This year, Christmas is going to be extra special. Last year saw us spending our Christmas on Zoom. Family dinner was an online affair. But this year, with fewer restrictions in place, many families want to spend Christmas sitting around the same table, sharing food and laughing at the same old cracker jokes.

It doesn't matter if you're planning your own party or hosting others, making Christmas dinner special starts long before the food goes into the oven. The right table setting can change everything. It shows attention to detail and can help bring a little extra magic to the day.

Whether you're hosting family, inviting friends or catering for an entire village, here's our guide to making sure everyone enjoys Christmas lunch.

Pick a theme (and stick to it)

Christmas is a very exciting time, and it's easy to get carried away. A good table setting should be harmonised and not overwhelming. A table setting should subtly complement festivities and not be distracting. Sticking to a theme will help bring everything together, and for larger parties, it helps keep everything coordinated across multiple tables.

Think about the seating plan

Keeping conversation flowing is all about having a good seating plan. Try to avoid sitting couples together to encourage mixing. If you have multiple tables or are hosting separate groups, make sure there is enough space between tables and ensure that groups have room to celebrate and talk loudly without disturbing others.

ted tablecloth

Prepare for mess

A table cloth gives the feeling of a special occasion, and while white linen is classic, it can get messy.  If you're afraid of messes and spills, you can choose a darker colour. This stunning red Amalfi tablecloth means stains and spills won't ruin the day, and the stain release material means one quick wash, and the table cloth can be used again and again without staining or losing its colour.

Cocktails and mocktails

There is an increasing trend for offering non-alcoholic drinks at parties. Many people will be driving, don't want to overindulge, or are simply T-total. Offering multiple non-alcoholic options means everyone can have a good time. If you create a special Christmas cocktail, create a matching mocktail and have several soft drink options during dinner to ensure all guests are happy and can actually drive home.

Serve plates, not food

It's sometimes easier to place plates on the table and the food in the centre or on a buffet table, and let everyone help themselves. To elevate an event, prepare and serve food in the kitchen, so guests remain seated. It avoids chaos as people stand up to reach food, drop the gravy boat on the floor and realise someone else has taken all the good potatoes.

Remember the little details

The extra little touches can make a huge difference. From handwriting place cards to folding napkins into shapes, a little extra goes a long way. Folding napkins into Christmas tree shapes is surprisingly easy, or if origami isn't your forte, you could opt for festive napkin rings.

Check the lighting

Harsh lighting can really ruin a party. Intense, bright, white light directly overhead can leave people feeling tense and unable to relax. Try to opt for warmer, soft LED light from sidelights and electric candles to help people relax. If you are hosting an event, individual table lights look incredible without overpowering the whole room.

It doesn't take much to take a simple table and transform it into a special festive occasion. No matter how you celebrate, we wish you an extra special Christmas with the ones you love.