With a little help from our experts

Take time to think about the Christmas table and make setting up for your special meal a simple task with stunning results. You want to create an environment where guests will choose to stay and relax; chatting, playing games or pondering over the port. So first decide on a theme or colour scheme and choose table linen to match.

Start with your table cloth and overlay with a runner and place mats. Add crockery and crackers to each setting; start with a charger plate and stack with a dinner plate and bowl. To enhance your theme why not place a bauble or two in each bowl, and for a name place with a difference, why not use a metallic marker to write the names of your guests on the baubles.

When considering your centrepiece be sure to think about your seating arrangements. Try to choose something that won’t obstruct conversation such as tall candlesticks or a long and low wreath along the length of the table, both of which will provide a stunning focal point.

For a little added extra consider using wine charms so guests can identify their glasses, add a touch of sparkle with battery operated led xmas lights and scatter your table with party stars. And look out for festive napkin rings and seasonal tableware.

And don’t forget the chairs. Wrap matching ribbon around your chairs and tie at the back with a bauble or sprig of seasonal foliage.

Get everyone involved, especially the youngsters. Task them with deciding on a seating plan, then get them to lay out the place settings and write names. They’ll want to stay around the table longer if they’ve had a hand in creating it.

Arrange some fun! Crackers are a great ice-breaker before the start of the meal, but consider some other fun games such as Pass the Parcel either between courses or at the end of the meal.
Be creative with the cutlery Instead of laying your cutlery in the traditional style who not create a cone using your napkin and place your cutlery inside, tying with a ribbon to match your chosen colour scheme.

After opening our presents, Christmas dinner is the focal point of the day, a special time with family and friends, so make sure you pull out all the stops when it comes to your Christmas table. It can be as much fun as dressing the tree.