SETTING THE TABLE FOR THE SEASON | THE PLAZALifestyle
20 November 2023
Daylight savings is here, the days are (mostly!) getting warmer and sunnier and Halloween is in the rear-view mirror. So, if you’re a Christmas geek like me, you’ll be thinking about the big day and what it will look like at your place. Whether you’re all set (ho, ho, ho, see what I did there?!), are looking for fresh ideas or hosting for the first time, I have a few tips, tricks and finds that will have even Santa angling for a spot on your invite list.
MAKE IT SPECIAL
Too often these days, we just don’t sit down for a leisurely meal and enjoy each other’s company. Make the most of it with shared dishes or platters that create that sense of togetherness and community – and allow people to pick and choose what they enjoy. We love making a festive non-alcoholic cocktail or punch for everyone to share – including kids who will love the novelty of Christmas cups or special glasses. Including cranberry or pomegranate juice will make your punch extra merry and even water will look great served from a glass jug with some lemon slices, mint and fresh cranberries bobbing among the ice cubes. Roll cloth napkins into Christmassy napkin rings, fold them into Christmas trees (Christmas Tree Napkin Fold : 10 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables) or grab some themed serviettes for an instant colour boost. Get the teenagers onto their phones (yes!) to create a festive playlist and either assign dishes for people to bring or plan ahead to create a menu that is special, but still gives you the time and space to enjoy your guests rather than being trapped in the kitchen!
MAKE IT LUXE
When it comes to laying the table, I tend to stick with my usual flatware and add festive touches in my colour of the season. Whether you’re inside or out, layering, texture and focusing on one or two key colours (I’m a little obsessed with green this year) will make your table look beautiful without overwhelming the senses. Add focal points like table runners, garlands, or greenery in the centre of your table, remembering to plan space for serving dishing or nestling them on top. Coloured or textured placemats are a nice touch, or you can stack your regular plates with coloured or metallic charger plates to create a real sense of luxury.
MAKE IT LIGHT & BRIGHT
Fairy lights all day (and night) long! I LOVE adding lights to Christmas dining – whether they’re wound through a garland along the table, subtly twinkling inside a Christmas centrepiece or strung overhead. Candles are also a nice touch; choose gentle scents that won’t overpower your guests or battle with the aromas coming from your delicious festive food. You can’t go wrong with vanilla-based scents or seasonal gingerbread, or Christmas pud inspired versions.
Ready to set your table? Check out a few of my favourite finds instore at The Plaza now.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
I like creating place tags – and for me it’s more about the opportunity for another cute little touch than making people sit where they’re put. This year, I’m making little cellophane bags of chocolate bark tied with string with a mini bauble and name tag attached. Start with good quality chocolate and melt gently. I like to grab at least two varieties of chocolate, pouring the first into my paper-lined tin or container before dolloping lighter chocolate around and marbling with a skewer. Rather than mixing the goodies in, I like to get my chocolate just right and then evenly scatter toppings such as Christmas sprinkles, mini gingerbread men, smashed candy canes, mini marshmallows, M&Ms, mini pretzels and crushed nuts. That way, you’ll see all those beautiful additions rather than them being hidden away in the chocolate. Nametags – including this chocolate bark idea – are a great way to get smaller kids involved in setting the table. They’ll love writing the tags (cute keepsake anyone?) and the control of deciding where everyone will sit!
Whatever your style – or menu – remember that the true magic of the season is in the people sitting around your festive table. So, create a table layout that allows for easy conversation and shared moments, setting an inviting space where memories are made. And don’t forget to take photos!