It’s the most wonderful time of year; trimming the tree,raising a glass of mulled wine, maybe even stealing a kiss under the mistletoe.

You’ll be making a grocery list and checking it twice, surely. But don’t forget to take some time to plan the finer details of dressing your Christmas table!

Here are a few simple ways to prepare your table to impress guests with more than just a perfectly roasted turkey.

Know your audience
Christmas is all about having fun and making memories. Inviting a family with small children to join an opulently set table may not be the most relaxing way to tuck into your masterfully designed dinner. The way you set your table, including where you choose to seat your guests, really does set the tone for your meal.

Does this mean your table setting and decor should entirely cater to your guests? Not at all, but there’s no better way to ensure they enjoy themselves than making them feel at home. Consider a child-friendly setting with thoughtful kid-sized utensils to make them feel special. Safeguard the table by planning a seating arrangement to save you from having Great Aunt Millie chattering in your ear all night.

Tip: Pair guests with mutual interests together to encourage lively conversation. Or just guarantee that your brother is Millie’s mashed potato-mate. You’re in charge of those little details when you plan ahead!

Themes
Holiday decorating is at its most beautiful when it is thoughtful and deliberate; choosing a theme makes a big impact without having to go over the top. When considering a theme, the most important thing is to create something magical.

Finding unusual details to add to your table is a reflection of your personal style and the traditions you hold dear. Start with a simple tablecloth or decorative runner, and add a non-intrusive centerpiece to anchor everything else. Tip: Be mindful of choosing elaborate or cumbersome centerpieces. They shouldn’t be so high that you can’t see the person sitting across from you.

Rustic
A rustic setting couldn’t be simpler. Which, as an aside, is the key to a beautiful table: less is more. Using nature as inspiration, look to the outdoors for pieces that can grace your table. Tuck sprigs of spruce and pinecones under a glass cloche or lay them down the middle of your table runner, and interweave candles in varying heights to set an organic tone.

If you’re fond of a fresh vibe, place the earliest known Christmas tree decorations, apples, on your table. Earthy green artichokes and juniper contrast the red in a traditional Christmas colour palette. Even easier: mason jars with cranberries and rosemary, or burlap napkins with cinnamon sticks and sage leaves make for an effortless and affordable rustic table setting.

Tip: While you couldn’t choose a more traditional and festive plant to add to your Christmas table, holly is something to steer clear of. The berries are poisonous and the leaves are sharp; they’re best left to an outdoor arrangement adding to your Christmas curb appeal!

Modern

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A minimalist monochromatic setting is a stunning way to let the food shine on stark white plates. This is especially dramatic if your Christmas dinner is being served, rather than offered as family or buffet style. Adding in elegant accents in gold or copper juxtaposes the modern whites, and adds flair without creating chaos. If you have a particularly energetic family, a modern table that’s less cluttered could have a naturally calming effect.

Lush, rich hues of reds and purples lend themselves well to achieving a modern aesthetic. They also happen to be the same colour as wine and port, so that’s convenient.

Vintage
Creating the warmth and charm of a vintage Christmas table is easily achieved with a mix of old and new. Add great grandma’s china that you’ve had tucked away to basic white plates. Bring out your silverware, and add fresh floral and lace accents.

Bring warmth to the table with candlesticks, or even better – a candelabra! There is no limit to the eclectic grace that comes with marrying well-loved pieces full of memories with a neutral setting.

May your table be beautiful, your bellies full, and your favourite people be by your side. And for the love of all that is merry and bright, leave that can at the grocery store and spend a few minutes (that’s literally how long it takes) to whip up homemade cranberry sauce for your sophisticated diners.

Now let’s eat, drink and be jolly

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