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How to: Set Your Christmas Table

The presents are opened, the festive tunes are playing, and the Christmas Day specials aren’t far off. Once you’ve all moved away from the tree, the big event on Christmas Day is the food. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought yet, but do you know how to set your table for Christmas dinner?

The perfect Christmas table is the one with your nearest and dearest gathered around it. But when you’re loading it up with delicious festive foods and bottles of your favourite drinks, you want it to look nice. Not a problem. We’ve put together this handy guide on how to dress a Christmas table for December 25th (or whenever you have your celebrations). 

Your Christmas dinner table settings can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. You can choose a colour scheme and decorate with placemats and matching crackers. You might opt for a tablecloth, a festive centrepiece, or scatter bits of holly and mini baubles between guests. 

However you decide to decorate, figuring out how to set a table for Christmas doesn’t have to be a daunting task. So grab a glass of something warm and comforting and keep reading – we’ve got decor ideas and crockery inspo to add a touch of magic to your festivities. 

Choosing the right colour scheme

Consider your dining table an extension of your Christmas decor. It gives you an opportunity to bring your theme together, alongside your tree and wreath. It’s also probably the last thing you’ll decorate for the festive season, so why not make it one to remember? 

The surface you’re dressing will play a big part in your Christmas table decorations. If you’ve got a dark wooden number and you’ve opted for a rustic theme, a table runner will add a touch of colour to your festivities while making the most of what you’ve already got at home. If your table doesn’t fit in with this theme, a tablecloth will easily bring it in line (and makes cleaning up easy). 

After you’ve chosen your base, you can add little touches like fairy lights, pine cones and candy canes around your place settings. These little additions can lean into a variety of looks, including red and white colour schemes, and make lunch feel really festive. 

Create homemade place cards

Make some really festive Christmas table place settings for your guests at home this year. It’s a great activity to do with the kids as they’re really simple to put together, and they add a personal touch to your holiday table. 

You can make them better for the environment by recycling some leftover card (whether that be last year’s Christmas cards or this year’s cereal box). Chop the card up into your desired sizes. They’re generally pretty small – about the same size as a business card – and decorate however you like. Use stamps, twigs that have fallen off your Christmas tree (if it’s real), and festive colours like gold, red and green. Just make sure to leave space for each guest’s name. 

For a pre-lunch snack, try edible place cards – whip up a batch of rectangular shortbread biscuits for the table, and write your guests’ names in icing. Or, if you run out of time to make your own, these White and Gold Mistletoe Placecard Holders are a great ready-made option. 

Pick your dishes and cutlery

One of the easiest ways to avoid Christmas Day stress is by organising your dinner plates and cutlery for the table the evening before. You might prefer to dish your lunch up onto your plates in the kitchen, but take advantage of the table as a storage spot until you need them. 

Your dishes can also act as part of your table decoration before you sit down to eat. Starting from the bottom, stack your plates in size order, with the largest at the bottom. Top your side plates with the bowls you’ll use for dessert. Once these are all on the table, you can add extra touches like linen napkins (don’t forget the napkin rings), tea lights and glasses. 

A handy way to save space on the table is to only lay out wine glasses for guests indulging in a tipple. And, if you’re the type of household to have a set of cutlery just for Christmas, now’s the time to add this to the table. This stainless steel set from Sophie Conran is perfect for special occasions. 

Sort your crackers

We don’t mean the type that goes with cheese (but if you’re in the market, we’ve got plenty of those too). No, we mean the kind filled with everyone’s favourite Christmas Day accessory after the terrible festive jumpers – the paper hat. And, of course, the rubbish jokes. Christmas lunch isn’t complete without them. 

We’ve got a wide selection of Christmas crackers to pull at the table, so finding ones that fit your table theme is easy. These white and gold Sustainable Deer Christmas Crackers are plastic-free and super festive. If your table is filled with Emma Bridgewater crockery, bring home a set of matching crackers. Dog lovers will really appreciate these pup-shaped crackers
If you’re looking for some mid-meal entertainment to keep your guests busy while you plate up the main, these Rainbow Bowling Christmas Crackers each come with a rubber bowling ball and bowling alley. And here’s one for the chocoholics – these Cadbury crackers are filled with chocs. You might want to save this for after lunch, so you don’t spoil your appetite.

Set the kids up on their own table

If you’ve got the space and a few little ones joining you for dinner, why not put them on their own table? You can fill it with fun activities for them, from a tablecloth they can colour on to word searches and their favourite dolls. 

You can serve their food on fun, festive dishes and leave sweet little treats next to their place settings for them. It’ll make it a really memorable Christmas for them

Make your own centrepiece

Bring the table together with a classy centrepiece. Make sure you plan ahead and get something that fits on the table alongside your dishes and decorations so you’re not disappointed on the day. 

Tall, slim centrepieces like candles work well, and add an extra festive glow to dinner. They’re also shaped in a way that won’t block your guests from chatting across the table. If you have more space to play with, homemade wreaths make a lovely addition to the table, as do boxes of baubles, bits of Christmas tree and fairy lights. 


Ready to lay the table for Christmas lunch? Whether you’re cooking for two or 10, you can make your meal look even more amazing with our handy tips on decorating the table. 

Get everything you need for the table in our Christmas tableware aisle.  

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