There’s nothing like entering a home for a Christmas meal. The smell of gingerbread cookies and holly wafts from the front door, the toasty fireplace beckons your guests inside, and, of course, a delicious feast awaits with family and friends. But for me, that’s only the beginning of an unforgettable dinner.

Even before I serve my homecooked delights, I want my Christmas table to be full of homey, holiday cheer. For an arts and crafts lover who’s short on time but big on the Christmas spirit, I adore the challenge of decorating my table in festive and feasible ways. From chairs tied with bows to tablecloths that jingle, here are 15 tried and true Christmas table settings that will make your meals extra merry.

1. Bring the season’s greenery inside

With a tree in your living room and a wreath on your front door, Christmastime is all about
decorating your home with seasonal flora. To your dining table, place a red runner sprinkled with holly or display pinecones in clear vases. Last year, I hung a sprig of mistletoe in my dining room’s entrance, and helped bring together a happy, young couple!

2. Gift your guests

Feeling extra generous? Personalize your Christmas table settings with gifts for each of your guests. Not only will you be the “hostess with the mostess” — you’ll be the most thoughtful one, too. Last year, I spoiled my guests with individual Christmas albums , celebrating my friendship with each one. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

3. Sweeten your Christmas table

Even before serving the pie and cider, I like to fill my table with Christmasinspired
sugary treats. Decorate each guest’s plate with candy canes, scatter peppermint candies on the tablecloth, and place a gingerbread house in the center of your table.

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4. Spruce up your chairs

Transform your everyday chairs with beautiful Christmas decorations. Tie wide red ribbons
along the backs and sweep them into a bow. I love gathering my kids for an afternoon of arts and crafts to create angel wings. If you want to get in on the fun, all you’ll need are white feathers, paper, scissors, and glue. Pin the wings to the backs of your chairs and whisk your guests away to a heavenly Christmas dinner!

5. Get creative with your napkins

Dazzle your guests by turning your napkins into Christmas origami. Fold a green napkin into a miniature Christmas tree and tack a sparkly bow on top. Or transform red napkins into pointy elf shoes. I always make sure to have extra napkins on hand — just in case my guest find my creations too exquisite to use.

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6. Design Christmas greetings place cards

Part of creating the perfect meal is planning the perfect seating arrangements. Welcome your guests to the table with personalized Christmas greetings place cards . Your guests will feel flattered that you crafted each one specially for them.

7. Light up the night

Add some magic to your Christmas Eve meal with special lighting. Dot your table with white, red, and green candles. When there are children present, I recommend placing the candles in glass votives or stringing multicolored Christmas lights throughout the room.

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8. Reimagine the Christmas stocking

Christmas stockings need not be limited to the fireplace mantel. Set a stocking next to each guest’s plate and fill it with a fork, knife, and spoon. As a bonus, I like to include a few candies, too. There’s nothing like seeing my guests’ eyes light up when they dig into their stockings and find a little surprise.

9. Add some jingle

When I hear the sound of bells, I know the most wonderful time of year has arrived! Bring those happy bells home by tying them to the corners of your tablecloth. Each time the tablecloth rustles, your guests will be elated to hear the bells jingle.

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10. Decorate with plates
Festive dinnerware will make your Christmas meal all the more appetizing. Add holiday cheer with Christmas colored plates. Or place a small white plate adjacent to a big white plate and decorate your snowman! I did this last year and my guests absolutely loved it — especially the kids.

11. Imbibe in red and green

Welcome your guests with festive red and green drinks — both delicious and decadent. Create the green Grinch with Midori, lemon juice, and syrup. For a nonalcoholic delight, I recommend serving fruit punch with red and green straws.

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12. Make it a white Christmas

I love watching the snow fall from the cozy corners of my own home. Invite the beautiful snow inside with simple Christmas decoration. Cover your tablecloth with white crocheted doilies that resemble snowflakes. Or sprinkle glitter along the table, creating the sparkle of fresh snow – without the chill.

13. Spice it up Christmas style

With the aroma of a home- cooked meal drifting from your kitchen, your house will smell its very best. Delight your guests with an added Christmas scent by displaying cinnamon oil soaked pinecones on the table or a sage wreath on the dining room door.

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14. Create a captivating centerpiece

Draw your guests’ eyes toward the center of your table with a beautiful Christmas decoration. Fill a large bowl with colorful Christmas ball ornaments, display a decorated miniature Christmas tree, or pile a few gift wrapped boxes on top of one another and tie them together with a bow. Just be sure to let the kids know that their real presents are under the tree.

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15. Shower your guests with love

Christmas is a time of friendship, generosity, and hope. I like to show my guests how much they mean to me by creating personalized Christmas slideshows , complete with photos, loving messages, and holiday designs. Play them for your guests between courses, and then deliver them to their inboxes. They will be sure to cherish their slideshows for years to come. What are some of your favorite DIY Christmas table settings?

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