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How do you decorate your table if you want to have food in the middle of the table to serve from?

(26 Posts)
secondhoneymoon Wed 01-Nov-17 18:59:54

We like to put tureens of food out on the table. I don't want to plate up before bringing to table as we often do for dinner parties. Laying it out elsewhere is impractical for numerous reasons. But that leaves no room for candles/flowers/bowls of baubles etc. Will have a table runner and and seasonal napkin rings. don't like table confetti. How would you make the table more festive within these constraints?

2014newme Wed 01-Nov-17 19:01:42

Yes it can never look like the magazines because there isnt room! I make small floral arrangements for the table and gave candles and larger arrangements on the console tables

Santawontbelong Wed 01-Nov-17 19:02:33

Strings of festive fairy lights here!!

Silverthorn Wed 01-Nov-17 19:08:21

You're gonna need a bigger table. Or decorate sideboard. I'm planning to hang something from my light fitting which is central to the table.

secondhoneymoon Wed 01-Nov-17 19:16:50

Yes I do decorate the dining room/Sideboard etc. As we spend a lot of time in there over Christmas and hang decorations from the light over the table. Table is big but full of people! Maybe just have to accept there's not room

GherkinSnatch Wed 01-Nov-17 19:18:30

I think you'll struggle without a huge table tbh. I've tried looking on Pinterest and the only thing that vaguely looks like it would work with having serving dishes on the table is a plank going down the middle of the table in lieu of a runner, which then means that the food is slightly higher than the plates etc, which could make decorating with greenery etc easier because it's not too busy on all one level.

Would it be an option to plate up the main elements that everyone has (so at my Christmas dinner that would be the turkey, potatoes, carrots) and then have some of the sides and condiments (if you're cranberry sauce inclined) available for self-service in the table?

2014newme Wed 01-Nov-17 19:21:42

My table is big but with 12 of us and a tonne of good the bowls if baubles can't be accommodated

secondhoneymoon Wed 01-Nov-17 19:28:28

Plank is a possibility, thank you. Don't really want to plate anything to be honest.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheSlimeGoes Wed 01-Nov-17 19:38:57

We put the decorations out when we lay the table in the morning (it's in the kitchen so in full view) but they get moved off for the meal, it's a rectangular table and we use a row of square serving dishes down the middle. Still looks festive with a special tablecloth and runner plus crystal wine glasses.

ClashCityRocker Wed 01-Nov-17 19:41:11

One of my friends once hung baubles by thin wire from the ceiling at different heights. It looked quite good.

minipie Wed 01-Nov-17 19:41:57

We have a pretty tablecloth and napkins, and a cracker each, and that's it. Candles and other decorations are kept for the rest of the room. It looks fine! I think once you have glassware and cutlery on the table and candles elsewhere it all looks nicely sparkly anyway. Better to have enough space for food and drink than everyone curse the centrepiece that gets in the way.

Plank sounds nice but I'd worry about larger dishes toppling to one side

Polyanthus Wed 01-Nov-17 21:11:40

Can you decorate the chairs at all? The backs of mine are wooden and I tied big bows in tulle netting - I have used white and a deep burgundy and it can look quite good. You could also attach greenery depending on the style of chair.

I know you don't like table confetti but I have seen silver chocolate dragees (or sugared almonds) scattered over a tablecloth to good effect. I guess chocolate coins might work too.

secondhoneymoon Wed 01-Nov-17 22:11:45

Some good ideas, thank you.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 01-Nov-17 22:21:17

How do people help themselves at a big table? I mean I often put food in the middle of the table for a family dinner for us to help ourselves, but there are only six of us; everything is reachable.

There will probably be 10 or 12 of us for Christmas dinner, huge table and loads of hot dishes and plates, I can't see that helping yourself is practicable.

ShiftyMcGifty Wed 01-Nov-17 22:40:58

1/ Weave greenery in between the bowls of food. Look at Pinterest and replace candles/decorative items with bowls of food.ivy, pine branches, rosemary, eucalyptus...

2/ tape/fasten with thumbtack small, fresh greenery like mint and rosemary twigs to bottom of round serving plates to form a wreath... I can't find a picture on Pinterest but something


3/ decorate edges of serving plates with ring of greens and cherry tomatoes to look like a festive wreath

ShiftyMcGifty Wed 01-Nov-17 22:43:58

Sorry, something like this but on a much smaller scale with herbs for the serving plate wreath. Maybe do 2-3 "plate wreaths" for mains and smaller regular plates for sides

peachy94 Thu 02-Nov-17 00:25:36

My mums table, the dishes of food go on the mats in the middle and you have to try not to burn yourself on the candles as you reach for food

Insomnibrat Thu 02-Nov-17 01:28:25

We weave a couple of strings of decorative lights between everything across the table. Looks really effective.

pallisers Thu 02-Nov-17 01:33:54

Is there any way you could rig up a space for the food somewhere creative (on top of the piano, on the coffee table, on the hob once all is cooked?) If not, I would not do candles but would weave fairy lights in and out the table and then place food on the table.

2014newme Thu 02-Nov-17 06:40:31

@peachy94 get your mum a tablecloth for Xmas!

WhoKn0wsWhereTheSlimeGoes Thu 02-Nov-17 07:12:52

Tinkly we pass the serving dishes around, same as at a normal mealtime. So wreaths around dishes wouldn't work for us. I would also rather dispense with table decorations than have all the food lined up on the kitchen counter buffet style, it's more relaxing when everyone serves themselves at the table.

2014newme Thu 02-Nov-17 07:16:24

We would not have room fir wreathed dishes but we have plenty floral arrangements on the console tables

RoganJosh Thu 02-Nov-17 07:18:01

I tie red and gold ribbons round the wine glass stems in bows. It adds a bit of colour but doesn’t take up any room.

secondhoneymoon Thu 02-Nov-17 08:21:13

Tinkly, i serve double of everything so each end of the table gets a platter of turkey, bacon wrapped sausages, prunes and apricots; stuffing balls potAtoes.. Then a dish of mixed veg - carrots, sprouts, mashed swede, Parmesan parsnips. Most of our lot don't like red cabbage so just a couple of small dishes of those and gravy at each end.

Annwithnoe Thu 02-Nov-17 09:26:35

Command hooks and fishing line to hang baubles from the ceiling.
Talk candle sticks with greenery on top, centrepiece, plates with napkins and a festive nameplate, crackers and layers of cloths, sparkling crystal, gleaming silverware.
The starter is served plated so everyone can appreciate the table in all it's glory. Then centrepiece, name plates and crackers get cleared.
I serve sides in small (soup/cereal) bowls with two spoons in each and refill/replace before I sit down. turkey and ham are brought to the table carved (I don't carve at the table for various reasons). There's a side board near the table to put things onto to make space as necessary. It's crowded but that's half the fun of Christmas.
Also helps that the dc eat and run off to play with toys so that also creates more space and by the end of the meal it's very relaxed.

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