For many people, the most highly anticipated event of the entire festive period is the Christmas dinner; gathering everyone around the table for food, fun and family time is what it’s all about. However, we know it can also be stressful, so we’re here to help you set the scene for a magical meal with our handy guide to laying the Christmas table.


People often focus on the living room when decorating, but hosting the Christmas dinner gives you the opportunity to get creative in another area. You could either extend the same festive theme throughout the house or use it as your chance to go for something completely different.

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Tablecloths & Runners

Start your Christmas table arrangement with a tablecloth and a runner.

1. A crisp white tablecloth is timeless and can be used all year round. It also makes a great neutral base on which to experiment with different colour schemes.

2. If you have a really great table that you love, why cover it up? Simply lay a Christmas table runner down the middle for a laid back look (bear in mind this might not be great if guests include children or clumsy red wine drinkers!).

3. A metallic, glittery or embellished tablecloth is perfect for a glamorous look and will make the meal feel more special than an everyday dinner.

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Centrepieces are great for creating height and making a real statement. You can use candles or ornaments which are traditionally used as Christmas table centrepieces or experiment with our Christmas centrepiece ideas:

xmas dining

1. Fill a vase or bowl with baubles, beads, pine cones or string lights for an easy but effective Christmas centrepiece. 

2. Flowers always make a table look prettier. Go for poinsettias, ivy and red roses for a classic look or add a contemporary twist by using colours outside of the traditional Christmas palette. 

3. Fill a glass cloche with ornaments, candles or flowers; you could even create a Christmas scene inside for a fun snow globe effect. 

4. Display a selection of ornaments and candles on a tiered cake stand. 

5. Place decorations on top of a serving tray or position a row of candles down the middle and fill the rest of it with cranberries, pine cones and ivy. 

6. Surround a lantern with fresh greenery and pinecones for a chic rustic effect.


An elegant addition to your Christmas table decorations, a garland can be used alongside or in place of a centrepiece. Perfect for a traditional or rustic look, our Christmas garlands come in a range of styles and have fun additions like berries, artificial snow and lights.

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Tree Decorations

Christmas tree decorations aren’t just for the tree anymore. As mentioned, they’re great for creating centrepieces but could also be dotted around the table or given to each guest as thoughtful Christmas table gifts.


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Crackers are a must-have finishing touch to any Christmas table. With a wide selection to match any table setting, from novelty kids’ crackers to elegant luxury crackers, they’ll ensure your day goes off with a bang. Simply add one cracker to each place setting, either placed on an empty plate, to the side or at the top.

TIP: Pull them at the start of the meal so you can enjoy wearing your festive hats for as long as possible!

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Christmas Table Place Settings

Christmas Dinner Table Checklist

  1. Placemats
  2. Plates - Charger plate (an optional decorative plate on top of which other plates and bowls are placed), dinner plate, salad plate, bread
  3. Bowls - Soup bowl, dessert bowl 
  4. Glassware - Water glass, red wine glass, white wine glass, champagne flute
  5. Cutlery - Forks (Salad fork, dinner fork, cake fork), Knives (Bread knife, fish knife, dinner knife), Spoons (Soup spoon, dessert spoon, serving spoons)
  6. Napkins and napkin rings

How To Lay the Christmas Table

  1. Position a place mat and a charger plate at each seat. 
  2. Place a napkin to the left of or directly on top of the charger plate, either folded or rolled up in a napkin ring. 
  3. Place forks to the left, with the fork for the starter furthest away and the dinner fork lying about an inch away from the plate. 
  4. Place a dinner knife about an inch to the right of the plate, followed by a soup spoon if you’re serving soup to start or a fish knife if you’re serving fish. 
  5. Place the dessert spoon and cake fork horizontally above the place mat, facing in opposite directions. If serving bread, the bread plate sits above and to the left of the place setting with the bread knife laying diagonally across it. 
  6. Place the glasses in a row opposite the bread plate and above the knives, in the top right hand corner of the place setting. 
  7. Bring out the bowls and plates for each course individually and serve them on top of the charger plate. Alternatively, if you’re hosting a help-yourself main course, give everyone an empty dinner plate and place the food in the centre of the table with serving spoons.