5 Tips on Setting a Holiday Table- Plan a head to reduce Stress

A Beautifully Set Table Sets the Tone for a Wonderful Meal Together

03 December 2017

5 Tips on Setting a Holiday Table- Plan a head to reduce Stress

Setting your holiday table beautifully sets the tone for the meal.  There is nothing like sitting down to a table that looks interesting even before the food gets there.  It kind of says….hey sit down and we are going to have a wonderful enjoyable dinner.  I came up with 5 Tips on Setting a Holiday Table hoping this would reduce some stress during this busy season.

In our home we have an relatively open layout so the dining room and living room are the same room. This is not so bad because it allows me to set the holiday table way ahead.  I know many people do not have a specific designated dining room table. Particularly, now since true open concepts means the dining table  is part of the great room and the table is used for every meal.  That makes it hard to set the table early for the holidays when it is getting used every day!  But don’t fret the tips can still be used.

If you have a table that gets used every day then I would still go through the tips and set the table up to make sure you have everything you need for the day of.  Make a list of what is needed and maybe you can get someone to help you set it up faster on the day of. Perhaps you have a little elf that might help out.

TIP #1

Focus on the middle of the holiday table first.
Determine the colour and theme/decor style you want.
If your house is decorated in reds then you should keep to that colour way.  I like it when a home has a main colour right through the home.  Pick a dominant colour and use that as inspiration.

There are so many decor options as well.  Right now the nature look is a strong trend. It works so well in a country home but also works wonderfully in an urban home.   My favourite theme this year is keeping it super simple.

Once the colour and theme is determined there are essentially three things you need to build up the middle of the table. 1. candles  ( everyone looks better with candle light!!) 2. greenery   3. small decorations  4. ( not necessary but lovely —fairy lights )

Christmas Holiday Table Decoration - Gold and White Theme

Christmas Holiday Table Decoration – Gold and White Theme

 TIP #2

Reuse what you have for the holiday table.
Don’t feel like  you have to buy everything new.  Get those stored Christmas boxes out and see what you had last year. It is great if you can reuse things and then just change them up a bit.  I often forget what I bought last year so it is better to try to see what can still work but with a little change.
Also, look around and see what you use every day.  It might mean taking the everyday hurricanes and changing the candles to red or gold or whatever works in your theme.

Christmas Holiday Table- Vintage

Christmas Holiday Table-  Theme-Vintage

TIP #3

Add Different Heights
This can be tricky because you never want anything blocking people from seeing each other. Nothing is more frustrating than having a conversation with someone on the other side of the table and you have to lean over to see them.  ( We have all been there)  Ok, I will admit that I sometimes can be guilty of this faux pas.   If this happens then you simply have to remove the obstruction before everyone sits down.

So, when you use something high then don’t make it too thick or not transparent. As a rule of thumb you should try to keep objects below 12 inches. 10 inches is probably better.  To see if it works then sit down at the table and see if you would be able to easily see every adult’s face.

To create different heights candles work well. Use tealights and then bigger pillars mixed in.  Candle sticks are so thin that they don’t normally created a problem.

Christmas Holiday Table- White Theme

Christmas Holiday Table- White Theme. Note the different heights of the pillars and the use of small decorations.


Mix REAL and ARTIFICIAL greenery/flowers
Since I set my holiday table up so early,  I lean towards artificial and some greenery that will dry out nicely. This works because then I don’t have to worry about running out for fresh flowers.  However, flowers from grocery stores can work well.  ( Not to mention how many trips  to the grocery store I make)  Just remember not to put the grocery store flowers in a vase and think they will work for the centre of the table.  They will be too high.  Have a shorter vase and cut the flowers stem right down.  They look prettier when you do that too.
Fresh fruit can add interest and colour as well. Love it when you see tangerines used to give a punch of colour.

Beautiful Holiday Table- Theme Red and White Plaid

Beautiful Holiday Table- Theme Red and White Plaid. Note how the greenery is fresh and articfial.


Determine if you want to use place mats or a tablecloth.
Time to get out what you have and see if it works. Table cloths generally work better at this time of year because it is easy to set another place setting for  surprise guests.  You can run out of room quickly when using place mats.

Tablecloths get sold out near Christmas so shop early if you need a new one.  Also, check if friends have one that might be the right colour/size and they are not using it. I have a green tablecloth that was my colour theme a few years back . I will lend that to my daughter because it will work with her colour theme this year.

You will notice that my tips are not including anything to do with the place setting.  Of course the place setting will have to co-ordinate with your colour and decor theme.  I like chargers because they frame the plate but when you are having a lot of guests that can end up being pricey.  If you don’t use linen napkins there are all kinds of really great paper ones.  Don’t worry about if things don’t match. Have fun with mixing it up but try to keep to your main colour choice.

Christmas Holiday Table -Grey and Green

Christmas Holiday Table -Grey and Green


Hope you have fun setting your table and remember not to stress.  People are there to be with you.  They are not there to judge.

As you know I love Pinterest so I have a board just for my favourite Christmas Table Decorations and Christmas Door Decor.


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Artifical Tree - Crate and Barrel

Get Your Home Ready for Guests during the Holiday Season

The Holiday season is always so busy so I try to do tasks as much ahead as possible so I made out as easy to print pdf  list of what needs to be looked at each for room in the house.
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