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The Perfect Christmas Table

Christmas is that time of year that you can go all out with decorating, which especially pleases those who love the glitz and glamour of the holiday or those who enjoy the age old traditions associated with Christmas and/or their own families. And if you’re given the chance to entertain during the holiday season, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wow others with your decorative skills.

When it comes to Christmas, nothing quite compares to being gathered around the table with family and friends, and if you’re the host, you know that the specialness of the holiday demands that you present a beautiful table to match your exquisitely prepared meal.  Designing the perfect Christmas table doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive proposition.

It just involves choosing the right items that add character to the table, set the mood, and invoke the Christmas spirit. Many items included in the decoration can be purchased at craft shops, discount stores, or even the local dollar store. Putting them all together in an attractive fashion is the name of the game.


Christmas is the right time to pull out the good china or, if you have a set, use your Christmas-themed dinnerware. Themed dinnerware comes in all price ranges but four-piece place settings with simple decoration like holly leaves can often be found at a reasonable price. If you can’t find anything, opt for plain white with perhaps a decorative edge. There are plenty of things you can do to add pizzazz to a white plate. 

To enhance any tableware, consider circling your plates with greens or placing bundled greens directly on the plate. You can also place a colored or printed napkin tied with a bow atop the plate to add a little extra color. Another good way to add a little glitter to your tableware is to place a “charger” under each plate. Chargers are large underplates that are placed below the main plate, and they are usually found in gold or silver but can sometimes be purchased in red and green as well. Choose a color that accentuates the design of your china. The charger can remain through the whole meal, even as you remove one plate and replace it with another for the next course. 

Use the good silver, too, if you have a set. You can simply place it in its proper spot or perhaps wrap the silverware in a cloth napkin and tie it with colorful ribbon.

If you have crystal stemware, use it for a classic Christmas table look. Another option for serving wine or champagne is to use a more contemporary style of stemware which might have a red or green stem and/or rim.


If you’re opting for elegant, choose a solid color tablecloth with matching napkins. If your table is going to sparkle with glitter and lots of candles, go for white. Other popular choices are red, green, and a harvest yellow color. However, blue also works nicely, especially if you’re going for a snow-themed table. You can experiment with the napkins by folding them different shapes, such as a tree, which will add a bit of whimsy to your table.

For tables that look more “homey,” try a delicate print with solid napkins or a solid-colored table cover with printed napkins. Anytime you use a print, you have fewer options as far as choosing coordinating decorations so plan accordingly.

Centerpieces and Other Decorations

There is a wealth of options available for decorating the table. One option is to choose a theme – like snow or bells or trees – and run with it, opting for decorations that match the theme. These can be purchased or made by hand…or a combination of both.

For ultra formal Christmas tables, choose a beautiful bouquet of roses in red or white (depending on the rest of your décor) for your centerpiece. Put them in a lovely crystal or china vase and keep it simple. Add traditional taper candles in tall candlesticks or go for a more modern touch by floating votives in a bowl of water or placing pillar candles of different sizes atop a mirror for some extra sparkle. You can also nab an extra piece of stemware or two and fill them with small Christmas balls.

Less formal tables might include a small wreath as a centerpiece, the opening in the center filled with candles or Christmas balls. You might also hollow out a few shiny red apples and place votive candles inside. Use greens liberally on a more informal table for that old-fashioned country Christmas look.

When decorating with ribbon, use the wired type, which can be shaped and will look more three-dimensional that standard satin or grosgrain ribbon. Choose ribbon with a little sparkle or perhaps something in a pretty Christmas plaid for a more rustic look. Also employ the use of strands of beads, garland, and even glitter or small gold stars (just be sure to keep the glitter away from the food) and consider decorating or making centerpieces with fruits and other foods that come in Christmas colors or are identified with the season, like cranberries or rich-red pomegranates.