Christmas is a time for decking the halls and going OTT on your table decorations – we’ve got five fun Christmas table settings for you to try this year.
Christmas is the time of year you can go all out: special recipes, good bottles of wine and table decorations that really set the scene for your festive celebrations. We have five Christmas table centrepiece ideas that range from “I just threw this together” to “takes a little bit of time but well worth it”. Start by choosing a theme for your table then decide how big you want to go. Individual place settings? Name cards? Table-long garlands? It’s up to you.
1. Christmas classic: festive bauble decorations
One of the easiest table settings is made using Christmas decorations you already have on hand: baubles. Start by choosing your colour scheme – you can go traditional red tones or more pastel colours to suit your tableware. Then head out to the garden for some foliage. Place a Christmas tablecloth on the table (for this idea we suggest a plain white tablecloth). Lay a bed of foliage along the table, then arrange the baubles on top of that.
Remember, more is more here – you want an abundance of baubles.
2. Let your food do the decorating: Grazing boards
A thoroughly modern Christmas table setting turns starters into the decorations. If you’re going OTT, try this: Measure the length of your table and get a narrow board just shorter than the table from a hardware store. Put a tablecloth on the table (again, go for plain white), place your board down and, just before your guests arrive, start to arrange the platter. Think gourmet cheeses, a selection of meats from the deli, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, and olives, pickles and dips.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of getting a plank of wood, achieve a similar effect by placing a piece of brown kraft paper along the length of the table. Any dry ingredients like bread and crackers can go directly on the paper. All other ingredients should be arranged on cake stands and platters. Tie it all together with some foliage poked in around the plates.
3. Celebrate Australia with native flora
Dial up the Australiana, but in a tasteful way, and create a gum leaf garland to run down the centre of the table. This one is pretty simple. Start with a plain tablecloth or, if you have a rustic table, no tablecloth at all to really let the gum leaves shine. Lay down a generous amount of gum leaves (make sure you give them a wash or a wipe to remove any dirt or native fauna), all organised to face the same direction, along the centre of the table. If you have flowering gum blossoms near you, add some of those too. Then set the table, nudging the glassware in among the leaves.
4. Herbal centrepiece: make use of fresh herbs from the garden
This last-minute idea is simple and quick, and perfect if you have fresh herbs growing in your garden. Tie festive ribbon around your napery then cut some herbs from your garden (or buy them from Coles) to tuck under the ribbon. We like woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme for this project. Better still, create a bouquet garni with rosemary, thyme, oregano and even a bay leaf. To make it even more festive, tuck a candy cane under each ribbon, then pop a decoration on each plate.
5. Baked decorations: mini gingerbread houses
OK, we know this one requires a little baking but just picture how good a table lined with a miniature gingerbread house village will look. This recipe makes 20 miniature houses so you can line them up along the table, as well as place one on every guest's plate (you could even sit them on the sides of their empty glasses). Make them the day before and store in an airtight container.
Start by choosing a theme and then making sure all the elements on the table tie into the theme – that might be a colour scheme or a concept like Australian natives. Then make sure your basic elements like tablecloth, dinnerware and serving utensils all work in with the theme – sometimes, plain dinnerware will work better while other times more festive notes will be the way to go. Finally, add some personal touches by way of lights or special Christmas decorations that work with your theme.