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Monday, December 14, 2015

How I set an Elegant Christmas Table

I wanted to share how I set a semi-formal table.    I think more about what is functional and looks pretty rather than what the "rule book" says.

Most people set the bread plate and knife right at the top of the dinner plate.....  I prefer it on the left side.     I like the dessert plate,  fork and spoon,  and the after dinner coffee cup at the top....out of the way until we need them!

I like several glasses on the right side of the dinner plate for wine ....white,  red,  or champagne....or they can have a sip of each if they want to.     I put the water glass on the left side of the dinner plate. (most people are right handed,  so I put the water on the left because they probably won't drink as much water as they do wine.   Or at least my guests usually don'! 

This is a more casual setting.    Dessert,  salad,  and entree fork on the left .......cutting knife, tea spoon and soup spoon on the right.    If the knife is sharp,  always turn the sharp edge toward the plate.     In this example,  I have the bread and butter knife at the top of the dinner plate as you would normally see it.

I want my tables to be pretty and functional.    I would rather a guest have too many glasses, forks,  or spoons as not enough.  

 I want to stress that I do not set the table like this when it is a family dinner with my grands!   I would set a table this way if I were having a special dinner for couples only! 

This setting works beautifully.......put the napkin in your lap,   set the soup bowl on your salad plate,  the soup spoon is on the right of the bowl.   When you are done with your soup,   set the bowl aside .   Your small salad plate will then be exposed and you are ready to have your salad......and the small fork for the salad is the first one on the left.

First and foremost,  I want my guest to be comfortable.    Also,  be sure there is plenty of space between your guests for all their dishes.    I have mine too close together so I could show you as many examples as possible.   I would  remove one of the settings from the side if  I was actually going to seat people at this table.
  I try to set a casual  tone for the meal at the beginning by telling my have plenty of glasses, forks and spoons,  just use what works best for you!     

Have fun with your tablescapes......

Use unexpected items in the setting.....
If the place settings are getting too crowded,  set the coffee cups and dessert plates somewhere else......
Don't be afraid to use your best "stuff" for adult dinners.     It's a whole different ball game when there are children at the table... then you will probably want to.use paper plates and plastic serving bowls!

I hope this post has given you some tips on how to set a pretty and functional table for your holiday dinners.

Merry Christmas


  1. So pretty... and the pops of gold really finish it all off!\

  2. How beautiful! The entire table just sparkles! Penny, a lady left me a message one time on my blog that I did not set the table properly. I thought she had too much time on her hands!

  3. Love your Blog cover photo of your superlative Mantel, just Glorious! Love all your suggestions for fine dining, nothing beats a beautifully adorned table. Totally enjoyed this post. Merry Christmas Penny and Mr. HE!

  4. Everything looks so pretty! Wow!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  5. Bonsoir,

    De la jolies vaisselles, un décor de fête... tout est parfait pour accueillir Noël.
    De superbes photos.

    Gros bisous ♡

  6. What wonderful mixed up combinations of pretty and shiny things. Love the gloves too. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  7. I am swinging by from blog hop. You did a fantastic job on setting your table. I call elegant, unique and exquisite. It gives me a warm cozy feeling. Nice indeed. Whenever you have a chance your welcome to visit my site as well. Happy Holidays!

  8. Oh how this does bring back memories. Went to a private high school for girls and this type of learning was an everyday experience for us. I so remember my grandmother and her festive dinners and fine china and glassware. I have all of these things but seldom set a table like this. This Christmas because our family is so large and extending at a fast pace, we plan an open house type day with constant flow of children and grands. I do enjoy using all my fine serving dishes but will probably use designed paper plates. Enjoy your Christmas

  9. So pretty Penny.. Those pink stockings are adorable~ Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on G+! Have a great week!

  10. Wow! I am almost ; ) speechless! Your table setting is so gorgeous. All the choices you made are beautiful. I love that you adorned each chair with something different...especially the coat. And your header is just amazing. Truly.

  11. Beautiful Penny, yes it is very elegant. Lots of time and thought into creating this gorgeous design.

  12. Oh Penny what a beautiful table setting, everything is amazing. I love how you mixed up the silver and gold flatware and of course the china is amazing. What fun it must be to go about laying out your tablescape, your guest must be dazzled with your talent!!

    Thank you for sharing on the Oh My Heartsie Girls Linky Party each week.
    Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas!

  13. Gorgeous! Stunning! So elegant and pretty. I like how you displayed one of the cups and saucers with the stand. Your napkin rings are stunning. Merry Christmas

  14. Penny,
    What a beautiful table!! And as long as your guests enjoy their meal, it makes no difference if the table is set according to the Rule Book. Rules are made to be broken!! LOL!!
    Love your stemware and china!!


  15. Your table setting is beautiful and I love your china with the delicate blue and pink pattern. The napkin rings are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  16. It's very pretty! Love the napkin rings, and I agree use things that you love and the way that you like them. I agree, it's important to have fun with your tablescapes! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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