Make sure the setting is as tempting as the grub this Christmas. GABRIELLE FAGAN serves up top tips for dining decor.
There aren’t many who’d disagree; the festive feast is the highlight of Christmas Day.
But whether you’re going for turkey, goose, nut-roast or something even more exotic as the focus of your meal, it’s the trimmings that really make it - and I’m not just talking roasties and honey-glazed parsnips.
The setting is almost as - or just as, some would say - important as the food being served.
Festive fun or Yueltide chic; it’s entirely up to you what mood you go for - and it doesn’t have to break the bank, or require a degree in interior design, to pull off.
Of course, you can invest in some wintry wonderland tableware if you want to; candelabras and some carefully-chosen tealight holders and gilded glassware certainly suit the occasion and are an easy way to make a setting special.
There are also lots of budget-friendly buys; supermarkets, as well as shops like Wilko and even Poundland are great places to pick up festive table top decorations and charger plates and platters, as well as the compulsory napkins and table runners.
Get creative and don’t limit your imagination to the tabletop - how about hanging decorations above it, or arranging some Christmassy lighting on a mantelpiece for added ambience?
A glass bowl, filled with colourful baubles or pine cones and deep, red berries or springs of holly makes a striking centrepiece, and carefully-draped fairy lights can also be very effective. But whatever you do, don’t forget the crackers.
Here are four popular Christmas Day dining deco themes to help you serve up some style...
Go for gold
It may sometimes have a reputation for being a little ostentatious, but if there’s one day of the year when being flash and over-the-top is perfectly allowed it’s Christmas.
More importantly, gold doesn’t have to be pompous; in fact it can be extremely subtle and sophisticated, especially if used in a softly-lit, romantic setting.
‘After years in the design wilderness, gold is back with a vengeance,’ says Clare Harris, managing director at Talking Tables.
It’s bold, it’s bright, and it’s ‘the’ colour of Christmas. For fans of a traditional setting, red is the go-to festive shade. The good news is that shops are always bursting at the seams with red decorations, which makes it ideal for those on a tight budget, as you can easily stock up on a red paper tablecloth and napkins, while some strategically placed baubles and tinsel can be all you need to create a striking scene.
Who hasn’t gazed longingly at those gorgeous, country cottage Christmas card images, wishing you could step right into that cosy scene and snuggle up by that roaring log fire, as a perfectly-decorated tree twinkles in the corner? Thankfully, a village postcode and exposed wooden beams aren’t compulsory for creating a rustic, country-inspired look, and this certainly applies to dining tables.
‘I like to keep things simple; if you have a lovely wooden table then you’re half way there,’ says print-maker and designer Cherith Harrison.
‘If not, don’t fret! Wrapping a piece of bright red gingham ribbon around a chunky candle is effective and it won’t cost the earth.
‘For a more formal occasion, small pine cones make for lovely name settings.’