On the lookout for Christmas inspiration that’s a little out of the ordinary? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve teamed up with London cook and food writer Anna Barnett to create our alternative guide to Christmas entertaining.
As a seasoned foodie and hostess, Anna knows a thing or two about throwing a good Christmas party. Here she shakes up the Christmas traditions and shares her three unexpected table setting ideas for festive celebrations.
Three Alternative Dinner Table Looks
I love tradition but there is something really exciting about designing a table that really takes your guests by surprise. Being creative with contemporary Christmas decorations, foliage, food, music and finishing touches all goes towards creating an amazing seasonal experience for your guests.
LOOK ONE: BACK TO NATURE
Try this refreshing, Antipodean inspired scheme that brings together eucalyptus, fruits and warming metallics.
TIP ONE: THE HANGING DISPLAY
Here’s I’ve used a small bunch of willow branches attached to two leather straps (or you can use ribbon) to hang above the table or kitchen counter. Hang from the ceiling centrally or alternatively you can hang from the ceiling against a wall for a striking wall decoration. Select a colour palette of 2-3 colours (here we’ve used gold and orange) and attach a selection of lightweight baubles to the branches at different heights using invisible thread. Here, we’ve also added in some miniature Christingles. You can attach to the ceiling with white drawing pins or small tacks. Alternatively if you have a pendant light or chandelier, y ou can always hang baubles from these using the invisible thread.
TIP TWO: THE CENTREPIECE
This is so easy to create. Simply lay a line of eucalyptus stems the length of the table and intersperse with warm gold, copper or bronze baubles which reflect candlelight. The colours look incredible together and the eucalyptus gives off a great relaxing aroma. You can also add in fruits such as pomegranates, walnuts, oranges – here I’ve spray painted some of them gold too. Then add in a selection of candlesticks (marble or metallic) of different heights to create some atmospheric lighting.
GET THE LOOK
LOOK TWO: THE DARK SIDE
Black isn’t normally a colour that most people think of to decorate with at Christmas but you can create really dramatic table schemes with a cool, contemporary vibe.
TIP ONE: HOW TO MAKE BLACK WORK
Black is actually a great base to accentuate colour and texture. I’ve used black dinnerware as the base to this look and then layered gold and pine on top. Adding texture – like the pine fronds and pompoms – helps add warmth to this look, rather than being too stark. Layering fir tree branches down the centre of the table and entwining battery operated fairy lights will create a stunning centrepiece, giving a cool Scandi feel as well as filling the room with a pine scent.
TIP TWO: NAME PLACES
Can we talk about these Eye baubles?! A great tip is to always take a look in the decorations section to get some inspiration for your dining table. A favourite of mine is to use baubles as name places for the dinner table. Attach gift tags to each bauble as a name card and then guests can then also take the bauble away with them to decorate their own tree.
GET THE LOOK
Look Three: Viva La Fiesta
If you love colour then this one’s for you! I’ve used a traditional seasonal palette of red and gold as a base but then thrown in a ‘fiesta’ vibe with OTT patterned baubles, sequins and glitter. Lots of glitter.
TIP ONE: GARLANDS
So-long paper-chains – lightweight sequin garlands are the way forward! Attach multiple together and string across the dining table for a festoon effect. They are not as chunky as those old- school garlands and the sequin garlands reflect candle light for a kitsch but elegant look.
TIP TWO: THE PLACE SETTING
I’m always looking for unusual ways to make a place setting. For these name places, I’ve attached gift tags to small cocktail crackers but you can always use bigger versions too. I’ve also used these wool tassel tree decorations here as a cutlery tie or you could always use as a napkin ring. Again these also act as nice takeaway favours for guests to decorate their own home.