Set the Perfect Holiday Table

Frame your holiday meal with a table befitting the festive season

Credit: iStock / Liliboas

Bring the beauty of the season to your holiday table

You’ve taken the time to create a delicious holiday meal. Here’s how to make sure your table frames it perfectly

Whether you’re hosting a formal dinner or a casual buffet, when it comes to festive feasts it’s time to dress to impress—and that goes for your dinner table too.

7 Tips to Set a Stunning Holiday Table

1. Colour it festive. Start with a theme or colour scheme to tie your table decor together. You can pull colours or patterns from linens, tableware, your favourite holiday ornaments, or even wrapping paper. Try pairing a bright colour with metallic accents for a nontraditional look, or opt for a sophisticated all-white setting.

2. Spruce up your place settings. If you have holiday dishes, setting the table is a breeze, but even plain dinnerware can be dressed up for the season. Coordinate a simple setting with a coloured placemat and a patterned napkin. Then complete the look with a small favour in the middle of the top dish. Try using ornaments, pinecones or wrapped baked goods that match your colour scheme.

3. Choose the right size for your centrepiece. Your centrepiece should fit your table, so if you have a small space to work with choose something compact like a hurricane vase filled with ornaments or colourful fruit. For longer tables, use several repeating items, like votive candles in glass jars, so that the whole table can enjoy the view. Get creative, but remember, if you can’t see your guests through the tabletop foliage, you’ve gone too far.

4. Work with what you have. Don’t have any holiday tableware lying around? Not to worry. Give everyday items a festive update by tying ribbons around the stems of wineglasses, or if you have a chandelier above your table, try hanging a few of your favourite ornaments or cards from it for floor-to-ceiling holiday style.

5. Create a winter wonderland. Bring the natural beauty of the season to your table with clusters of pinecones, holly, or willow branches along the centre of your display. Laying out strands of ivy is another easy and effective way to intertwine all the aspects of your festive feast.

6. Try a beautiful buffet. You can incorporate all the same style ideas into a casual buffet or potluck dinner with the added benefit of not having to fuss over place settings. Arranging dishes at different heights looks fantastic and allows for easy access. If you’re concerned about picky eaters or allergies add simple labels, or even make recipe cards so your friends can recreate their favourites at home.

7. DIY the drinks. Take bartending off your hosting to-do list and let your potluck guests experiment with mixology at a self-serve cocktail bar. Set up a selection of fancy glasses, liquor, juice, champagne and ice on a side table and let the fun begin! Inspire budding bartenders by displaying your favourite festive drink recipes and who knows, they might even make one for you too.