1. FORGETTING THE CANDLES
For any formal dinner, ambient lighting is a must. Whether you eat Christmas dinner at 1pm, 4pm or 9pm, a gentle and warm glow rather than a harsh overhead light can make all the difference. That's why candles are your best friend when it comes to setting the table. Of course, if you're eating in the evening you'll want to make sure you can actually see the plate in front of you, so don't just rely on candles. Use soft side lighting and floor lamps around your dining room to make sure the room is bright enough to be practical without being too stark.
2. NOT CONSIDERING YOUR LINE OF SIGHT
Sticking on the topic of candles, tapered candles in tall holders are the best way to add a festive glow to your dining table without interrupting the conversation between the two people sitting opposite one another. If you're worried about them falling over or setting light to your floral table center, opt for a row of tea lights instead. Pillar candles or elaborate candelabras will make your space look cluttered and prove especially tricky when it comes to passing around the roast potatoes. 'One of the key mistakes made is blocking lines of sight - easy conversation is still the most important element of any meal,' says Kate Fairlie of TruffleTablescapes. 'Tapered candles are tall but slim so you can be liberal with these – they won’t stop people conversing across a table.'
3. NOT EMBRACING THE FESTIVITIES
Your novelty Christmas napkins only come out once a year, so don't forget to make use of them! It might sound like a big effort (and investment) to use Christmas themed dinnerware when setting the dinner table on December 25th, but festive plates, glassware and placemats can make all the difference to your dining experience. Not only does it look the part, but it shows guests you've gone the extra mile.
3. FORGETTING A CENTERPIECE
There's more than just dinnerware involved when setting a table, there's decor too. Never was that more true than for the Christmas dinner table; after all, it's the decorative elements that make a Christmas table setting 'Christmassy'. While smaller details are important, it's the larger statements like the centerpiece that really steal the show. When it comes to how to decorate a Christmas table, a festive floral centerpiece helps tie your whole table together by creating a focal point on the table and adding some height to your display. 'Although very full, tall decorations look impressive, we either display these as guests arrive and remove prior to the meal, or to stick to smaller posies of flowers in bud vases and lower seasonal decorations which can be dotted down the center of your table,' says Kate.
4. NOT PROTECTING YOUR TABLE
Hot plates and gravy spills are an inevitable part of Christmas meal times, but they don't have to pose a risk to your dining table as long as you have a tablecloth and placemats to protect it. With more plates (and probably more people) sitting around your dining table at Christmas, it's more important to take these measures to minimize damage from spills or burns.
5. SKIPPING NAPKINS
Just as every formal dinner should have napkins, so should your Christmas meal. Forgetting this addition to your table setting can also prove pretty awkward if guests accidentally spill their food - and let's face it, after several mulled wines, that's not an unlikely scenario.
6. NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Even if you're only sharing Christmas Day with your nearest and dearest, this isn't your standard mid-week dinner. The special finishing touches to your table setting help to make it the magical Christmas you deserve.