Four festive themes for a winter celebration meal

Party Porcelain gold collection: bowls, �12 pack; cutlery, set of six knives, forks, spoons, �7; gol

Party Porcelain gold collection: bowls, �12 pack; cutlery, set of six knives, forks, spoons, �7; gold embossed napkins, pack of �20; champagne flute, �2, all available fromTalking Tables. PA Photo/Handout - Credit: Archant

You may choose to slave over a hot stove this Christmas to create the perfect feast, but there’s no need to toil over the table. We’ve asked the experts to dish up top tips for four festive themes. Whether budget or luxury, traditional or bold, there’s no excuse for not serving up in style...

Midas touch

Gold’s synonymous with glamour and this setting could make you glow with pride...

“Gold’s a seasonal favourite and looks beautiful contrasted with white, but you could ring the changes this year and use a dark grey or even a black tablecloth for a dramatic, glamorous effect, which will also make table decorations star,” says Clare Harris, managing director, Talking Tables.

“Texture and tonal variation are key to creating an interesting table, so add glittering table scatter and maybe a mixture of pieces of your own vintage glassware. Fill glasses or tiny vases these with posies of evergreen foliage, or sweet treats wrapped in metallic papers, and the display will look even more striking set with tea lights on a mirrored tray. This could make an easy-peasy centrepiece.

“For more table dressing inspiration, browse Pinterest or Instagram, as party planners often post pictures of fabulous wedding tables. These are often more creative than Christmas tables and you can steal ideas!”

Classic red and white

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Red and white’s a classic choice that’s cheery and truly traditional...

“This year, we have a beautiful ‘deck the halls’ Christmas theme. It’s a vibrant and contemporary palette, with vivid reds, shades of soft grey and accents of tartan. Supported by shades of warm teal and green, the range pays a nod to festive foliage and Christmas pines,” says Clare Stevens, senior buyer at Poundland.

“Add atmosphere by hanging a Christmas stocking and a red wooden gift tag on the back of each chair. That most traditional icon of the season, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, runs through the decorative theme.”

Silver shimmer

Celebrate silver and metallics for a sophisticated and elegant ‘frosty’ setting...

“For a truly luxurious dining experience on Christmas Day, you need a spectacular table with glistening accessories, glassware and linen,” says The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker.

“I love a pure white linen cloth, and then use a pre-lit beaded garland laid down the centre of the table as a centrepiece. I then simply pair it with a scattering of our mercury tea light holders for added sparkle.

“On the wall behind the table, I like to hang a net of cascading fairy lights, which looks even more effective hung over a mirror, and for a focal point, an evergreen wreath suspended above the table. On shelves nearby, I have silver baubles displayed in clear glass vases, which catch the light and add to the atmosphere.”

Wicked woodland

“Off-white or grey china and table linen are perfect for a subtle country or woodland feel for a table setting, which is so on trend in interiors, and this look suits both sophisticated soirees and Christmas banquets,” says Emma Sims-Hilditch, creative director at Neptune.

“My biggest tip for decorating is to adorn the entire room with the same motifs you use on the table. So if I’m using leafy garlands and lots of candlelight as my centrepiece, I’ll repeat that effect on window ledges and other surfaces, and even group candlesticks in a cluster to illuminate a corner of the room. It helps to bring the whole room to life and will make the dining table look even more spectacular.

“Don’t ignore chairs and benches – simply draping a chunky throw or sheepskin rug on seats or chair backs adds to the comfort and ramps up the feeling of cosseting luxury.”