The following is a guest post from Jennifer Lutz at blog.christmastreemarket.com
The holidays come but once a year — all the more reason to make each celebration as special as possible! In addition to preparing a delicious meal, the simplest way to make your guests feel welcome is through pleasing decorations and a thoughtfully set table. From beautiful centerpieces to cleverly folded napkins, here are some creative ideas for decorating and setting the holiday table that will instantly put your guests at ease.
Make Your Guests Feel Welcome
I like to make personalized place cards so everyone feels welcome at the table. Even the simplest place cards can make your loved ones feel that you've put thought into their attendance.
Try using twine to wrap together a few cinnamon sticks. An equally affordable and fragrant option is this small evergreen branch tip, which stays in line with the holiday theme. It is also a lovely keepsake for your guests.
Create Ambiance with a Centerpiece
Use a foliage centerpiece to bring the beauty of nature into your home and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Play into the natural theme by tying a sprig of leaves around the napkins, and adding brightly colored fruits and flowers to bring out the colors of the foliage.
Setting up candles along with your centerpiece can help make your tablescape warm and friendly. The intimate setting created by candlelight has a relaxing effect, helping conversations flow freely.
While creating your centerpiece, make sure that everyone can converse easily. Check that the decorations on your table aren't so high that your guests can't see each other. Instead of taper candles or tall flower arrangements, use votive candles or small plants for your centerpiece. Keeping your table open with spread-out decorations will make it easy for your guests to spark up conversations with each other.
Play with Textures, Patterns, and Colors
Textures add an interesting detail to the tablescape. A velvet tie for example, may look insignificant on its own, but when it's wrapped around a bundle of flatware, it becomes a thoughtful little detail that adds to the consistency of your design.
Patterns like plaid add warmth. Repurpose plaid blankets into a tablecloth or a table runner to give your table a unique accent, and your dining room a welcoming atmosphere.
Even small details like napkins can add something to your table setting. Display fun napkins with beautiful prints to give your table a wonderful pop of color. You can grab some from Ikea, or create your own DIY napkin pieces to match your design exactly. Instead of using napkin rings, use leftover ribbons for that special touch.
Showcase the Food
Without a doubt, food is the main attraction of the dining table. Personally, I love using the best dishes and serving trays that I have because the holidays are a special occasion for me and my family. White plates best exhibit the food, and are easy to match with serving plates, wine glasses, and various types of centerpieces. Similarly, neutral-colored plates are a great option because they easily coordinate with various decorating themes.
If you plan to serve dips and holiday sauces, you can use special serving platters that coordinate with the style of your table. This way, you and your guests can enjoy the food as well as the little details that make the table look delightful.
Finally, don't forget to garnish the food itself for a bit of added color.
When setting the table for the holidays, make it your goal to turn the dining room into a warm and inviting space for your friends and family. Use your creativity to the fullest to make your table unique. With lovely decorations and mouthwatering dishes, your loved ones will cherish every minute of the holiday season!
blog.christmastreemarket.com. Check out her thoughts on table runners & autumn decorating here: http://blog.christmastreemarket.com/2014/10/5-table-runner-ideas-for-fall/.