Hosting Christmas dinner this year? The table is the hub of any Christmas dinner party and is one of the first places you should focus on as you prep your home for guests. From picking a theme to finer details on the table setting, here are 11 tips for creating the perfect Christmas table.

Choose Your Theme

Outdoor Christmas table with unique place settings and a decorated christmas tree inside. Photo by Instagram user @johnmcclaindesign

Photo via @johnmcclaindesign

The first step to getting your home ready to host a Christmas dinner is to pick a theme. Often, the best choice is one that matches your living space or a theme where you can implement some DIY holiday decor to make your party unique to you. If you have a lot of hardwood, consider using pine, checkered patterns, and rustic decor to create an outdoorsy Christmas feel. If your space features dark color schemes, try using silver ornaments and decor with varying tones and shine for a chic, sparkling silver Christmas. Add splashes of light and dark blues to a pastel-colored room to turn your dining room into a Winter Wonderland. If you’re looking for a more modern theme, single-color designs can be especially striking. And of course, you can’t go wrong using deep reds, greens, and either white or gold to create a more traditional holiday vibe.

Lay Down a Tablecloth

Christmas table with a lot of natural light and garland with a white tablecloth and beautiful place settings. Photo by instagram user @homeonnativetrail

Photo via @homeonnativetrail

Opting for a linen tablecloth or table runner is a great way to give your Christmas dinner table a more formal look. Tablecloths help protect your table and provide a nice base for your dinner table setting. White tablecloths create a clean look and help colorful dishes and decor pop, while bold colors like red or black can be a striking foundation for your table setting. If you’re going to use a colorful tablecloth, try to find dishes and cutlery with matching accents to tie everything together, or find dishes that have a clean contrast without clashing colors.

Design a Unique Centerpiece

Rustic Christmas table with a crystal centerpiece surrounded by garland and candles on a wooden table. Photo by instagram user @courtneyfitzp01

Photo via @courtneyfitzp01

Nothing pulls a Christmas dinner table design together more than a strong centerpiece. These may take a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles depending on the theme of your holiday dinner. While you can certainly buy an elegant Christmas centerpiece to match your theme, DIY Christmas centerpieces add a unique touch to your dinner table. Bind eucalyptus and pine together and lay them across the table to add a natural touch to your dining room. Grab some extra ornaments in your color scheme and pair them with layered candles. Or arrange your favorite seasonal flowers in a vase to add height to your Christmas table setting.

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Personalize Your Place Settings

Add a personal touch to your dining room setup and show your guests how much you appreciate their attendance by creating personalized place settings. Start with finding placemats that fit your Christmas dinner theme. Then, you can create your own handwritten place cards for each guest at their very own spot at the dinner table. Finally, top off each place setting with a small gift. This can be a universal gift you give to each person, or you can tailor your gifts to each guest. Either way, this is the perfect way to make everyone at your Christmas dinner party feel welcome!

Light Some Candles

Candles are a great addition to any holiday dining room as they provide warmth and a touch of style to almost any Christmas dinner party theme. Tall, thin candles look nice in modern designs, while stockier candles go well in more traditional arrangements. You can even use tealight candles to create an elegant centerpiece, especially if you set them between holiday greenery like pine and eucalyptus. White candles fit into almost any design, while candles with darker colors can add a dramatic look to a dinner table setting if used properly. Complete the look by creating DIY candle holders that match your theme and help keep melted wax off of the table.

Break Out Fine China

Dishes are an essential part of any dinner table setting and will be an integral part of your Christmas dinner design. Porcelain dishes and fine china can bring some elegance to your holiday dinner. You take full advantage of your theme by pairing patterned plates and solid-colored crockery to make these dining essentials a strong part of your larger dinner table design. To set a formal dining table, start with the dinner plate in the middle of the place setting and place the salad plate atop. Then, set a bread or dessert plate to the top-left side and a coffee saucer on the top-right.

Arrange Drinking Glasses

White Christmas table with some pine features with clear glasses and shining cutlery. Photo by instagram user @ohmycreativeparty

Photo via @ohmycreativeparty

Properly setting water and wine glasses on your Christmas dinner table can make your dinner party feel more elegant. Start by placing a red wine glass on the top-right side of the place setting, then add a white wine glass or champagne flute just to the left of the red wine glass. Don’t forget to include a water glass in front of the two wine glasses!

Don’t Forget the Cutlery

Gold and maroon christmas table with a wreath accent in the middle of the place setting. Photo by instagram user @sobremesaco

Photo via @sobremesaco

Silver and gold cutlery is always in style and can create a striking pairing with many Christmas table design themes. A good rule of thumb is to pair silver cutlery with cool colors and gold with warm. Black silverware can also be a bold addition to a modern Christmas concept but will look a bit out of place in traditional themes. When setting a Christmas table, you can follow the same rules you would for any formal dinner. Lay a smaller salad fork on the far-left of the place setting, and a dinner fork inside of that and to the left of the plates. The dinner knife goes to the immediate right of the plates followed by a dinner spoon to the right of that, and a soup spoon on the far-right. Finally, be sure to leave a butter knife on the bread plate and lay a dessert fork and spoon horizontally above the dinner plates.

Create a Soft Touch with Napkins

Green christmas table theme with white accents and gold cutlery. Photo by instagram user @tableanddine

Photo via @tableanddine

Linen, cotton, or polyester napkins all add an elegant touch to any dinner. White napkins are a safe bet and can fit well with almost any Christmas table design. Cream napkins will look great in off-white Christmas themes. And napkins of deep colors like dark red or green are sure to be real winners when paired with white plates, so long as they match the rest of your motif. If you’re using a tablecloth, consider using napkins that are the same color and texture as the tablecloth to give your dinner table setting a uniform look while taking advantage of bold or classic napkin rings to further add to the holiday party theme. You can even make DIY napkin rings tailored to the exact look you want!

Customize Your Chairs

A wooden christmas talbe with pine features and chairs surrounding it with slipcovers. Photo by instagram user @savvyinthesuburbs

Photo via @savvyinthesuburbs

Your guests are going to need a place to sit at your perfect Christmas dinner table. Try decorating your normal dining chairs by tying a bow around each one, hanging a wreath from the back, or by covering them with festive dining chair slipcovers! Nice dining chairs rarely go out of style, so you don’t need to go overboard with decorating. You want your chair to fit the theme, but you still need to make sure your guests are comfortable sitting around your Christmas table!

Fill the Entire Room with Decor

Wooden dining room table set up with garland and holiday decorations throughout the entire room. Photo by instagram user @homemaker_mama

Photo via @homemaker_mama

Now that the table is ready, you’ll want to make the rest of the room feel like the perfect environment for your Christmas dinner. If you have space in your dining room, an easy way to do this is to add a Christmas tree. Extra ornaments are great table-top decorations and can be a fun way to fill empty spaces on visible shelves. A wreath or garland provides some natural greenery to balance out the main colors of your design. Or you could swap out your everyday artwork for Christmas or winter wall art to finish turning your dining room into a cozy Christmas wonderland!


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