Be more creative with your Christmas table and use tree ornaments and wreaths to keep the festive cheer alive all through the season.
As we take our seats on Christmas Day, it almost seems a pity to pull the crackers and place the napkins on our laps. It’s like a beautiful little art display, all twinkling glassware, flickering candles and shining fine china.
However, in the build-up to Christmas, the table can become a bit of a lost space – a cookie prep area, a wrapping station, a pile of plates and clean laundry waiting to go upstairs. You might be tempted to lay the Christmas table early to stretch out the magic but edging around a table groaning with delicate glasses and perfectly matching plates isn't ideal either.
After December 25, everyone is slow to dismantle it completely, taking bits and pieces as we all sink into the sofa and live off Christmas sandwiches until the table becomes a mix of torn paper hats, dirty napkins and odd dinnerware. Here, we lay out the many ways you can keep your table looking sufficiently festive throughout the whole Christmas season, as well as the day itself.
In The Build-Up
In the days leading up to Christmas, you need your table to be a functional area where you can leave kids drawing for the day, be able to cool the ham you cooked the night before and wrap presents quickly and neatly before anyone comes in.
The key is to add a few simple details that give a nod to the season that won't take over the whole table.
Reindeer vase, €13, Next
Ceramic Santa salt and pepper, €15.50, Next
On the Day
When it comes to dressing your table for Christmas Day, decorate with pieces you can use elsewhere. That way, when you clear up it won't feel like the end, you'll just be spreading the Christmas cheer to other corners of the house.
Scatter some Christmas tree baubles – the sparklier the better – along the centre of your table. They will reflect the light of flickering candles and give everyone a nice warm glow. We love the idea of using a bauble as a place name holder for bigger soirees too.
When it comes to actual tableware such as cutlery, plates and glassware, it's best to buy quality pieces that you can use all year round for drinks, dinner parties and birthdays too.
Albany embossed short tumbler glasses, €18 for four, Next
Now that the formal dining is over, you can afford to be a bit more relaxed in terms of your approach to the table.
While you should avoid overly Christmas-y formal dinnerware for the table, some small festive side plates won't go amiss. You'll use them a lot more during that post-Christmas period as friends and family come and go – serving warm mince pieces, thick chunks of Christmas cake and, of course, an overflowing Christmas sandwich.
If you do decide on a sitdown dinner during that time, keep the candles on the table, placing them in the middle of the table surrounded by a wreath or some foliage. It'll make for a beautiful yet uncluttered centrepiece.
Heart wreath, €18, Next
Side plates, €15.50 for four, Next
Christmas, after all, is just one day but that doesn't mean that all of your days off should revolve around December 25. Prolong the festive feeling while making your home work for you, from the Christmas table to living room decorations, bed linens and scented candles.
Read more: HalloweenFM launches in Ireland today
Read more: Don't know what to do with your leftover Christmas ham? Here's a recipe
Read more: A beginner’s guide to hosting Christmas