to add festive cheer to a dining table setting. As you're going through the tips below, think about how you can add a bit of bling. We would recommend steering clear of the glitter pot though - unless you enjoy sparkly gravy on your turkey (avoid cheap tinsel too, for the same reason).

Tip 4: Create your centrepiece

Creating a centrepiece for your dining table is the perfect task to allocate to children. Give them some basic instructions - and your colour scheme - and let them be creative. A decorative jar or bowl can form the ideal container for your centrepiece, making it simple for you to move it on to the table.

While there are no hard and fast rules about what should be included in a centrepiece, a combination of decorations, Christmas lights and natural materials (pine cones, twigs, etc.) often works well.

Tip 5: Level up your Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers are a great way to add visual appeal to Christmas dining tables while helping guests to relax and get into the festive spirit.

We recommend investing in good quality crackers without the plastic gifts though. They look nicer on the table and are kinder to the planet. You might even find that the jokes are better (but we can't guarantee that!)

Tip 6: Take the stress out of your table lighting

Children, flammable materials and naked candles do not make for a restful Christmas dining experience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can bring candles safely to the dining table.

Artificial candle arches contain no flames at all, while there are plenty of attractive tealight holders with very safe design elements (e.g., enclosed lanterns, non-flammable bases, etc.)

Tip 7: Simplify your dinnerware

You can make your dining table setting effortlessly classy, whatever your budget, by opting for plain white dinnerware, silver cutlery and clear glassware. They are guaranteed to go with any colour scheme, but you can always choose a set with some subtle trim if you prefer.

Make sure you have plates and bowls of different sizes; plenty of cutlery and a selection of tumblers, flutes and wine glasses.

Tip 8: Use a dark tablecloth

The best way to put you and your guests on edge is to lay out a crisp white tablecloth. Unless you want to cringe every time someone lifts the gravy boat or pours a glass of mulled wine, protect your dining table with the darkest tablecloth you can find. It will hide a multitude of sins.

Tip 9: Add some simple finishing touches

The best looking Christmas dining table settings are often deceptively simple to achieve. Here are a few easy touches you can deploy for extra wow factor:

  • Layer table runners on top of your tablecloth to add richness and texture
  • Pick out spare baubles and decorations that match your colour scheme and place them randomly around the table
  • Create custom place settings using large baubles or decorated card. This is another great task to delegate to the children.
  • Fix simple decorations to the back of each chair (tinsel, garlands, paper chains, etc.)

Tip 10: Is it time for a dining table upgrade?

If you are concerned your dining table might not cope with the demands of your next Christmas dinner, consider upgrading to one of our robust, eco-friendly, handmade dining tables.

We offer a range of sizes and styles including extendable tables to cover you for those unexpected arrivals. Visit our dedicated Dining Tables page for inspiration.

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