Quick, easy and budget-friendly tips for a festive family home
With turkey, christmas pudding, mulled wine, dessert wine, and more wine, all waiting for us on Christmas Day, there is no better time for us to eat, drink and be merry!
This season is the ideal reason to treat your loved ones, and yourselves, to a fully decorated dream-house. From the tree (the ornaments on it, and the presents under it), to the food (from the oven, to the table, to our bellies!), there’s lots for us to be planning! Whether you’re dining in on the big day, or just having friends round for a party before dining out, we’re here to lend a helping hand. Everyone knows food is one of the most important things about Christmas. We just want to make sure your day looks as good as it tastes…
If you tend to do Christmas decorations in a traditional way, then it’s handy to stick to that go-to-theme! Christmas is a time to use natural ferns, with a simple long candle as your centre piece. You can preorder stunning arrangements or have a go at presenting it yourself. Plus, fresh pines are a perfect way to get that festive fragrance, even if you’ve opted against a real tree! Add a personal touch with pinecones, candles, and little red ribbons to really make the piece pop.
Looking for some low-key centrepiece ideas that will still make sure that your decorations are a talking point at the table? For the adult table, utilise what you already have and turn any extra wine glasses upside-down in a a careful arrangement across the middle of the table (look for plastic wine glasses if needed!). Fill the inside of the glasses with some loose vines or a sprig of holly, and secure a tea-light safely in the middle of each upturned wineglass base. You can even fill some glasses with an array of small baubles for an intriguing touch! This is one to keep out of reach during play-time, but for a more family-friendly alternative, keep the wine glasses for drinking and opt for transparent plastic bowls.
Cutlery and Crockery
Save on new cutlery and crockery, and buy extra food instead! Keep to that traditional theme and crack out your finest china. Work with whites, creams, or complimentary colours to layer up plates for different courses (realistically, everyone will want seconds!). If you’re having a separate adults-only table, stick to cloth napkins, with ribbon and vine napkin rings, for a polished festive look.
In kiddo land, printed paper napkins make for a playful (and practical) approach. To add elements of colour to simple crockery, you can even pair each plate layer with a napkin or doily (delicate lace and home-made snowflake shapes both do the job). Time to get creative with the little ones!
More inclined towards an understated, rustic setting? Use wooden chopping boards for serving starters, cheese and garlic bread. Pair mismatched crockery together in a way that doesn’t look like you’re on a dishwashing strike. This stylised design may not be particularly Christmas-y, but it can easily be complimented with a touch of red and green. Feel free to experiment with your own ideas or stick to using a simple holly sprig on each plate. For the glasses, colour-coded bows tied around each wineglass is a great way to avoid losing your mulled wine! And for later in the day, you can’t go wrong with homely mugs filled with hot cocoa.
For the kids table, you can take inspo from Hong Kong’s family restaurants, and use a massive sheet of white paper as your table cloth. Pop some colouring pencils, stencils and crayons on the table, and your activities are taken care of!
Read more: Tips and Tricks for Stress-Free Entertaining
For a simple, yet effective presentation, go with what you know works. It’s really hard to go wrong with red and white. Add in touches of green, accents of silver or gold and you should be good to go! A fun, and budget-friendly way to add a pop of colour is to buy a roll of thick present ribbon. You can then wrap this around the backrest of each chair and tie a big bow behind. If decking the chairs out seems a bit much, simply tie a stylised bow around the layered plates at each setting. There’ll be no doubt that your guests are in for a treat!
Sticking to the rustic setting, plaid tablecloths can really highlight those cosy vibes. Plus, if your tablecloth is printed with shades of red and green, then it’s a friendly backdrop for neutral cutlery and crockery. For the buffet table, you could even ditch the table cloth altogether and weave strings of baubles, or colourful tinsel around the plates. For a kid’s Christmas Party or an outdoor dinner, drape any remaining Christmas lights along the rim of the table.
A Personal Touch
Christmas crackers are your friends. Always buy extra. It’s not just the little ones who want their own little toy on Christmas day! If you have any extra time (wishful thinking?), you could even personalise the crackers. If that seems a bit too overwhelming with all the other things looming on your to-do-list, don’t stress. Simply create your seating arrangement with style. Handwritten name-cards are always a great touch, and it’s extra thoughtful if you manage to find time to add a personal note within it! A simple “Have the best Christmas – you deserve it!” goes a long way!
If you’re not entertaining a big group of people and don’t need name-cards, a little note is still a thoughtful, yet simple, addition to the table. Instead of holly, pair a fresh rosemary sprig with a cinnamon stick to really compliment the rustic theme – and add a bit of extra fragrance to the air. All these little items can easily be tied to a cloth napkin or a Christmas cracker with colourful ribbon, delicate lace or some twine. Running out of time? Leave the plate with a piece of chocolate or a candy-cane, and no one will complain!
Whether you’re looking to keep it simple and rustic, or glam up your interior to resemble a winter wonderland, make sure to enjoy yourself. After all, your home decor will forever be upstaged by the main event: the food! So rest assured that the festive mood will be set the minute your lucky guests walk in – and remember to keep the table (and yourself) merry and bright!
Have the best Christmas – you deserve it, mama!