A Perfectly Set Holiday Table A Perfectly Set Holiday Table

The holidays loom around the corner. Are you ready to host a party, dinner, or soirée? Do you know how to set a table to impress? If you’ve always wondered or just forgotten where the fork goes and question whether the cup handle sits at 5 o’clock or 4 o’clock, now’s the time to brush up on how and what it takes to set the perfect table for the holidays. Come on. . . show your mother-in-law that you really can set a table with panache.

Thanksgiving dinner is often a sit-down affair involving candles, a centerpiece, and your best china. If you’re going to use the good dishes, you might as well impress your guests by setting a proper table. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a service charger beneath a stack of dishes or rows of silverware that extend out a foot on each side of the plate. A casual place setting creates enough formality for most families.

Place Setting

Set a dinner plate in front of each chair around the table. Fold the napkins either in a square, rectangle, or triangle and lay them on top of the dinner plate. Put the knife on the right side of the plate with the blade facing toward it. Next to that place a spoon.

Put a dinner fork on the left side of the dinner plate. If salad will be served, place it just outside the dinner fork. Put the salad plate just beyond the salad fork. Put the bread plate above the dinner fork and a bit to the left of the dinner plate. Rest a knife at the top of it.

A stemmed water glass should sit directly across from the bread plate, slightly to the right of the dinner plate, and above the knife. If you're serving wine, place the wine glass to the right of the water glass.

Now that you have the fundamentals of table setting under your belt, invite friends and family over for a holiday dinner and then astonish them with your perfectly set table.

Table Setting

People have an imaginary line that encircles them; it's called the comfort zone. Crowding people too close around a table leads to a stifled dinner atmosphere. Make sure that each person, when seated, has room to move and dine in comfort. Once you’ve arranged the chairs, you can begin setting the table.

Be creative! You don’t always need a white, damask tablecloth to create an elegant table. A runner allows the beauty of a wood table to come through. Just be sure you are adequately protecting your table from hot foods placed on it.

A floral design lends a touch of beauty and class to any tablescape. Opt for a low, horizontal flower arrangement rather than vertical one. Taper candles of the same height on either side of the flowers add symmetry and formality. If you decide on an asymmetrical look instead, use candles of two various heights for added interest and dimension.

A word on napkins: If you’re using your best china, why would you put a flimsy paper napkin next to the elegant plate? Use cloth napkins unless they're not in your budget. In that case, buy a yard of fabric, cut squares out of it, and hem them for a very affordable alternative.

Now that you have the fundamentals of table setting under your belt, invite friends and family over for a holiday dinner and then astonish them with your perfectly set table.

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