Decorate Your Christmas Table, a Feast for the Eyes

Make hearts beat faster this holiday season by transforming your table into a feast for the eyes! Whether you prefer a traditional meal or like to experiment with new recipes, every holiday table can create a vivid, unique memory guaranteed to thrill your family and guests.

Begin by deciding on your colors. For me, this often starts with the color of the tablecloth I will be using. For a Christmas table, you may lean toward traditional combinations of red, green and/or white. You might go with an elegant palette of gold or silver with white—or with an amazingly sophisticated and stunning black tablecloth. Go crazy with hot pink and lime green, which, I can tell you from personal experience, is both unexpected and spectacular!

Christmas Table Decoration

Once you have selected your color palette, then set out your basics, perhaps a pretty, white tablecloth, flatware, and glasses. For me, candles are a must for any holiday table. Feel free to mix and match candlesticks. You can choose to dress them up with ribbons or a bit of greenery, as shown here.

Then turn your attention to the decorations. Consider adding a table runner, placemats (which could even be colorful wrapping paper, cut into placemat sizes and shapes), or chair covers. Don’t limit yourself to the tried-and-true; handkerchiefs or doilies may serve your purpose.

Over the years I have amassed quite an assortment of table linens, candle holders, candles, garlands, ornaments, ribbons and other assorted bits and pieces. There’s no need to spend a fortune! I shop at thrift stores and garage sales for inexpensive candle sticks. Little girl’s hair bows from a dollar store can make adorable napkin rings. Once you start looking around for small items that can contribute to a gorgeous table display, you will be amazed at the number of things that are readily available for your use.

Lighting definitely creates a mood, whether it’s the soft romance of candlelight or the flashing strobes of disco dazzle. Candles—available in so many shapes, colors and sizes—remain a favorite or you can step it up with lamps or lanterns. Avoid strongly scented oils, though, as you will want the wonderful aroma of the food to tantalize taste buds.

Christmas Table Decoration

Look at the difference a bold splash of color at each place setting makes! No napkins in the right color? No problem! Just use yardage and quickly hem them into 15 inch squares. It’s a good idea to use double-sided fabric but if you don’t have any, a single-side print will be fine. (Remember to make an extra one or two for the bread basket.)

If you are using place cards, get creative and utilize a color, font or artistic addition which ties them to your general theme. Glue a bit of glitter to them, a few tiny, colorful buttons or beads, a small ribbon or yarn bow or, if yours is a formal setting, perhaps just a small doodle in gold or silver ink. Another way to impress your guests is to print a slender menu, including beverages and desserts, and placing it on each plate. You can also combine place cards and menus by putting the person’s name at the top.

Christmas Table Decoration Tips

Go three-dimensional down the center of the table in order to make a bold impact. I decided to amp up the seasonal red by scrunching gleaming, sheer red fabric and placing the candle holders on top. Look closely and you will notice there are small boxes wrapped in red tissue paper under the fabric for added height.

Now to the really fun part! Start adding layers to your tablescape. Keeping in mind that people will want to talk across the table, you don’t want to go higher than about 14 inches.

Use common items in unusual ways. Picture frames, baskets, boxes, or bottles can be unique table decorations. Utilize your favorite collection—salt and pepper shakers, decorative plates, origami animals, shot glasses. Anything goes!

By all means, add some botanicals. It doesn’t have to be the expected floral centerpiece. Add a single flower in a tiny vase or a small (spineless!) cactus at each place setting, a few small plants or evergreen swags, a display of fruits and vegetables to the mix. An orchid or three is an unbeatable touch of elegance. But don’t stop there; flowering branches, painted bare branches in interesting shapes and even mosses can help transform your table display into something special.

Create levels. You could simply set each element on the table and call it good but why not add more interest and a sense of movement by varying the heights of individual components? Arrange a stack of books at various angles and top them with a candlestick and a single rose. Candlesticks do NOT need to match. In fact, it’s much more interesting if they are all different heights, shapes and colors. Mix them with (also unmatched) colorful votive holders. Really, this is the time to go crazy! 

Christmas Table Decoration Tips

Time to pull it all together! Deliberately mismatched votive candle holders and napkins pulled through inexpensive Christmas decorations (all dollar store finds) add a bit of sparkle. On each plate is a personalized menu listing the feast’s tantalizing goodies and, at the top, is each guest’s name. These serve as both place cards and mementos of the day. The red boxes under the center fabric provide the perfect stage for glittery, fanciful Eye Candy Quilts which lets everyone know, “A quilter lives here!”

Finish up with bold textures and a lot of sparkle. Blend soft with hard, sleek with rough for a fascinating vignette. Colorful baubles and glass Christmas tree ornaments combined with soft ribbons or lengths of sheer fabric look great. Metallic ribbons, in either a fine or a very coarse weave heighten drama.

Decorating your table can be one of the most creative parts of your holiday. Consider key words to define future party and holiday themes, such as “outrageous”, “sweet”, “family”, “woodsy” or “sophisticated.” What objects do you have or can you find or sew that exemplify those moods? It won’t take long before you have an amazing list. When it’s time to party, develop your theme by using a few choice items off your list that, when combined, will make your tabletops the talk of the neighborhood.

Melody Crust is a nationally recognized, award-winning quilter, teacher and author. In addition to her busy teaching schedule, Melody has authored Stitching Through the Layers; The Art and Elegance of Straight Line Quilting, Quilt Toppings; Fun and Fancy Embellishment Techniques and Eye Candy Quilts; Super-fast fun with beads, baubles, buttons and more! Check out Melody’s workshops, order autographed copies of her books or contact her directly at

Christmas Table Decoration Tips

Buttons, ribbons and a variety of beads all contribute to this Eye Candy. The horizontal lines are deliberately at a slight slant to create the feeling of lively movement, which matches the playfulness of the design. The colorful buttonhole stitching adds texture and helps hold the binding in place. 2 ½″ x 3 ½″.

Fiber art by Melody Crust

The inspiration here was certainly the wonderful purchased beaded fringe. The center is a hand-dyed fabric in pink and green with matching ribbon attached using beads. To marry the boldness of the fringe to the inside design, I blanket stitched, by hand, around the edge with hand-dyed pearl cotton. But the show is really all about the fringe! 5″ x 7″.

Our December 25 Gift For You

Today’s gift is an embroidery design CD with the entire Merry and Bright collection to one awesome WeAllSew fan. All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:

What will your Christmas table look like this year?

A winner will be chosen at random on December 26, 2015 and announced the following week!

Good luck and Happy Holidays from BERNINA!

Congratulations to our WeAllSew reader “gloriap”, the winner of the December 25 gift. Enjoy!


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47 comments on “Decorate Your Christmas Table, a Feast for the Eyes”

  • Merry Christmas Everyone ! My table will have a lace table cloth, gold rimmed plates, gold rimmed vintage glasses and ornaments scattered about a around a sled in the middle between tall candles.

  • Merry Christmas! Thank you for posting the table ideas, made me think. I rearranged my table to incorporate one of the suggestions. It just made the table pop! ..and far more appealing.

  • We are going to be at our daughter’s home this year. Because of the number of guests, she will serve “buffet style” as she has done before with Christmas décor interspersed with the plates and utensils. Very casual and VERY FUN!!

  • I want to make he opulent ornaments and holly leafs for napkin ring holders; this could be my table for 2016. But this year white tablecloth, gold chargers, Emboidererd red/green table runner, red ceramic Santa napkin holder, green napkins, poinsettia plant and red sticks in gold candle holder.

  • Oh my that is a beautiful setting. My table has Lots of machine embroidery by SoniaShowalterdesigns. The Christmas Pine designs are on the napkins and tablecloth. I even made a sort of tower to display the awesome table napkins. It includes lights and pine. On top of this display is a tiny tree with tiny gingerbread (new this year) and little pine cones. It’s crowned with an Angel of Light (Christmas). The table brings our family together with lots of good food, laughter and tears at times. Merry Christmas and Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.

  • I always use my antique blue and brown china for holidays. The colors don’t sound festive, but with white accents and my antique crystal, the table always looks beautiful. Since my Christmas gift from my husband was a Bernina 580, I’ll be able to make embroidered napkins to match the china for our next holiday dinner!

  • My table will be a simple, homey affair. There will be lots of smiling, cheerful, excited children gathered around. This is the best decoration of all.

  • It wasn’t at our house this year, but my brother and sister-in-law’s Christmas table looked very similar to the one in the photo, white and gold with some festive red. Thank you for all the fun projects. Merry Christmas to all, and to Bernina, a prosperous New Year!

  • Our Christmas Table is just beautiful with all the different generations of family.
    We have great grandparents, grandparents, parents, great grandchildren, grandchildren, nieces, nephews,sisters and brothers.
    What a great family get together we have. Look forward to it every year.
    We use a beautiful Christmas lace tablecloth, linen napkins with our names monogram on it.
    What a joyous time by all.
    Thanks for all the great prizes your giving away.
    Hope you had a great Holiday with your family like I did.
    Happy Holiday’s

  • Alas, no Christmas table at my house this year. I spent Christmas Eve morning with my daughter and her family, and we all ended up eating over the stove as they rapidly packed up to go to their next destination. Had time permitted, she had a fancy table ready to set up with a posted menu and everything. Only three menu items made it to completion, and of that, only one eaten, one packed up in plastic bags for the long trip, and the other split for them later and half for me to take home. With conflicting work schedules and most family members with parents and grandparents, each with their own expectations, it is difficult to find just a few hours.

  • My table starts with an off-white table cloth, green tree napkins, and a red, white and gold table runner. Christmas glasses and white plates will complete the table. Merry Christmas!

  • We have a Christmas tablecloth, Christmas plates w/trees on them and our silver flatware. The glasses also have Christmas trees on them. Our granddaughter and her 2 friends are with us this year. Merry Christmas to all.

  • My Christmas table has a table runner made from cutting down from a Japanese gold and silver wrap, two brass candle sticks, greenery and a glass cut bowl full of multicolor Christmas balls.

  • Our table was very plain and simple as we both have been ill. But, by New Year’s Day, we both should be better and we plan to set a red, green and gold Christmas table for the New Year. Since the Christmas season officially ends January 6 we will keep everything out until then.

  • My table today included fresh greens and flowers, my best dishes and silver cutlery. A Christmas themed table runner I made last year decorated the middle of the table.

  • My table had white plates on gold chargers to mark the places. I pooled an old gold satin tunic in the middle and set a sparkly reindeer in the center of the fabric. The napkins were gold. The effect was pleasing and achieved quickly. Thanks so much for all the wonderful posts and ideas.

  • This year, we will be celebrating with friends, at their home. Our normal Christmas table colours are red and green with a quilted table runner down the middle which always seems to find a new home straight after Christmas… I am making another one again this year, which I hope will stay with us for a while! A Blessed Christmas to all and thank you for all your ideas and inspiration!

  • Our table setting will be very simple, since the family won’t be here this year. I do love to use red and green
    Christmas place mats. Oh, yes, reindeer napkin holders add to the festive mood.

  • I made a small centerpiece using an old world Santa a few Christmas ornaments and some pine garland with white lights. I inherited some of my moms china last year after she died. It’s a beautiful pattern of grapes that border the plates in teal, purple and greens. I have colored crystal to match. My first Christmas in our new house!

  • I have some Santa place mats that I made over 20 years ago. I love digging them out for Christmas. They are not made really well because I did not have the knowledge I have now. For my centerpiece I used a mirror with 3 various sizes, red & white striped candles and red napkins that I made with my serger.

  • My Christmas table this year was adorned with my mother’s china set that she “bought” with S&H green stamps many years ago. I also used a table runner that I finished recently to give the whole table a festive style. With crystal goblets and cloth napkins, it was so pretty!

  • I love the Christmas tags at the end of every article. I want to make those next year. Also thank you for posting Christmas projects, a lot of sewing machine makers don’t bother now.

  • Our vintage tablecloth with cover the table; my favorite blue china will be set out on it; and serving dishes of delicious food will cover every other square inch of it. We could use some festive new napkins this year which I’ve added to my to-do list.

  • I used to do the table runners and holiday placemats, but we have too many people to put much there now. I also used to get a small floral arrangement to put in the center, but when my favorite florist retired I quit. Our celebration is kind of different: we have lasagna for Christmas dinner as it is easy to make ahead and everybody likes it. Our house is pretty small, so we don’t even have everyone eating at the table sometimes. I have a table for 8, but if everyone is here we have 12. So we send the guys to the living room and the ladies stay at the table with the kids.

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