Set The Holiday Scene

To make your holiday dinner parties festive from start to finish, be sure to set the stage with these easy homemade holiday place settings.

Step 1: Create place cards

Welcome your guests to the table with holiday-inspired place cards. There are several ways to do this, so be sure to consider how much time you'll have on hand before your big event.

  • Extra time to prepare: If you have a little extra time on your hands and you don't mind spending it in the kitchen, consider making place cards out of holiday cookies. Bake gingerbread or sugar cookies and cut them into fun holiday shapes like reindeer, presents or stockings. Use icing to decorate each cookie with the name of one of your invited guests. Before your guests arrive, simply set a cookie on each person's plate to designate his or her spot at the table.
  • Limited time to prepare: When you're short on time, jazz up your table with ribbon-adorned chairs hung with a place card. Simply wrap a wide, festive ribbon around the back of each chair at the table. Write each guest's name on the front of a folded name card and hang the cards over the ribbon on the back of each chair. The result is simple but classy!

Read more: 8 Simple place card ideas >>

Step 2: Set the table

Before setting the table, you want to pick a color scheme. Choose one or two colors, or if you have patterned dishes, choose a single solid color to complement the pattern. Keep in mind that bold colored tablecloths in reds, greens and golds look beautifully classic when paired with white china.

The colors you choose will be reflected in your choice of linens. Adorn your table with a tablecloth, then start each place setting with a placemat. Layer your dishes on top of the placemat so that the salad plate sits atop the dinner plate. Keep your stemware and flatware simple so as not to detract from your holiday decorations.

Step 3: Decorate each place setting

Before you start to decorate, it's important to keep in mind that less is often more. You may have lots of wonderful decoration plans, but you don't want to overcrowd your place settings with too many accessories. A few simple decorating ideas include:

  • Placing a sprig of pine or rosemary inside the napkin ring or on top of each place setting
  • Decorating each plate with a Christmas ornament that can double as a gift for your guests

Step 4: Accessorize the table

Remembering, of course, that you want to keep things understated, finish decorating the table with holiday-inspired centerpieces. Place a candle inside a wreath, fill a glass vase with Christmas ornaments or simply wind a branch of greenery down the center of the table.

Read more: Make a holiday table centerpiece >>

More holiday craft ideas

How to make a candy stick vase
How to make luminarias
How to make handprint gifts

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