Celebration at the Christmas Table
BY KIMBERLY PATZER
he wondrous scents of Christmas waft through the house, filling the air with festive delights. You eagerly await your guests to arrive so that together, everyone can enjoy the turkey with all its trimmings. There is something sacred about sharing a meal with others. Meals are a time for celebration and a time to share love and laughter. Those who come to eat at your table are there because they are special to you; there is no better reason than that to take special care and thought in decorating the dining room table. Allow your style to influence the final outcome of how you dress your table. Do not feel confined to the traditional red and green; choose colours that will enhance your space without creating a distraction. A simple colour palette that is both elegant and classy, and that will enhance any style, is green, gold and white. To create a formal atmosphere, use a white tablecloth to lend sophistication and a sense of occasion. If you wish, add a table runner to top the tablecloth. You may choose a more casual setting with a table runner alone, or even less with only placemats. The atmosphere that you
select is entirely up to you, but remember that atmosphere is everything. You are now ready to set the table. A great table setting enhances your formal or casual atmosphere with festivity, but what does it mean to “set a table?” To set a table is to properly place dishes, flatware and glassware. A basic formal setting looks elegant, but allows guests to feel at home. Place the dinner plates two inches from the table’s edge. If you are serving soup, place a soup bowl on each dinner plate. The bread plate goes slightly above the fork to the left of the dinner plate with a butter knife set across it. The cutlery or flatware is set out in the order that the guests will use it, working from the outside in. Forks are on the left side while the knives and spoons are on the right side. You can either place the dessert fork at the top of the plate or on the left side closest to the plate. A water glass is placed above the dinner knife while a wine glass or two is staggered around the water glass. A napkin is either placed to the left of the plate under the forks, tucked inside a drinking glass or rolled into a log and set on the plate encompassed by a napkin ring. You now have a beautifully set table awaiting only the final touches for
entertaining your guests. Choose a centrepiece that is in keeping with your colour palette and your style. Some examples are glittered candles of varying sizes and shapes, an evergreen arrangement, tree ornaments in a glass bowl or a simple, yet elegant, bouquet of fresh flowers. The sky is the limit! To honour your guests, give each setting a place card with a guest’s name on it and set it either on the plate or just above. Again, depending on your style, you could attach each place card with a pine cone in dazzling gold glitter, a glass tree ornament, or with a napkin and greenery (like cedar) wrapped in gold thread. Lastly, to finish off your masterpiece, decorate each chair in keeping with your overall theme. You may choose a chair slip cover, a simple bow with a mistletoe or some tinsel with jingle bells. I have given you a frame to work with, and now you can let your creativity take over to create an atmosphere that you, your family and your friends can enjoy as you share this special meal together. From my dining room table to yours: Merry Christmas!