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Festive Table Ideas

Festive Table Ideas

A few simple festive decorating ideas to inspire your holiday tables. It's all about making your home and Christmas Day nurturing, inspirational and beautiful. There is already more than enough anxiety in the air without piling on extra festive pressure. I hope that come Christmas Day you can relax and just be with those that matter the most.
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Festive Tables

Beautiful napkins, beautiful flowers, beautiful colour. Don’t be afraid of a mixed up, mismatched table. It’s the ideal solution when your everyday dinner table for 4 suddenly has to expand to fit 12. More than anything else at Christmas time, we just want to create a sense of occasion around the essence of getting together with friends and family to share food prepared with love, a good bottle of wine or two, and some great conversation. You definitely don't need everything to be matching or to have 12 or more napkins or plates or glasses that are the same. Decide on your colour palette and let this be your guideline to thread your ideas together. Remember when a table is set with intention, even the smallest occasion becomes a memorable one. Christmas is no exception. 
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Make Up Your Own Rules
 
When I was growing up my Mum was always entertaining friends for dinner. Setting the table was my favourite 'job' and Mum's table setting rules were absorbed without my even knowing it – things like the wine glass is always at the tip of the knife, how the cutlery lines up from the outside in order of how it will be used, so entree cutlery outermost, and the dessert spoon closest to the centre, and that the knife blade faces ‘i for in’. Even now, when I set the table I can hear myself voicing some of this out loud! Of course, some rules are made to be broken, and with a more casual table the cutlery might not be lined up quite so – and that is all absolutely fine! 
The same goes for your colour palette. There is no rule that says 'it's Christmas, so I must have red and green everywhere.' Choose a colour palette for your festive decorating that makes you happy, and that fits with your style. That might mean a more natural, green and white colour palette, or shades of silver and blue, or vibrant pink and orange. It's up to you!
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Foraged Florals
 
Remember that the simple gesture of some wildly random garden and roadside flowers can be as beautiful, if not more so, than the grandest floral arrangement. My treasured dahlias are beginning to make an appearance in my garden, so naturally they will be the stars of my Christmas table, but they will be combined with grasses and roadside foragings. And any flowers will work beautifully. Agapanthus, hydrangeas, roses, salvias, wildflowers – whatever is in your garden or on the roadside. Here they are arranged in vintage bottles and randomly staggered along the centre of the table. I use 5 or 6 bottles of slightly differing height along an 8-10 seat table. I don’t want too many so that it blocks the conversation from one side of the table to the other, but I want it to look pretty. Just one, or at most two flowers per bottle with a snippet or two of greenery – parsley or fennel or wild carrot or lovely wafty tall grasses - whatever is at hand. Nothing is safe from my snipping scissors! Around the neck of each bottle tie a long torn ribbon of fabric to match your table colours.
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Laying The Table

Also, don’t fret that your table runner or your table cloth isn’t long enough for your table. It doesn’t matter!
Our Christmas tables are often long affairs. Tables that are lined up together so that we can all sit down together for dinner. No-one expects you to have a 12 metre long table cloth. Cobble together something from the linen cupboard. If you have table runners, which can be quickly and easily made from any fabric, use them off centre, or layer one or two in a t-shape, or run them the other way, across the table rather than along it. Or make a disposable tablecloth from a long roll of brown paper . Roll out a long piece as a big, long table runner all the way down your tables. It will disguise the differences and turn them in to one instantly. Paint it or stencil it if you have time. No time - no matter! Maybe you don't need any table covering at all. Add some colour with your tableware, your florals and a mix of napkins that work with your colour palette. Perfectly imperfect is so much better honestly! At the rate I'm going this year I think my table will probably centre around a matching set of 'handy-towel cream' napkins. Needs must - I'll make it work somehow.

Recycle large jars as candle hurricanes. Rock salt will anchor your candles beautifully. 

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