Holiday Table Settings

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Holiday Table Settings

No matter what’s on the menu, the holiday table deserves a special touch

If you had the choice to host a Christmas dinner or pass it off to a sibling, which would you choose? For many, just the thought of having to set the table can be a pressure, but it doesn’t have to be. The real point of the holiday is to spend time with family and friends. You can simply use what you already own and add things you find for a natural tablescape, or you can splurge on some new elements and create a holiday extravaganza.


Let’s start with a more natural, winter-themed table, full of family and heritage. There is no need to hide the table, just layer up. Start with metallic silver placemats. They are very on-trend, can be used any time, from Christmas day to just a regular Tuesday, and they won’t break the bank. Combine them with some lovely winter-themed paper napkins as we have done here. The paper can be recycled and you don’t want to have a mountain of extra laundry after the guests have gone home. For your dishes, use what you own and add to it.

We’ve used these simple handmade dishes from Dexterity Lab, for Grafus. We wanted simple shapes; trending blue tones with a winter white for these handmade dishes. They are strong and durable and perfect for everyday use. Food looks real and homemade on these dishes—perfect for a family meal. Now use the stemware you have. Hopefully simple, unembellished to keep the attention on the champagne and wines as the stars of the meal. If you have wine, water and champagne glasses, set them together, the table looks full and festive.


Make some statements with simple, inexpensive elements from Mother Nature. For example, combine some pinecones and natural greenery with “fauxtanicals” as we have done here. If you are going to spend money, at least these don’t go to the garbage a few days after the meal. These “ever-blooms,” as they are sometimes called, have improved dramatically and never stop giving beauty. Next, continue to layer the table with evergreen branches, twigs of birch pinecones and you are done. Now you can just enjoy the pleasure of your company.


For some people, Christmas just can’t come soon enough. You know those friends that send notes in August to tell you how many days to Christmas? They just love it in all its glitz and glitter, joy and laughter. If you are a person like that, then why not indulge your passion? Start with a quality tablecloth and napkins to set the luxurious tone of your holiday table. I don’t recommend strong patterns, as the tablecloth should be the background to the meal. Lay a metallic-gold placemat on top of it as an added layer in holiday glam.

Now break out the fine-bone china. This is the time to use it and enjoy it. A bone china may not survive everyday use but most chefs will tell you, white china is the best choice. The colour contrast can’t be beat. Now set the table with some nice cutlery. Here is the chance to pull out the fine silver you inherited, or use something simple and clean-lined.

When it comes to stemware, I’m in love with these receded-glass goblets, with the gold rim. They give a certain shimmer to the liquids they hold. Reserve them for holidays and a new year’s party, to make it special.

With place settings complete, it’s time for fresh flowers, including evergreen stems or holly berry bows. The scent of fresh evergreens cannot be mistaken. Add Christmas balls, candles, ribbon and pinecones, which you can spray-paint to complement the colour of your table. Then shoot, Instagram, and invite your guests to the table. Christmas is served!

Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner


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