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6 Items You Need For An Unforgettable Holiday Table Setting

6 Items You Need For An Unforgettable Holiday Table Setting

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us!

This is a special time of year where family and friends come together to connect over delicious home-cooked meals. Over the years, I’ve hosted many holiday dinners in my home, so I have some experience cooking meals, decorating the house, and setting a festive table for my guests.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about setting a holiday table is that it doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. In fact, you may already have items on-hand to create a festive and memorable meal experience.

There are six main items needed to create a beautiful (but affordable) holiday table setting:
table coverings, napkins, dinnerware, silverware, decorations and the centerpiece.

1. Table Coverings

A good table covering is the foundation of a holiday tablescape. It also protects your table from getting dirty or scratched. Here are a few affordable options you can use as a tablecloth if you don’t already own one.

Shower curtains: I know this may sound strange, but shower curtains can make great tablecloths! A neutral color, like white or gray, is a safe option for matching the rest of your table setting, however, patterns or festive colors can work as well. If your table is bigger than the shower curtain, you can angle it on the table which creates a cute tablecloth design!

Table runners: Table runners are also a great solution for the base of your table setting. You can use one runner to place along the center of the table or use two to make a cross design.

Curtains: Yes, another out-of-the-box solution for a table covering is curtains! A solid, neutral color, like white, is a safe option since it will match any additional table settings colors you add.

2. Dinnerware

Neutral dinnerware: There is no need to use or purchase fancy holiday dishes for your table setting design to make it special. Neutral colors work with any napkin, decor and centerpiece you choose for your setting. In fact, you can use neutral dinnerware that you already have on hand or even thrift for a pre-owned set!

3. Napkins

With a delicious meal comes the need for napkins. The right napkins can elevate a holiday table setting, but they don’t need be pricey to be beautifully displayed.

Cloth napkins: Many solid color cloth napkins are inexpensive and can be staged elegantly on top of plates with a little creativity. Cloth napkins can be washed and used for future holiday gatherings.

Shower curtain hooks or twine napkin holders: Traditional napkin holders can be expensive, so I recommend an unorthodox approach with curtain hooks or tied twine.

Greenery and cinnamon sticks: If you’re looking to level up your napkin game, add some greenery (look outside for clippings) like pine needles with red berries, or cinnamon sticks tucked into the napkin holders.

Name cards: Make your guests feel extra special by adding a personalized name tag using kraft or cardstock paper (either cut by hand or use pre-made tags). You can display the name tags by punching a hole in each one, then tying to a napkin holder.

4. Silverware

Silverware is an obvious necessity for a holiday meal and simplicity always works best.

Use what you already own: Often, when we think about hosting a special holiday dinner, we think we need to purchase or pull out our fancy silverware. Instead, I say use your everyday silverware that you already own! Give your silverware a good cleaning and/or polish them up before placing on the table.

Fork, spoon, and knife suffice: Unless you plan on serving multiple courses, one fork, spoon and butter knife is all you need. This also means fewer utensils to wash afterwards, which is a bonus!

5. Décor

Festive table decorations add an extra “oomph” to your holiday table setting. It certainly doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive to do so.

Fresh fruit: Fresh fruit scattered along the table or in a bowl is a beautiful way to decorate the setting. I personally like to use green and/or red pears, pomegranates and red apples.

Pinecones: If your neighborhood or local park is anything like mine, there are many pine cones laying on the ground (my son loves to collect them during our walks). These pinecones can be used as table decor by displaying them as-is or covered in festive glitter (spread glue thinly over each pinecone, then sprinkle glitter on carefully, let dry).

Holiday ornaments: Holiday tree ornaments can make the perfect décor item for table decorations. And most of us have one too many ornaments in storage. I recommend shatterproof ornaments to avoid any possible breakage.

Yard clippings and branches: Like pinecones, yard clippings and tree branches provide a lovely addition to your table design. You can use these natural items as-is or spray-painted in the color scheme of your table setting.

Flameless tea candles: In my opinion, flameless candles are the best invention! Not only are they affordable, but there isn’t any worry of a flame blowing out or getting out of control when you’re busy with your guests. These tea candles can be put into plain jelly or mason jars, either alone or filled with fresh or faux cranberries.

6. Centerpiece

The pièce de résistance is a coveted table centerpiece! Again, this doesn’t need to be a pricey item to make a big impact on your table design.

DIY or low-cost holiday wreath: Laying an inexpensive or DIY holiday wreath flat in the center of the table makes a great centerpiece option. You can place items inside the empty space of the wreath such as a clear glass vase with flowers or branches, a tall candleholder with a flameless candle on top, or a bowl of fresh fruit.

Clear glass vase: A clear glass vase with or without a wreath as a base also works well as a pretty centerpiece. This vase can be filled with flowers or branches, a bowl full of fresh fruit, ornaments or pinecones.

Christmas Dinner Table Overhead
Holiday Table Settings
Holiday Plate
Gold Holiday Dinner Table
Holiday Centerpiece with Natural Elements
Holiday Dinner Table with teal accents

Who’s ready to eat a yummy holiday dinner now? 

Have a happy holiday season!

About The Author

Amy Bellgardt

Amy Bellgardt dove into the blogging world in 2008 as a way to connect with other mothers in the online space. Fast forward to 2022 and she’s the lifestyle blogging powerhouse behind - a trendy blog for moms that includes articles on parenting, food, crafting, travel, and social good initiatives. Amy lives in Oklahoma with her two sons, 22 and 14.

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