Christmas Table Settings

Beth Asaff
Holiday Table

When it's time to decorate your house for Christmas, don't forget about your dinner table. Whether you're hosting a family Christmas dinner or you're throwing a party for friends, a well-decorated table can help set the mood for the entire evening.

Christmas Dinner Settings

The holiday meal is often the highlight of the season for many families. Try one of these place setting ideas to help get you started.

White Christmas

White Christmas dinner setting

If you have a white Christmas theme in your home already, extend it to your dinner table to help complete the mood.

  1. Start with a white tablecloth. It can be plain white or embroidered with a white-on-white scene.
  2. Set a small, white tabletop tree in the center of the table. Decorate it with white or silver ornaments and a string of white lights. Cover the cord for the lights with a white garland stretching across the table.
  3. Cluster groups of white candles around the table. Along with the tree lights, they will be the illumination for the area.
  4. Spray some greenery or bunches of dried twigs with fake snow and silver spray paint and use them to help decorate the table. Arrange some in groups in vases, and drape others on the table, mixing them with the white garland.
  5. Set out plates in white or white with metallic accents at each table setting, and lay a bunch of the painted twigs in each plate, along with a white cloth napkin, rolled and tied with a white ribbon.
  6. Set out crystal glasses at each place setting for the white wine.

Red Christmas

Red Christmas place setting

A red Christmas theme is as iconic as white and it fits in many homes. This easy-to-pull-off place setting takes advantage of the classic Christmas colors of red and green against a background of white.

Any red accents can be used, provided they stay in the same family of red to help give a cohesive look to the entire table. By mixing shapes and textures, it helps keep the red from getting overwhelming, while keeping it prominent in the space.

  1. Lay a plain white tablecloth over your table to start.
  2. Set a small tabletop Christmas tree in the center of the table. Decorate it with white and red lights, alternating the strands as you wrap them to give a candy cane effect to the tree. Add some red garland, red bows, and ornaments to complete the tree.
  3. Make two small arrangements of red roses, pine cones, and some greenery and set them at both ends of the table, just before the two end place settings to balance and add some additional detail to the table.
  4. Light multiple red taper candles and place them in glass candle holders. Slide white and red candle rings around the holders to add some color to the table. Place the candles in groups of twos and threes around the table, concentrating the larger groups at the ends of the table to help keep the center from getting too cluttered.
  5. Set plain white plates at each table setting, stacking smaller plates on top of the larger plates and setting the bowls on top.
  6. Pleat some red napkins, matching the shade of red to the color of the candles if possible, to avoid clashing. Fit a silver napkin ring around the centers of the napkins, separating the pleats on one end and lay the napkins in the bowls at each place setting, allowing the pleats to cascade out over the top of each bowl.
  7. Use thin, elegant martini glasses as wine glasses to mimic the shape of the napkins.

Elegant Christmas Setting

Elegant Christmas setting

Whether you're having an intimate dinner setting for two, or throwing a party for a dozen guests, nothing quite tops the elegant Christmas setting. This very subtle place setting relies on texture and simplicity to set the tone, rather than on knick-knacks.

  1. Lay a textured red tablecloth over the table to start. The tablecloth can be flocked, brocade or embroidered; try to keep it tone-on-tone without introducing any other colors to the scheme.
  2. Set red pillar candles inside hurricane glass lamps and arrange them in the center of the table to help give some light to the setting.
  3. Set each place with gold-edged white china plates. Set a small finger bowl in the center of each plate. Lay a small gift box on top of each bowl, tying each box with a different colored ribbon, staying with Christmas colors like red, silver, gold, and green.
  4. Set out water and wine glasses at each table setting, and place matching gold-edged white china coffee cups and saucers at each place as well.
  5. Fold a simple white napkin next to each plate and arrange the silverware around it.

Whimsical Christmas Setting

Whimsical Christmas dinner setting

Christmas is often a time of excitement, and Christmas decorating can often take on a whimsical or magical feel to help capitalize on that excitement. Extend the feeling to your dinner table by creating a fun, whimsical dinner setting for your guests.

  1. Lay a solid red tablecloth over the table. Run a Christmas-themed table runner down the center of the table on top of the tablecloth. Consider runners that have snowflake, Santa, or snowmen to add texture or whimsy to the table.
  2. Decorate a small tabletop Christmas tree and set it in the middle of the table. Use traditional glass ornaments, as well as several fun ornaments like wrapped packages, snowmen, and reindeer. Elevate the tree slightly by placing a small box on the table and covering it with a red cloth or tree skirt. Stand the tree on top.
  3. Select several red, white, and gold glass ornaments and tie a bow with gold ribbon through the loop at the top of the ornament. Set out large glass bowls around the table and fill them with the ribbon-topped ornaments. Allow one or two ornaments to "spill" out of the bowls to sit next to them.
  4. Place gold-edged white dinner plates at each place setting, with smaller salad plates just off to the side. Set a coffee cup in the middle of each dinner plate and place one of the ribbon-topped ornaments inside the cup.
  5. Drape garlands of both fresh greens and red beads along the table, wrapping the dinner plates at each setting and crisscrossing the table at several places.
  6. Arrange small pieces of fresh greenery near some of the plates, as well as near the center of the table.
  7. Set wine, water, and dessert wine glasses near each place.
  8. Fold white cloth napkins next to each place setting.

Traditional Christmas Setting

Traditional Christmas dinner setting

While traditional, many of the colors and decorating themes from Christmas never go out of style. Consider going over-the-top with traditional décor that will leave your guests remembering this night for years to come.

  1. Place a red tablecloth over the table.
  2. Fill the center of the table with a variety of red, green and gold holiday decorations, including gift boxes, glass bulb ornaments, red candles, reindeer, fresh greens, pine cones, and red and gold coiled ribbon. Allow the decorations to come right up to the individual place settings, but try not to surround them.
  3. Place a large gold charger plate on each setting and set a smaller plate in the center of each one. Look for a snowflake-shaped plate or a plate with snowflake designs.
  4. Place a small gift box in the center of the snowflake plate.
  5. Take a few of the curled ribbons from the center of the table and drape them across the tops of each of the plates.
  6. Fold a red, white, and green plaid napkin to the side of each plate.
  7. Place wine glasses with gold leaf on the rim near each place setting to help finish setting the tone.

Subtle and Intimate Setting

Intimate Christmas dinner setting

If you're having a small dinner for just a few people, keep the table decorations subtle to keep from overwhelming a small table. A few, well-placed touches are all that is needed to help create the right atmosphere.

  1. Set a muted red tablecloth over the table.
  2. Place a few small glass dishes in the center of the table and set an ornament tea light holder or candle in the middle of each plate, clustering them together to act as the centerpiece.
  3. Scatter a few small ornaments over the table in a variety of different shapes.
  4. Place a plain white plate at each setting and lay a white napkin open in the plate.
  5. Set a white bowl on top of the napkins and fill each bowl with ornaments, pinecones or an ornament candle.
  6. Place a wine glass at each table setting, as well as a second glass filled with more of the small ornaments shaped in a variety of different ways. Allow some of the ornaments to come up above the rim of each glass, as well as allow one or two to come out of the glass and rest on the table near the stem.

Enjoy Your Holiday

With a well decorated table at the center of your evening, your Christmas dinner is sure to be a success. Remember to carry the theme of the table through the rest of the room for a cohesive look, and don't forget to enjoy the holiday.

Christmas Table Settings