Christmas Decorating Ideas
The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Your Christmas Table is a travel + lifestyle blog for the modern traveller with a creative soul. Learn more about me.



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How to set table for dinner party

Table Settings for Holiday Party

There are some things that are just out of your control when hosting a holiday party. You can’t hit the mute button on your Auntie Kathy’s questions about your relationship status. Or your Uncle’s bourbon intake. Or the dog deciding he has forgotten about the $2000 house training you spent last spring all of a sudden. But you can control the holiday decor.

One of the best ways to wow your guests is with a beautifully styled holiday table. The food might not turn out, people might be yelling over each other, but there will be wine, and beautiful decor. Praise be.

Event Planner Cheyanne Ackerson of Communiti Collective is dishing (pun intended) out all her tips for decorating your holiday table this season.

Let’s get those Christmas decoration ideas flowing! First up:

Holiday Centrepieces or Garland

Before you set the table for your holiday dinner, you’ll need some holiday foliage like blended garland to act as a centrepiece or table runner. You can order these from your local florist! For this holiday styled shoot, Minter Country Garden used a blend of:

  • Mixed winter greenery including fir, cedars and pine
  • Seeded Eucalyptus
  • Skimmia (the white budded stems)
  • Snowberries (the white berries, symphoricarpos a., from their property)
  • Eryngium (the blue flower)


Holiday Centrepiece Ideas

Pro-tips on how to care for your Indoor Greens courtesy of Minter Country Garden:

“Indoor greens must be kept cool and hydrated to improve their longevity. A lot of folks see photos online and think they’ll look that way for weeks, but they don’t, particularly garlands as they have no water source.

Arrangements/mantle pieces have water to drink so they last longer, but garlands start to dry as soon as they’re inside (and our homes are typically hot and dry this time of year).”

Use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your garland to keep it looking fresh and prolong it’s lifetime!

Time to set the table!

Place Setting for Holiday Party

What you’ll need for each place setting:

  • Napkin
  • Salad Fork
  • Dinner Fork
  • Knife
  • Soup Spoon (optional, depending on what you are serving)
  • Salad Plate
  • Dinner Plate
  • Water Glass
  • Wine Glass (You can use both a white wine glass & red wine glass if you want to get extra fancy/formal)
  • Place Card


  • Tea cup and saucer
  • Teaspoon
  • Bread plate and knife
  • Dessert Spoon or Cake Fork

Here is a visual of a simple yet elegant holiday tablescape!How to Set Table for Party

For accent ideas, it is always nice to add a pop of colour. In this instance, Cheyanne used an orange to contrast the greens and browns of the table.

Other simple DIY ideas to use at each place setting

  • Use some extra winter foliage from your garland, a cinnamon stick and a hand-lettered place card tied around a napkin to add on top of the plate
  • Make (or buy) Christmas cookies to add to the top of the plate. If you want to get really creative, you can customize each cookie with each guests name.
  • Purchase fresh French demi loaves to place on each place setting and tie a sprig of rosemary to each.

Napkin Placement Ideas

Napkin Placement Ideas

  • Tied – place the knot of the napkin on the top left hand corner. This gives the table a more casual feel. 
  • Folded neatly – this can sit either under the dinner plate, to the left side of the plate, or on top of the salad plate. More of a formal feel to the table.

Handlettered Ornaments for place settings

Invest in classic, timeless pieces

If you are purchasing your own collection of items to use for entertaining, it is best to buy classic, timeless, simple pieces that you can use time and time again and then purchase those seasonal unique pieces to incorporate each time in order to create a different look.

Hunt around at thrift stores!

There are so many hidden gems on the shelves of your local thrift stores and antique shops! Get some inspiration on Pinterest and then head out thrift shopping to pick up some unique glassware or decor pieces for your tablescape! Thrift items often tell more of a story and provide a unique arrangement versus traditional decor.

Most of all, have fun with it!

Tablescaping is the act of creatively and intentionally arranging a tabletop so that it conveys a specific theme, mood, or experience. Get creative and enjoy the process! 

Here are a few photos of modern Christmas table decor for some inspiration!

Christmas Centrepiece

How to set a table for holiday party

Contemporary Christmas Decor

Christmas Garland

Candy Cane Accent

DIY Christmas Garland

After your dinner party, reuse the garland and place above your mantel or drape over the banister to enjoy it over the holidays!

Need a Christmas cocktail idea to welcome your guests? Check out this delicious holiday take on a classic: Rosemary Pomegranate French 75 Recipe

Holiday Drink Recipe with Champagne


Thank you to all that made this post possible:





For those asking, the plates and napkins are from Anthropologie

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