Sugar and spice and all things nice – festive dining with friends and family is the best part of the season, but a dinner service, a complement of glassware and a flatware set does not a Christmas spread make. This is the dinners of all dinners so it requires a special touch.
For a start, it’s so much more than just the three courses which composes the formal sit down dinner. Discover the Christmas tableware essentials to add to your repertoire this season.
1. Display Stand
Whether a tiered cake stand, a Lazy Susan or a cake dome, your pre-dinner game had best be on top form. Marble, ceramic or glass designs make for great centrepieces and look super classy.
For the canapés themselves, simple but flavourful and not too heavy is best so that you can spend time perfecting the main event. Brie and cranberry filo parcels, prawn cocktail waffle cones and chestnut chipolatas provide all the quintessential Christmas flavours.
2. Nut Bowl
The most enjoyable thing about Christmas dinner is the après-dinner grazing (it seems that on December 25th, three courses just isn’t enough!) but one can only eat so many decadent things.
A selection of nuts is a must have of any Christmas pantry and will be a staple snack throughout the whole of December and New Year. Fill a trio of dishes with interesting flavours or try a handy three-in-one which makes sharing so much easier.
3. Table Jewels
Not just any napkin ring, table jewels are the ultimate accessories of a Christmas spread. Encrusted snowflakes, charming garlands and lustrous metallics elevate a tablescape beyond its usual capacity and give a decidedly Christmas feel.
"Team your napkin jewels with flickering candlelight for a subtle dinnertime light show."
4. Treats Platter
Chocolate, and lots of it! You can’t go wrong with a plate of special chocolates during the festive season. They’re a saving grace when visitors arrive unexpectedly and they don’t spoil as quickly as cheese and other treats do.
An elegant gold or silver platter (particularly a wintery leaf design) looks beautiful on a coffee table and can be repurposed throughout the year. It’s also a great gift idea for a host or hostess.
Image Credit: AERIN
5. Serving Ladles
You might have a serving ladle already but the sheer number of condiments for all the menu options (gravies, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, brandy sauce…) calls for reinforcements. Choose an elegant design which complements your gravy boat.
When choosing any serveware consider materials which will endure many years and which are safe to use with food such as sterling silver, or silver or gold plate.
Who can imagine a Christmas season without cheese and crackers? There isn’t such a thing. And since it’s Christmas, presentation is key. Showcase this ultimate Christmas snack with a refined marble cheeseboard and matching knife or a wooden design for a rustic look.
"The perfect Christmas cheeseboard includes a soft, a hard and a blue so a brie, a fine cheddar and a stilton."
7. Carving Set
The carving of the bird (or the joint if you’re a beef family) is Christmas dinner’s rite of passage, closely followed by the breaking of the wishbone for good luck. As such it requires the appropriate tools.
"A well-made carving set will be one of your most worthwhile Christmas dinner purchases."
8. Canapé Plates
Canapé plates are often the first introduction your guests have to the experience that awaits them which makes them very important. Coordinate your set with your dinner service but, since they won’t be used together, something a little more decorative would be appropriate and really make an impact. Invest in extras too for those bigger guest list cheese and wine nights.
"Canapés preface the main event perfectly by giving guests a taste of what’s to come."
Christmas is when your true host or hostess manifests itself. Where dinner parties – with the fanciest of dressing and most elaborate table spreads – become an art.
A striking centrepiece is the best way to bring it all in and ground all the elements of your spread, all the while looking incredible. A candelabra is Christmas incarnate with its effortless glamour and inherent magic. A frosty garland wound around a set of hurricane jars filled with delicate glass baubles or a glistening low bowl of winter foliage and dried fruit and berries works well if you want to get creative.
10. Special Placemats
It’s Christmas! So don’t be scared to bring out the glitz and glamour. Beading, embellishments or embroidery are the call of the season and elevate a table from formal dinner party to festive feast, transforming even the simplest of white table settings. Match napkins for a cohesive look.