How To Set Your Table For Festive Feasts

Eat, drink and be merry at the perfect Christmas dinner table with some top tips kindly provided by Arthur Price, the leading purveyor of upmarket cutlery sets, tableware, and gifts for the home.

What’s the one time you pull out all the stops and cover your dining room table with the best of everything? Christmas of course is when you have friends and family around and eat, drink and be merry.  But what are the secrets to a successful Christmas dinner? How can you wow? We asked the team at the quintessential British cutlery firm Arthur Price for their hints and tips on creating the perfect Christmas table.

Celebrating its 120th year in 2022 and still family-owned, CEO and great-grandson of company founder Arthur Price, Simon Price said: “In the lead up to Christmas we are often asked for our thoughts on how to create the perfect Christmas table.  I say enjoy creating the wow factor but don’t forget it’s not about using the right knife or fork – it’s the three F’s: family, friendship, and fun. There is no better place to celebrate all of this than having everyone around a big dinner table and seeing smiling faces, glasses raised, and loud laughter. With my wife Lesley, we always pull out all the stops. I love a pristine table. All shiny cutlery offering the promise of food and fun. I’m a creature of habit…I always prepare the table at home on Christmas Eve. I polish the cutlery, the glassware. The children usually arrive with their families in the middle of my preparation as they stay the night.  I then close the dining room door leaving the place ready for Christmas morning.”

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Arthur Price Christmas Table

So how do you lay a table out? The rule of laying your cutlery and glassware are simple:

1 – Dinner plates should sit in the center of the place setting. Place your cutlery on the table in the order of use, starting from the outside and working inwards with each course. For a festive touch, see the Sophie Conran For Portmeirion Mistletoe line.

2 – Forks should be set to the left of the plate, with knives placed to the right, blade edges facing inwards. Soup spoons should be placed on the right of the knives.

3 – Place the dessert fork and dessert spoon above the plate with the fork prongs facing right and the spoon bowl facing left.

4 – Side plates always go on the left of the dinner plate.

5 – Glassware should be set above and to the right of the dinner plate and depending upon what you are eating include a red wine glass, a white wine glass, and a water glass. The water glass should be nearest to the top of the knives.  Then the white wine glass, finally on the outside the red.  That’s of course if you are having different courses.

Arthur Price Christmas Table

Simon said: “I know some people talk about table planning being intimidating. Also, the right use of cutlery and glassware, the right position of the forks, and the glasses. Do you work inwards or outwards and do you use the big glass for red or white wine? I say, don’t worry about it.  Nobody is going to test you and remember your guests might not know their salad fork from their soup spoon. I get asked a lot about etiquette.  I think manners is far more important!

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“The most important thing is that whether you get it right, or wrong, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Because the most important thing is spending time with your nearest and dearest. Especially at Christmas.”

So, grab some baubles, get your favorite food in, dress your table with fun and laughter and get festive feasting! Here are our five top tips for the best Christmas tables…

Don’t leave it to the last minute: It’s best to dress the table the night before Christmas. This gives you plenty of time to hunt down missing cutlery and crockery, to check glasses are free of watermarks, and means you won’t be thrown off if your guests arrive early.

Give the table a theme: Having a definitive color scheme or theme makes the table look extra special and refined. Start with a simple base – a plain table cloth or runner is best. Then work with a handful of tones. Design commentators and retailers are suggesting white is the color for Christmas 2021 closely followed by a muted, earthy palette.  A large centerpiece help create a focal point for serving plates and dishes to surround and it’s really important to allow an individual place setting to breathe. Give as much room as you can to cutlery and glassware. Don’t hide cutlery under the plate and squeeze glasses together. Together with the plates, these are the items a diner not only is surrounded by but uses to let everything sparkle and shine.

Arthur Price Christmas Table

Get your place settings right: Firstly, work out how many courses you are serving. Put the plate for the main course at the center of the setting. Then stack the starter plate and soup bowl on top. Cutlery should be placed on either side of the dishes, arranged in the order in which it will be used – the first course on the outside working inward with knives and spoons on the right and forks on the left.

Where your napkin sits will depend on how intricately you plan to fold it. If it’s just a simple arrangement, place it to the left, ideally on a side plate that you can also use for bread. If you plan on some serious napkin origami, pop your effort in the middle of the place setting.Create an eye-catching centerpiece: Every table needs a focal point and there’s so much you could try – a glass bowl filled with candles or baubles, a beautiful silver candelabra, a mini Christmas tree, or a festive floral display (just make sure it’s not too tall to block anyone’s view when seated!).
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Make it personal: Make sure everyone is welcomed to the table with a place setting, so there’s a seat reserved for granny and you can add a personal touch. Place cards can be tucked into a fancy folded napkin or resting on the edge of a wine glass, and you could even add a present or a few sprigs of rosemary to add to the theme and the aroma.

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