We’ve all been there. Each year, planning and preparing all those presents, sorting out food and busily checking that you’ve invited all those in-laws that you can hardly stand. After all that, who wants to think about how to decorate the table at the last minute? Luckily, we’ve got you covered! 

We’ve scoured the internet looking for the best ways to stylise that lump of wood (or glass, or stone, or anything really), so you don’t have to, and here are Jim’s Top 5 Tips to Dress your Table for Success at Christmas:

  1. Symmetry
  2. Select colours and tones carefully
  3. Always have spare napkins and paper towel on hand
  4. Separate children and adults 
  5. Give people a surprise!

Symmetry people! Honestly, if that’s the only thing you take out of this, we’re glad we wrote the article! Families always notice the smallest details, (especially that annoying sister-in-law) and they won’t hesitate to point it out to you in the nicest way possible, which often means laughing at you behind your back, so get this right! For starters, make sure the tablecloth is on straight and the crockery is all balanced out, and you’ve set the right amount of spaces, including for yourself. If all else fails, at least you can say you didn’t forget anyone, and start blaming everyone else for not going to the same effort as you to make the day perfect. 

Colour and tone are really important to build that Christmas spirit. You want to make it festive, but keep in mind that too much of anything can be a bad thing (except maybe the Christmas ham), so choose two or three colours and stick to this theme. Often simplicity is the key, as the food will be the focal point for basically everyone. As long as the food’s good, people will be happy, and that’s the objective of Christmas!

Having spare napkins or paper towels on hand is a great way to avoid all those messy disasters you can sometimes experience at Christmas, as people can be surprisingly barbaric when it comes to digging into a hearty meal. That’s not to say you shouldn’t invite that uncle of yours, but still… It’s always a safe bet to keep some emergency supplies on hand for when the alcohol starts to flood the systems and things get a little out of hand. 

Kids these days, with all their whining and crying, often get in the way of a good time. An easy way to minimise their ability to distract your day is to move them off to a seperate kiddies table, or down one end, where they can have all the fun in the world (just keep the sugary stuff away as much as possible!) One good product that works really well for this are those baby gates – if you have a few lying around or an animal pen of some kind, they can have all the fun in the world being Houdini trying to escape. Buy a spare padlock and market it as a game – you’re all set to go!

Everyone loves being surprised at Christmas, so plan something special to make the day memorable – this could be as simple as a whoopee cushion under your Granny’s chair or spicing up mince pies with some chilli powder, so get creative! As long as everyone has some fun, they’ll take that away with them and you’ll boost your standing with your parents in law.

So, all jokes aside, while Christmas can be full of emotion for most of us, we need to always remember that it’s about getting together with those that are part of our family and friends circle. Christmas is an extremely personal event for everyone, so there’s no one way to go about setting your table up, but just keep these broad tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to a memorable day!