The secret to hosting the perfect Christmas


Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Styling: Sanri Pienaar | Images: Inge Prins

Party season is here, which means it’s almost time to go through your mental checklist of all the Christmas goodies you’ll need to make it an extra special occasion. From buying a brilliant tree and decor accessories to making sure your home looks spick and span, there’s a lot to do. Add to that, the pressure of presenting the most gorgeous spread of the year on your dining room table. The brilliant menu that you’ve put together will be the star of the show, but you also want to set the perfect table that’s sure to impress your guests as much as your food will. Make Christmas that much more memorable this year by decorating your table in style. Here’s how to host your best one yet.


Nothing says special occasion quite like a great colour scheme or theme. It will make your guests feel as if you’ve gone the extra mile – and you have – while adding extra festive spirit to your space. Not sure what to go for? Burgundy, red, green or gold with wooden materials are surefire win when you want to set a traditional mood. For a more contemporary feel, deck out your table in silver and white. If you’re still not finding the right colour, opt for earthy, neutral tones and layer with hints of gold.


Get in front of the festive rush. Set your table on Christmas Eve so you don’t need to panic about last-minute details on Christmas morning. Start with a tablecloth or runner to prettify your table, as well as protect it from spills and accidents that are bound to happen when friends or family come over. Even an industrial-looking trestle table can be transformed with the right tablecloth – just make sure you iron it well for a crisp finish. If you’re adding flowers or foliage to your table, do this ahead of time, too.


You don't need to spend a fortune on special crockery or expensive glassware to have a stylish table. Try using two sets of your favourite china, so that you can layer your plates for a luxurious look – as well as have fresh plates at your fingertips as you feast on all those courses. Remember: cutlery should be placed on either side of your dishes and arranged in the order that it will be used first, working your way from the outside inward. And don’t forget the napkins. They can be as simple or elaborate as your theme requires. A simple solve? Roll them in a napkin ring or tie them with a length of beautiful ribbon.


Whether or not you’re adding a centrepiece is completely up to you and if table space allows. Bigger does not always mean better, though. If you’re struggling to fit all your crockery and glasses onto the table, opt for less decorative elements and a smaller centrepiece – or skip one entirely. Want something traditional? A festive wreath with candles is quick and easy. Pick candles in varying sizes and make sure that any foliage sits away from the flames. To play it all the way safe, battery-operated candles or fairy lights are also an option. Take your decor to the next level with a mirror tile to accentuate the soft glow of any lights used for a magical touch.


Welcome your loved ones to the table with handwritten place cards. They’re a simple addition that will add even more of a personal and thoughtful feel. Want to switch things up? Skip traditional place cards and tie a name card to crackers or write each guest’s name on a bauble and place those on their dinner plate. Plain baubles or bauble clusters can also be personalised, then simply hung from the chair. Keep it cute.

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