Festive Holiday Table Setting Ideas

By December 14, 2020Decorating
Holiday table setting with text "Festive Holiday Table Setting Ideas"

Create Eye-Catching Holiday Table Settings

The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, celebrate the season, and create lasting memories. If your family is like mine, a focal point for our holiday time together is the dinner table. What better way to enhance the festive atmosphere than with an elegant table setting?

Dining room table set with Christmas decor.

Table settings add to the ambiance of any event. For the holidays, a spirited table sets the tone for the whole meal or the family gathering. A formally set table adds a beautiful focal point to the event without a great deal of fuss.

Get Started with These Holiday Table Setting Tips…

Decide on a Design Theme

Select a theme that reflects the kind of mood you’re trying to create. Are you pulling out the stops for an elegant holiday dinner with friends? Or is it a casual, fun family affair that you want to be bright and cheery? Let your design personality shine through your theme.

Christmas-themed table setting

Follow the theme with all of the elements on the table, from the napkins to the centerpieces. A few holiday theme examples:

  • Log Cabin Christmas
  • White Christmas
  • Woodland Vibe
  • Retro Holidays
  • Peppermint
  • Golden Holidays
  • Boho Chic Hanukkah

Hanukah-themed table setting

Think Natural

Use the abundance of the season to simplify your setting. Easily incorporate natural elements like rosemary, pinecones, fir branches, holly, and poinsettias into various design elements. For example, use holly or poinsettias in centerpieces, or create sprig wreaths of rosemary to fasten the silverware.

Outdoor dining table set for dinner

Lean on Place Mats

A placemat helps create an interesting table setting. One with a bright color or graphic pattern creates visual interest in minimal arrangements.

Color Choices

Small color variations can pull together a table. Luckily, the holidays offer a few easy seasonally festive color palettes: greens, reds, metallics, and blues. Pair any of these hues with white to create an elegant setting.

Dress up Chair Backs

Add to the elegance of your holiday table setting with wreaths or small arrangements tied to the back of your dining room chairs. Create a piece in line with your holiday theme and secure with a loop of ribbon. 

Look Around the Room

Place festive touches around your table, too. Consider adding faux greenery to your chandelier or other seasonal details to your table lighting. Show off holiday spirits and glasses on your bar cart, or use it for a holiday-themed dessert bar.

Bar cart with Christmas-themed cocktails prepared for serving.

Holiday Table Setting Ideas

Are you stuck on how to stage your holiday table? Check out these takes on the holiday table setting for inspiration.

Gold and Brass

Gold serving ware is experiencing a comeback. What better way to show off your set than at your holiday table? Gold, brass, copper, and other metallic decor create a warm and bright winter table.

With the right editing, these colors are as eye-catching as elegant. Pair with flower arrangements using gold and soft pink flowers, gold-toned flatware, and metal accents. Utilize vintage sets of plates and serving ware to create a sophisticated setting.

Jewel Tones


Vibrant colors reflect the richness of the season. Select sumptuous jewel tones for a tablecloth, centerpieces, and napkins to create a feeling of opulence and warmth. Think sapphire blue, emerald green, and ruby red.

If your holiday plates already have a visually stunning color palette, play off the color scheme. Select chargers or holiday plates with complimentary colors. Use centerpieces with vases of colored glass. Pick flowers with rich violet and red hues.

Dining room decorated for Christmas 

Merry Red

Red is the color of the season, and it’s easy to incorporate into your table setting. Even if you prefer a minimalist style, adding hints of red dresses it up while adding visual interest.

Add miniature roses or other small flowers front and center on the table. Consider using napkins with a fine, red stitchwork pattern. Scatter a dash of red ornaments or cranberries to add a pop of color to a neutral table.

Snowflake Theme

An easy way to dress up a table is to use intricately patterned doilies in metallic shades. Lay them runner-style across a dining room table. Add a sapphire tablecloth underneath the doilies for more contrast. Pair with silver serving ware, frosted glasses, and white plates.

Black & White Christmas

black and white themed Christmas table setting

A black-and-white theme compliments the iconic red and green of Christmas. Dress it up or down depending on how formal you’d like the event to be. Add mini Christmas trees and small ornaments sprinkled across the table to contrast the black-and-white.

Dessert First

Elegant gingerbread house

The holidays usher in the season of cookie bake-offs and gingerbread houses. Why not let the dessert take center stage? Especially if you love creating elegant desserts for your holiday party, let them be the star as the centerpiece of your holiday table. Fill glass vases with gumdrops and peppermints. Tie it all together with whimsical ribbon or garland.

Natural Accents 

Repurpose the greens of the season into your holiday table settings. Use the leftover pine clippings from your Christmas tree for candle holders, wreaths, and centerpieces. Twist fresh rosemary sprigs into elegant napkin rings that create an enticing smell.

Do you have a rustic table? Leave it bare. Accent its character with boughs of balsam or pine. For chargers, try bark-edged servers. Serve family-style with wooden platters and bowls.

gold table setting

Staging your Holiday Table

Remember, setting the holiday table is about enhancing the holiday spirit already in your home. Let these tablescape ideas provide inspiration for a gathering that is merry and bright. And if you’re preparing to sell, use an artfully staged holiday table as a selling tool. It helps buyers envision the gathering they’ll have in your home with their family and friends.

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