Beautiful Christmas Table Settings That Will Enchant Your Guests
In the days leading up to December 25, 'tis the season for holiday hosting: gift exchanges, tree-trimming parties, cozy dinners, and morning brunches. Your dining table is the spot where your family makes some of their fondest memories. To set the scene, decorate by borrowing our most inspiring ideas over the years. Create your own centerpieces: tapered candles, cloches filled with shiny, bright ball ornaments, and tabletop trees to evoke an enchanted forest. Make floral arrangements of poinsettias, citrus fruits, holly berries, and wintry evergreens. Roll out the tablecloth or runner for a covered surface that brings cohesion to the decorated table (and protects it from the inevitable pomegranate stains).
At each place setting, take care in the details: artfully folded napkins, a place card to note every guest's seat at the table, and your choice of dinnerware all evoke your family's sense of style. Small gestures make all the difference for the holidays: A pomander of cloves will greet your guest with the sweet scent of Christmas. An angel cut and folded from paper plates is easy to make from the supplies already on hand in your kitchen. A tiny paper scroll inscribed with a guest's name evokes a Victorian holiday that Charles Dickens himself may have once enjoyed.
Decking your home for the holidays encompasses trimming the tree, the outdoors, and lights, and the inner halls—so, why treat the dining space any differently? Browse and be inspired by our best decorating ideas. Then, invite friends and family to find their seats at the table, toast each other with glasses of eggnog, and savor the feast.
Everybody wants to meet under the mistletoe. Grant guests' wishes by showing them to their seats. Cut leaves out of crepe paper, and attach them to floral-wire "stems" with green floral tape. Cluster the stems and wrap with the tape to make a branch; then hot-glue on "berries" (in the form of foil-wrapped chocolates). Now friends can hold them high and say to their neighbors, "Gimme some sugar!"
Shop Now: Lia Griffith Double-Sided Crepe Paper, in Green, $4 for 2 sheets, dickblick.com. Paper Mart Floral Stem Wire, 16 gauge, in Light-Green Cloth Wrapped, $1.75 for eight 18" pieces, papermart.com. Studio Carta Tight-Weave Cotton Ribbon, 17 mm, in Snow White, $10 for 5 yd., studiocartashop.com
Citrus Pomander Table Setting
On this tablescape, orange and pink are the new red and green. Low footed bowls of fragrant, minimally embellished pomanders serve as centerpieces, while fresh bay leaves tied in neon-pink cord adorn each place setting. Magenta and brown glasses provide additional hits of unexpected color.
Woodland Wonderland Table Setting
At Martha's home in Bedford, the house is done up like an enchanted woodland hideaway, brimming with bears, deer, and other sylvan regulars. These rustic, woodsy decorations naturally say Christmas. This table is set with wood-plank place mats, branch candleholders, and "snowcapped" birch stumps. The Buri animals and the pots of selaginella, or spike-moss, evoke a dreamy forest floor.
Crimson and Silver Table Setting
Bouquets of bold-red amaryllis tied with stiff silver ribbon and displayed down the center of a table look stunning against the hushed gray, white, and silver setting. The napkin rings and the beading detail on the rims of crimson and silver the Nymphenburg porcelain plates are as simple and charming as a spray of frozen raindrops. To make the napkin rings, string silver mesh beads onto silver string, and tie. Tie on a bow of light-gray ribbon.
Peppermint Table Setting
Peppermint sticks stacked like Yule logs and fastened with twine become a vehicle for a place card and the inspiration for this color scheme. Ribbons in varied red-stripe patterns dress up pillar candles, while crepe-paper bells add a festive jingle to everyone's place.
Metallic Silver Table Setting
As if out of thin air, candleholders appear where balloons used to be. The trick: Blow the balloons up, then brush on a glittery glue mixture. Once it dries, pop and discard the balloons—leaving behind shells you can paint on the inside. They make dazzling centerpieces, especially when clustered with glitter-dusted pillar candles (use a coat of transfer adhesive) and paired with silver dip-dyed linens.
Candy Land Table Setting
Spools of ribbon in candy-land colors down the length of this holiday table. For each guest, a place setting is set with custom holiday partyware, a Christmas cracker replicating the characters from The Nutcracker, and a gift-tag napkin printed in their name. As a free-flowing table runner, this soft pink velvet linen was sprinkled with faux snow for a frosted look.
Glittered Faux Fruit Table Setting
Pears, oranges, and lemons sprinkled with sugar dust look straight out of a fairy tale. A brightly hued citrus centerpiece, piled high with velvet leaves and silver balls, brings sophisticated cheer to Christmas Eve. The faux lemons covered with glitter are for display only, but lemon-drop candies, are arranged in personalized baskets atop each plate as a sweet treat.
Sequined Table Setting
A gleaming grove of triangular trees makes an enchanting centerpiece. Cut from pearlized card stock, the trees are trimmed with loose sequins and small paillettes. Hemstitched linens are an unfussy foil for shimmering place settings. For the napkin rings, wrap two foam balls with strung sequins, and thread 1/4-inch metallic ribbon through them using a tapestry needle; wrap the ribbon around the napkin, then tuck the smaller ball through to hold it in place. Sew sequins by hand along a runner's hemstitching for a confetti effect.
Angel Table Setting
Perfect for a children's table, these demure angels are made with six-inch plain-white paper plates. Each one can be shaped to hold a teeny-tiny place card—in the form of a unfurling scroll—handwritten with a guest's name. They're easy to make: Trace our angel template onto a plate with a fluted edge, and cut out with a utility knife. Embellish the edge of the plate with one or two decorative hole punches.
Giving Tree Table Setting
Is it an ornament? A place setting? A take on the English Christmas cracker? This clip-art tree, filled with candy, is all of the above, so plant several around the holiday table this year. After eating the sweets inside, each guest can take one of the paper trees home and hang it on the real thing.
To make a single tree, download the templates and print onto heavyweight matte paper; cut out. Brush craft glue onto the blank area of the tree template, roll it into a cone shape, and let the glue dry. Craft a tree bottom from mat board, silver embroidery floss, and a wooden spool coated with light blue paint. The topper is made from a one-inch craft punch and silver card stock.
Christmas Tree Napkins Table Setting
More than one tannenbaum can be found in your home for the holidays. Learn a few quick folds to turn linens into little trees. When personalized with star topper place cards—punched out from paper and handwritten with the name of a guest—they're perfect for welcoming guests to the table. Keep the rest of the table sparsely decorated with fragrant evergreen boughs, modern dishes, gilded flatware, and a crisp, linen tablecloth.
Holly-Jolly Table Setting
Dress up the dinner table with napkin holders made from felt holly leaves and a jingle bell.