The Best Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Ideas on how to make an elegant Christmas table setting that is perfect for holiday brunch and Christmas dinner parties.

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This post is all about how to make an elegant table setting for Christmas.

At a Christmas brunch or dinner party, every detail is a part of the holiday magic we strive to create for family and friends. As we gather with loved ones to celebrate a joyful season, one element that takes center stage is the artful arrangement of the dining table.

The importance of a beautifully set Christmas table cannot be understated, for it sets the tone for the meal by enhancing the ambiance and adding a touch of elegance to a festive feast. This post will explore various ways to create a perfect Christmas brunch or holiday dinner party table setting.

From the tablecloth to the centerpieces, this post will provide you with some inspiration and ideas that you can use to create a Christmas table setting that leaves a lasting impression and makes your holiday celebration truly magical this year.

1—Set the foundation with a tablecloth and linens.

The tablecloth or table runner is perhaps the first thing that many people notice when they see the dining table at a brunch or dinner party for the first time. When it comes to Christmas table decorating, a great tablecloth or table runner is the foundation of a perfect Christmas table setting.

Think of the tablecloth the canvas upon which a holiday masterpiece unfolds. Choose a tablecloth that embodies the festive spirit for your Christmas celebration. Red and green are classic Christmas colors, but you can choose any color that matches your Christmas decorations around the home.

Popular Christmas patterns and prints include jacquard, plaids, and tartan. Neutral Christmas colors create a calming, wintry feel, and you can create drama and interest by adding a pop of color here and there.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a color or design, then a classic white tablecloth makes an easy decorating choice that you can use again to decorate the table for other holidays and special occasions.

For a more minimalist approach, consider using a table runner. These can be just as festive as a tablecloth, and they fit well with minimalist Christmas decor.

2—Build on the table linens.

Once the tablecloth or table runner is selected, choose other table linens that match or complement the main table linen that forms the centerpiece of the dining table. That means adding other table linens, such as placemats and cloth napkins, that help to round out the look of your table.

Choosing a unique or fun color or pattern for table linens is an easy way to change up the look and feel of your Christmas dining table decor from year to year.

In this example, bright red cloth napkins contrast nicely with a classic white tablecloth. Use festive napkin rings to accent and bring together the look—like this red and green plaid ribbon that holds the napkin in place.

The ribbon has hints of gold that perfectly complement the gold flatware of the place setting. Subtle hints of sparkle and shine make a holiday table feel special.

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3—Use distinctive dinnerware and flatware for the Christmas place settings.

The place settings at this table feature gold flatware, a fabulous color to use for Christmas brunch or dinner. The dinnerware is classic white, with scallop and ridge details.

These small touches add plenty of depth and interest to a classic Christmas place setting. Small details add character and warmth to a classic place setting, making it one that your guests will enjoy.

How you arrange each place setting can depend on things like whether you plan to serve a casual or formal meal, what you plan to serve, and how many courses the meal will consist of. Add small, considerate touches that are both convenient and thoughtful for guests.

A casual Christmas place setting will often include a dinner plate at the center of the place setting, and a salad plate to the left and slightly above the dinner plate.

A dinner knife and spoon are usually placed to the right of the dinner plate, while a salad fork and dinner fork are located to the left of the dinner plate. The knife blade should face the plate.

To the right, and just above, the dinner plate is where the water glass and wine glass are placed. Rather than being placed to the side, the napkin is rolled up and placed at the center of the plate.

A more formal place setting might also include a bread plate, to the right and above the salad plate; glasses for red wine and white wine, and a champagne flute; and more utensils, such as a soup spoon, seafood fork, dessert fork, and dessert spoon.

Place cards let guests know where to sit, in cases where you’ve designed a seating chart for the occasion. Some hosts like to place a small gift at each place setting for guests to take home after the meal.

4—Accent the Christmas table with a centerpiece and your own personal touch.

Adding a beautiful Christmas centerpiece is one of the best ways to make a holiday table look and feel special. Use a winter floral arrangement, and other creative pieces to decorate along the center of the table.

One thing you may note about this Christmas table setting is that the centerpiece and table decorations are both classic and whimsical. The gold model bicycle adds a fun touch, and it also ties into the gold theme that weaves through the table linens and flatware.

Other unique and Christmas-y details to add include mini Christmas trees and a round wood stand to add height. The pieces used to decorate this Christmas dining table are simple, yet effective—a Christmas table centerpiece made with roses, ornaments, and greenery, a whimsical model bicycle, mini trees, and red candles with white candlesticks.

Ideas for decorating a Christmas tablescape include draping a bough along the length of the dining table; decorating the table with Christmas ornaments or baubles; or placing a small floral arrangement or bundle of fresh herbs at each place setting.

If your Christmas decorations feature a rustic or woodland theme this year, you can nestle naturalistic elements, like antlers or pine cones, among the Christmas dining table decorations.

Similar to place settings, adding small details to the broader table decorations can create a feeling of warmth and whimsy that many guests will enjoy.

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5— Don’t forget the buffet table.

Setting up a Christmas buffet is one of the most popular ways to serve a holiday meal. Decorate the buffet table in a way that complements your Christmas dining table decorations.

If you have a buffet table, fill it with platters and bowls containing main course, side dishes, salads, breads, and other things that make it easy to serve themselves before finding their place at the table.

Nestle ornaments, baubles, small winter faux flower arrangements, and other holiday decor between the dishes. Flameless candles on candle pillars are a great way to add height and interest to the table.

If you don’t have a buffet table, then arrange each dish artfully on the dining table, among your main Christmas table decor. Leave enough room for guests to sit and dine comfortably, and also be able to pass food dishes around the table easily.

A bar cart or drink station can be set up for serving water, juice, and beverages, and Christmas cocktails and mocktails, like classic mimosas or poinsettia cocktails. During the rest of the year, a rolling cart can be used for storage or to make a great coffee bar.

Having the right bar tools all in one place makes it easy to prepare drinks for everyone. Match the bar tools to your flatware to create a consistent experience throughout your Christmas decorating theme. If your flatware is gold, then consider using a gold bar ware tools set, for example. These tools can be handy for mixing up cocktails and mocktails for special occasions.

6—Add finishing touches.

The basics of a beautiful and elegant Christmas table setting include starting with a tablecloth or table runner, and creating a look using table linens like place mats and cloth napkins. Mix and match your favorite dinnerware and flatware to create unique place settings for your guests.

Don’t forget to include a Christmas table centerpiece and other seasonal accents to decorate the holiday dining table. Artificial pine and berry stems are a great way to decorate a table for Christmas. Flameless candles are perfect for adding height to centerpieces and table decor.

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A well appointed dinner table can be the highlight of a Christmas celebration. The dining table is where many of us spend of lot of time during the holidays, so it’s important to make the table look festive and appealing during this time of year.

Being intentional about your holiday table decorating theme is a great way to create a memorable holiday meal that guests will remember and talk about for years.

This post was all about Christmas table setting ideas.

  • Featured photos by Libby Penner / Unsplash
  • Photos and images are for illustration purposes only.

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