Christmas is all about family, friends, food and making great memories, but the stress of organising Christmas lunch can get in the way of all the good stuff. One of the best ways to avoid that stress is by planning in advance, making sure you have all the ingredients you need and laying out all your table essentials the night before.
Starting with name tags will give you a good indication of how many guests to expect and therefore how many plates, glasses etc. you will need. If Christmas is sometimes a drama-filled event in your family, name tags are extremely helpful because they give you control over who sits where, and can help keep feuding in-laws apart!
How to set a formal table
Plates: The large dinner plate sits in the middle, with the side or bread plate in the top left hand corner. The butter knife sits on the bread plate with the handle turned to the right for ease of use (a nice – if non-traditional – touch might be to turn the knife the other way round for any guests that you know are left-handed).
Utensils: Your two forks go on the left-hand side, with the smaller one on the outside and the larger one next to the plate. The two knives sit on the right-hand side of the plate (blades facing inwards); the smaller knife on the outside and the larger one next to the plate. The rule is that you work from the outside in, so the cutlery for the starters is on the outside. Place the spoon on the outside of the knives.
Dessert utensils will sit at the top, above the plate. The dessert fork’s handle must be on the left, with the dessert spoon facing the other way.
Glasses: The basic setting for glasses requires that you put the glass for water just above the knives, then the white wine glass and lastly the red wine glass (if you’re having alcohol).
The sky’s the limit when it comes to table décor, so be creative and express yourself! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures and colours – for example, natural elements like fruit, pine cones and flowers can create a lovely effect. Leaves and stems from your garden are also a great option – and they’re free! For added ambience and a traditional feel,add some festive candles. Use a runner or strip of coloured material to make your decorations flow.
Napkins and napkin rings
These are the cherry on the cake! Napkins and napkin rings can really help to tie your entire ‘tablescape’ together, or use Christmas-themed paper serviettes. eEither way, they will add that extra pizzazz to your final Christmas table. There are various ways to display your napkins, so consider this when finalising the overall look you want to achieve.
Now all you need is to gather your loved ones around the table to make it all the more perfect. Happy holidays!