| 03.21.2018

Tabling Christmas


Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather together–around a table. While it may seem unassuming or even unimportant, the table is actually an incredibly important feature to the holidays. Decorating it to fit the Christmas spirit is simple, fun and a great way to bring the family together.


The first step to creating a beautiful table is picking out the right colors. You can always stick with the traditional Christmas color combinations:  red and green, silver and gold or white and blue.

Colors can also be based on whatever the color theme of your Christmas tree is whether that may be pink and purple, lime green and white or red and brown.

Contemporary colors may also fit well with each other. These are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel such as the traditional red and green.

Do not be afraid to use more than one or two colors. Three colors can work just as well as two but the colors will need to be segmented.

According to professional color expert Maria Killam, there has to be a dominant color which is more than half of the color you see, a secondary color that is only about a third and an accent color that only takes up a tenth of the color theme.

Whatever colors you choose make sure that none are too overpowering in a large amount.


There is more free range when it comes to centerpieces. You still need to follow the color scheme that you have chosen, but the centerpiece can really just tie together all of the elements.

Anything can be made into a centerpiece. People use peppermint candies, tinsel, ornaments and all kinds of evergreen types of plants.

Centerpieces can be as simple or as complex as you choose it to be. You can simply wrap boxes to look like unopened presents and set them on stands or you can find a vase and put in frosted pine boughs, candy canes, mistletoe and all manner of Christmas type things.

If you are ever at a loss just look up Christmas centerpieces on Pinterest. There are many unique ideas out there so you can personalize to your table.

Cloths-tablecloths and napkins

Perhaps the simplest part of creating a decorative table is choosing the cloth aspects.

Pick a tablecloth that is whatever your dominant color is, use the secondary color for the table runner and the napkins or even choose to make your napkins the accent color. Tablecloths, napkins and table runners are not all necessary and do not all have to be the same color.


There is a little less freedom when it comes to setting the table. A lot of the other elements of your table decorations are dependent on what colors and shapes and sizes your dishes are.

It is best to have one of each of the utensils, two plates and two or three glasses. One plate should be a smaller plate for dessert after the meal while the other is larger for the dinner itself.

Water and wine should be served in wine goblets while sparkling cider or champagne should have a flute.


The way the lights play off of all the elements of your table can change the way everything looks. Of course with a larger table it is harder to have adequate lighting or to be able to make a certain atmosphere.

Soft light is more intimate and causes a quieter atmosphere than say an overhead fluorescent light. Candles are a simple way to create a softer environment. It is best to place candles in pairs especially if the table is larger than a two person table.

If your centerpiece permits, one large candle in the middle looks nice with two candles on each end. Make sure your centerpiece is not flammable.

Other lights could include a string or two of Christmas lights along the table runner or spattered throughout the middle of the table as well as battery powered lights placed in jars or vases spaced out over the table.

Do not forget that your whole table could look different with different lighting, which may change the way everything is laid out.


Take these tips and bring the family together for the holidays over one gorgeous table.


Claire Whitley can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu


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