Simple Christmas Table Ideas

Today I thought I would share some simple Christmas table ideas.

When we first jump out of the gate after Thanksgiving, we have great plans for Christmas.

The shopping will be done early and we will wrap everything as soon as we bring it home.

We will bake cookies early and have them ready to share with everyone.

And then reality hits of all that we have to do, and none of those things happen.

So, I am all about keeping it as simple as possible, especially with setting a Christmas table.

Tip 1 – Start with a simple tablecloth

You do not need to have a tablecloth that is specific to Christmas. In fact, the simpler it is, the more you can build on it. The one I used actually has a little shimmer to it, but is basically white.


Most importantly – use what you have and what you love. Don’t go spend money on a new tablecloth every year. I have a stunning one I have used the last few years – but guess what? It has to be dry cleaned! I did not realize that when I bought it.

This one goes right in the wash – easy peasy. Easy means not only setting up with ease – but cleaning up as well. Same goes for the napkins. I say go with cloth – it really does make things nicer, but make sure they can easily go right in the washing machine when the meal is over.

And if we are really being honest here – if you are going simple – you can find some beautiful vinyl tablecloths out there if that is what makes thing simpler.

Simple means more time to enjoy your company.

Tip 2 – Keep your place setting simple

Keep your place setting simple – and use what you have. If you have Christmas plates – great, use them. If you don’t – use what you have. I used reds and greens paired with white plates this year – but any colors and patterns will work. With the addition of some simple fresh greenery or herbs, you can make it in the spirit of Christmas.


I brought in some chargers for color. But guess what? They are from the dollar store. A simple wipe up and they can be put away for another day’s use.

And turning to the clean up, I try to use plates and silverware that can go in the dishwasher.

Easy is the point and spending time with your company.

Tip 3 – Always use candles

Every time I sit at our table, I turn down the dimmer. I hate harsh lighting. Soft light invites people to linger longer. And nothing pulls that off better than candles. It can be as simple as votives in a clear glass container.

Simply repeat them down the center of the table.

Tip 4 – Keep it low

I have, in the past, pulled together centerpieces and table displays that actually took away from the dining experience. They were too high, too big and got in the way. When everyone actually sat down at the table – they were removed.

That was a waste of time and energy.


This time I went for a repetition of the same idea – and kept both the flowers and candles low.

Our table is old and actually quite narrow, so setting up food on the table really isn’t an option. But, even if it did, I prefer keeping things open. I generally set up our food on our kitchen island for everyone to to help themselves.

Tip 5 – Use Natural and Fresh Elements

I found these square vases at Ikea, but anything clear glass will work – even mason jars. I filled the bottom with cranberries, added water and then I added a mixture of different greens trimmed down. I love how it brings in the red pops, that match with the chargers. The green also ties in with the napkins. By only using color in a few places – it makes a nice strong statement.

These can be made a few days prior to your meal.

Tip 6 – You Don’t Need Fancy Napkin Holders

When pulling together your ideas, don’t feel you need to buy special napkin holders. Of course, if you have them – use them! If not, just tie a ribbon around a casually gathered napkin. Tuck in some greens and some cranberries held together with some floral wire – and you are all set. You could even add a small sprig of rosemary for the fragrance.

Simple Christmas Table Ideas

Of all the tables I have pulled together – this one is by far my favorite.

It sums up how I want my home to be when I fill it with people I love – I want it to pretty and welcoming without being overdone. I want it to be that people feel they can sit right down and enjoy the meal.

And I want to keep it simple to make sure I am joining them and lingering long after.

Wishing you the very best this holiday season and thanks for reading!


December 23, 2013 — Laura Putnam