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Set the table for Christmas: Get it right with these tips + Ideas for successful table decoration

Surely the planning for Christmas Eve is in full swing and the menu is decided, the guests are invited and the gifts are wrapped. It only remains to plan the table decorations for Christmas, including the choice of colors, dishes, cutlery and tablecloths. Are there any rules there about how to set the table properly? And maybe you still need some inspiration for the overall design? We are, as always, here for you and explain how best to set the table for Christmas!

A few golden rules for the table setting

With simple decoration set the table for Christmas for 4 people

If you follow a few simple rules, the festive table is planned relatively quickly and easily. After all, these rules will tell you how to set the table properly, and thus also limit the large number of possibilities.

Opt for symmetry

Table setting for Christmas - Rectangular table shape with elongated table decoration for the center

To avoid chaos, symmetry is a good guide when you set the table for Christmas. This creates a calm atmosphere that is not only relaxing to the eye, but also ensures that you can fully concentrate on the delicious food and company. In the following graphic you can see how best to decorate the Christmas tables depending on the shape of the table.

Set the table for Christmas - Arrange the table decorations correctly depending on the shape of the table

  • The rectangular table is decorated in the center and lengthwise, or it is decorated with emphasis on both ends, leaving the center of the table free for the food.
  • If the table is round, the center is decorated with a decoration that is also round (for example, the Advent wreath), and the plates are distributed around it. If the dining table is square, the same principle is recommended, but preferably with a main decoration, also square, in the center.
  • The oval dining table visually benefits from a so-called pyramid structure. In the center is the main element, while other decorations run from there lengthwise to the outside, becoming narrower. Or do as in the first variant for the rectangular table: decorations arranged lengthwise narrow and centered. That way, everyone has equal space in front of them.

Do not set festive tables too narrow, so that everyone has space


Also, don’t place too many guests at one table. As a rule, everyone should have about 70 to 80 cm of space for themselves to sit and eat comfortably. So before you squeeze 10 people at a 6-person dining table, better combine it with a second one or set a Christmas table for the kids separately, for example.

The colors for the place setting and table decoration at Christmas

Table setting for Christmas - Combine two colors or a third in a similar shade

Which colors you finally choose is up to you. However, what you should definitely adhere to is that there should be no more than two. In this way, the festive table will have a noble, inviting look instead of looking restless. However, you may vary a bit by including similar shades of one of the two chosen colors (in the example, copper and blue in two shades). If the dining table is located in the living room, where the Christmas tree is also placed, you can certainly choose the same color combination of the tree decorations to create a harmonious interplay. However, it is not obligatory.

Setting the table for Christmas – cutlery and tableware

Table setting for Christmas - Arrange cutlery and dishes in proper order


On this special holiday, of course, you like to make the effort to prepare a multi-course meal. So it also requires different cutlery and crockery: bowls for the soup, large plates for the main course, small plates for the salad and dessert forks, spoons and Co. How do you arrange it all just right? Whether you are setting the table for Christmas or any other such occasion, the arrangement is always in the same order as the courses are served.

Table setting for Christmas - Arrange the cutlery correctly on the plate

This means:

  • On the very outside is the cutlery for the first course (salad fork, for example).
  • If a soup is served first, the spoon is to the right of the plate, on the far outside.
  • Set the dessert cutlery: Dessert fork and/or dessert spoon are above the plate, parallel to the edge of the table.
  • Use the right knives for steak, fish and co. and arrange them in the right order as well.
  • The largest plate for the main course is at the bottom. On top of it, place a small plate for salad, for example, and on top of that again a bowl for soups.
  • Arrange glasses in a triangular group above the knives: a water glass is on the far right to be easily accessible, along with a red wine glass and a white wine glass, and possibly a champagne glass and dessert wine glass and a coffee cup.

Table setting for Christmas - Casual idea for the cutlery tied to the napkin

If you want to keep it casual, you can also simply place three-piece flatware on top of the plate on the napkin or tie it to it. Cutlery bags are also a great idea.

How to set the table for Christmas step by step

Christmas table settings - Oval tables are decorated in the same way as rectangular tables

In this order you should set the table for Christmas: First, lay the tablecloth neatly over the table (if you use one and, if necessary, ironed beforehand). Then on top of that comes a table runner or other smaller decorative tablecloth, if desired, as well as place mats. Then cover the dishes and finish with napkins as well as centerpieces for the table. A few ideas on how to fold napkins for Christmas can be found here.

Idea with small fir tree for the center of the table and wooden discs as coasters

Also, don’t go overboard with the Christmas table decorations or you risk creating a chaotic atmosphere again. You could take for the table center, for example, the Advent wreath or but a large bowl Christmas decorate. You can also distribute one or two Christmas tree balls or a few snowflakes. Also, keep in mind that there should be enough space left for the food at the end.

If you want, also decorate the chairs with matching slipcovers or seat cushions and decorations for the back of the chair.

Set the table festively at Christmas – Beautiful ideas for round and square tables.

Setting the table for Christmas - tips, ideas and rules for a festive decoration

In the following, we have now compiled some stylish and successful table decorations for you. Following you could set your table for Christmas and amaze everyone present:

Modern table design for oval tables with garland and table candles

Rustic wooden table with mint greenery and fir garland for odd 5 people.

Decorate the Christmas table with a long fir garland

Christmas table decorations for 6 people with poinsettia and wooden train set

Table setting for Christmas - Beautiful idea with poinsettias and wooden train set

Christmas table decorations and table setting for 10 people in copper and green

Beautiful color combination of copper and fir green

Simple table setting for 6 people with evergreen branches as decoration

Simple and Christmassy with evergreen branches as Christmas table decorations

Christmas table decoration in the center of a round table

Table setting for Christmas - For round tables decorate only the center

Without round Christmas tablecloth with snowflakes place mat

Round tables with main element in the middle and plates symmetrically around it

Christmas tablecloth can also be replaced with table runners and place mats – idea for 4 people

Symmetry creates a harmonious overall picture on the festive table