Simple, yet Festive Christmas Dinner Tablescapes and Recipes

We know not everyone is a tablescape specialist, and we know the pressure is high during the holiday season, so we’ve come up with four fabulous tablescape ideas for your Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner. Plus, we have some fabulous holiday recipes to inspire your meal!

Christmas is less than five days away, which is definitely exciting. But it also means everyone is in non-stop holiday stress mode. Let’s face it. Between gifts for family, friends, and neighbors, full-fledged dinners, holiday cards (how many envelopes can you address before your hand starts cramping?), last-minute work cramming, and the many parties you should probably attend, you’re swamped.

Christmas tree ornaments

Don’t worry—we’re there with you. The good news for you is that our last minute work cramming is to ensure you have a smoother and less stressful holiday. If you haven’t planned your holiday dinner yet, you’re in luck. We have several festive tablescapes and recipes that can take the planning and decision-making off your overflowing to-do list.

Whether you have your big meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, whether you celebrate formally or casually, whether your style is traditional or modern, we’ve got ideas. Copy them word for word or just let them spark your imagination and head in an entirely new direction. Either way, you and your family deserve a stress-free holiday (it is a holiday after all), so let us help!

WINTER WONDERLAND

We’re based in the decidedly un-snowy Texas, so winter wonderland is still a bit of a fantasy for us. Go for a theme this year and bring the winter wonderland into your home for your holiday feast! Focus on whites and woodsy items, and in no time at all, you’ll have an elegant, but fun tablescape design.

snow

We suggest a simple white tablecloth to start. Then, these wooden slices are appropriately woodsy chargers for your table. Use plates that are icy blue or pine green and look for clear glasses with gold rims. Flatware can be silver or gold—both are appropriate.

Use flatware with an ornate design to add a traditional natural feel, and use streamlined flatware to keep the table modern and icily sleek. Keep your napkins simple—we recommend a neutral color. Slip these adorable reindeer napkin rings on them for a fun flair.

For the centerpiece, these beautiful bottles look stunning when holding white hydrangeas, rosemary, or cotton stems. Our rule? Use the real deal! There’s no way to achieve a proper winter wonderland tablescape without fresh plants on the table.

MINIMALIST TRADITIONALIST

If you’re a traditionalist, we don’t blame you. Christmas colors are red and green, and they certainly have a place on the table. However, being a traditionalist doesn’t mean you can’t do something innovative and contemporary this year for your holiday dinner. Go the minimalist route and keep the design simple and sleek to achieve a new take on tradition.

minimalist decor

First, set up your table with these delicate, lace placemats. They come in silver and gold—just choose whichever you prefer. We love to keep it simple. So, for plates, use thin white plates on the bottom with a light green bowl or second smaller plate atop (whichever you need for your meal). Silverware and napkins are up to you, but we suggest a sleek design. This will keep your tablescape contemporary.

Instead of a napkin holder, take a few of these pine needle sprigs and tie them together with a thin red ribbon. Place each bundle on a plate. Then, make your own name cards! Grab some nice white cardstock, cut to the desired size, fold in half, and write your guests’ names in a silver or gold marker on the bottom half. You should be able to fold them in half and prop them up in front of the glasses without an issue.

For a centerpiece, candles are a must-have if you want tradition. For simplicity, place candles in clear, glass tumblers. You can put lay these out on the center of the table as you wish. For more decor, buy these fake pomegranates and splay them across and around the candles. Use greenery—remaining pine needles, rosemary, or holly and ivy—and spread them around the pomegranates.

THE COLOR NON-CONFORMIST

Okay, so you’re not a traditionalist. We love that too. Ditch the red and green entirely this year. Who said they were the only Christmas colors anyway?

ornaments

This checkered runner is a fun, patterned base to begin your table decor. But in truth, these glasses (set from Amazon) are going to be the star of your table. They’re multicolored, but in appropriate winter tones. Center your plate choices around these glasses. For example, you can use a slate gray charger with cream plates on top. We recommend silver flatware. If you like, take a thin, jewel-toned ribbon and simply tie the napkins as if the ribbon were a napkin ring.

Use a thick brown paper for name cards—a wider, all caps font would suit the table aesthetic well. For the center of the table, use this Crate and Barrel modern brass candle holder. You could also fill wide-mouthed vases or mason jars (whichever you have) with cranberries. Don’t worry—alongside the jewel tones, the red won’t look too traditional.

CASUAL & FOR KIDS

Some families are large and have a separate kids table. Some families are outnumbered by young people. Some families are just plain casual. Whatever the case, there’s a stylish holiday table for you too. This tablescape keeps it casual and mess-free. You won’t need to do any dishes, but it will still be fun and exciting for you and your guests.

child on Christmas

For a mess-free and engaging tablecloth, you can simply roll out this black art paper roll like a runner (or tablecloth, depending on your table size). Then, use this white marker to write on it! If you’re feeling artsy, you can scrawl out the lyrics to your favorite Christmas song or favorite feel-good quote. If you’re an artist, draw your favorite holiday scene! If you want to lessen the workload, just hand out a pen (or white pencil) to each of your guests and have them do the work throughout dinner. You’ll have everyone entertained—especially the kids.

For this tablescape, paper and plastic are your best friends. Luckily, nowadays there are loads of options for elegant plastic plates and flatware—Amazon has some great fast-arriving options. Top off your plate with a present! Fill it with something small for each guest or use candy. We love these cardboard boxes tied with this teal ribbon. Whatever you fill the gifts with, your guests will love the surprise. The presents can also double as name cards.

Keep the centerpiece simple and uninvolved. You can buy a bouquet at the grocery store and place it in a clear vase or, even easier, use your favorite ornaments and lay them amongst fake snow or fake pine leaves. It’ll look great, be fun, and come together easily.

So, now you have your table decor, which leaves the hardest part—the actual dinner. We know you have your traditions, but we’ve included some of our favorite, holiday recipes to make your preparations a little easier.

THE MEAL

In truth, we suggest keeping the menu uncomplicated. Everyone loves good food, and good food will outshine quantity and complexity every single time. There’s no need to stress out about it at all. Here are some recipes that make up our ideal Christmas or Christmas Eve dinner. Pick and choose what you will, or copy the meal dish by dish.

For your appetizer, start with this simple apple and maple-cider salad. It’s fresh, light, and seasonally appropriate.

Our preference is to keep side dishes veggie-centric. This delicious creamed spinach is an all-time classic and is extraordinarily easy to throw together. Add it to these divine brussels sprouts, and you and your guests will be rolling in veggie heaven.

Alas, what would a Christmas dinner be without prime rib? Although the meat is always the hardest part to cook, this prime rib recipe is manageable and very clear. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be surprised at your cooking prowess.

Now, for the carbs. Add this rich twice-baked cheddar potato casserole and these delicious honey whole wheat rolls to the table. They’re absolute crowd pleasers!

It’s everyone’s favorite part—DESSERT. At Gardenuity, we believe in treating yourself (i.e. we believe in multiple desserts). At our ideal dinner, the showstopper would be this tasty chocolate peppermint cheesecake, with this gingerbread fudge and chocolate toffee to snack on!

Yes, holidays can be extraordinarily stressful, but they are also sure to contain some of the highlights of the year for you and your family. So don’t let the stress of your holiday dinner overwhelm you! Keep it simple by using our easy tablescape ideas and meal plan.

Most importantly, use this time to bond with family, appreciate the gifts life gives us, and eat good food! Just because you’re the one planning it all doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the holidays too.

Tag us on Facebook or Instagram with your holiday tablescapes! We can’t wait to see your spin on these ideas, and we’re positive the food will be wonderful. Happy holidays!