Setting the table for a holiday meal is often an important part of family tradition, with everything from the treasured china and crystal to large table cloths, monogrammed napkins and heirloom silver adding meaning to the celebration. Whether you are using your grandmother’s china or starting out in a new place and making traditions of your own, the table is the heart of the home and the place to break bread with family and friends – why not make your table as attractive and welcoming as possible.
You may be dining on a folding table or using the dining room table – either way you will want to protect the tabletop and provide a stable surface upon which to eat. Most formal dining sets include table pads which are placed on top of the table in order to protect the surface from heat and water. If you do not have table pads a vinyl tablecloth is a good solution–what you want to do is to create is a layer of protection between the table and the decorative tablecloth. Once you have protected the table you can then use a solid color tablecloth with or without a lace overlay tablecloth or a print or patterned tablecloth.
Napkins & Place Cards
When you are hosting guests it is always a good idea to assign seats in advance of the meal. This lets you have more control over the table and ensures that conversation will flow and the meal will be more harmonious and enjoyable. When thinking about how to seat people it’s a good idea to consider what they may have in common or how they might enjoy one another’s company – it is matchmaking of a social sort and can be very useful when you are hosting family as well. Place cards add a touch of elegance to any table and can serve as a memento of the event.
When setting the table you will want to provide napkins; these may be folded and placed to the left of the plate under the forks or rolled into napkin rings; napkins may then go atop the plate or above the plate, depending on how you prefer the table to look. Forks are placed on the left side of the plate with the salad fork followed by the dinner fork; the knife and spoon go to the right of the plate. A dessert fork or spoon may be placed above the plate, parallel with the table. Holiday themed napkin and tablecloths are a great way to liven up the table – bedbathandbeyond.com has a great selection along with lots of holiday entertaining ideas.