This December will be the first ever time that we’ve hosted Christmas dinner (well, in the UK … I think we did it once or twice when we lived in Switzerland but the memories are vague … too much glühwein). At the last count, there’s twelve of us in total, and you might be surprised to hear that I’m very relaxed about it all. For one good reason. I’m not doing the cooking. Nope. It’s not my responsibility. Paul’s taking full control and he has a timed-to-the-minute spreadsheet ready to go (alongside a note to buy gin and snacks in case it doesn’t quite go to plan).
My job on the day? Faffing! My favourite thing to do. Pouring drinks, plumping cushions, lighting candles, sneaking chocolates and most importantly, laying the (sprout-free) table. While I love a bit of dark glamour come December and swoon over settings lit solely by candles, with nine adults, two children and one baby, I’m opting for a family-friendly Scandi-themed Christmas table. Think warmth, texture, natural elements, and a handmade vibe … relaxed but that little bit special.
Not wanting to leave it until last-minute, and in order to show you the kind of thing that I have in mind, with a little bit of help from Portmeirion (and my mum to unravel the fairy lights) I’ve been practising. And not just with a food-free table, you’ll note. Any excuse to sample the festive sweet treats asap, right?
So what do you think?
Do you like it?
There’s always a balance to be found when laying a table for a family with a mixed range of ages. You want the grown ups to feel like they’re being treated to something wonderful but for the children to feel really comfortable, too.
Let me talk you through the key elements of my family-friendly Scandi-themed Christmas table:
The subtly stylish Choices tableware collection
While I’m a huge fan of the Spode Italian Blue range, I want to use a dinner set with a more minimal look and feel at Christmas but one that still has a bit of character. The subtly stylish Choices collection coming in three classic pastel colours is exactly that. It’s a simple but chic set that works so well as the perfect backdrop to the biggest feast of the year.
Of course you could choose just one colour - blue, white or green - but why limit yourself? They’re colours that cry out to sit next to one another on your beautifully laid table so my suggestion would be to mix and match. I opted for large blue plates, smaller white plates, and gorgeous green bowls (perhaps my favourite colourway of the three).
I mixed and matched the cups and saucers and serving jugs (serving gold coins, of course … what else?), choosing a set of two white cups and saucers and a set of two blue, and a large 2 pint white jug (it would make an amazing vase for a floral centrepiece) and a blue 1 pint jug.
My biggest surprise with the Choices tableware collections is how delicate it looks compared to how sturdy it feels. How does that saying go? It’s not just for Christmas … it would make a great everyday set, too. And it looks amazing against my table cloth from Magic Linen - the stripes really add to the relaxed but celebratory atmosphere that I wanted to create.
We’re all about the Christmas crafts in this house, particularly ones which result in things that not only looks good but are useful, too. Check out my Christmas crackers tutorial for something that we’ll be adding to our table on big day but for this Scandi Christmas table I enlisted the boys to make place names (good for handwriting practise) and drinks coasters. You can just about spot them under the pretty Ferm Living glasses.
We used air drying clay cut in to a circular shape with a biscuit cutter and then painted them white and dripped blue and green acrylic paint on to them to match the Choices tableware. Sealed with a layer of Mod Podge gloss, they were simple to make, look effective and kept the kiddos entertained for a couple of hours. I can highly recommend it.
Wood And Greenery
It wouldn’t be a Scandinavian table setting without the use of natural materials, wood, in particular. The pastel colours of the tableware provide the light and the wooden decorations, the warmth (both very important during the darker days in Scandinavia). They stop the table from being almost too cool - in tone, not in a ‘that’s so cool, dude’ kind of way.
I chose little stars that come in two pieces and slot together (great for the kids to play with if they get bored) and jars filled with wooden sticks and greenery … fake for longevity but I’m tempted to make real versions for the big day to add a more festive scent to the table.
A hint of metal
Metallics offer a similar but slightly different effect to wooden accessories in that they add warmth to a table but also a really lovely reflective glow. And if ever you want to sit down to a table that positively gleams and glows, it’s at Christmas, right? Think golden cutlery, hammered metal containers and children’s favourite … golden coins! They’re only small; one or two won’t ruin their appetite but it may keep them in their seats for a few minutes longer.
Get that scented golden glow
Last year, I went to a beautiful dinner in a hotel in London where the room was lit solely with scented candles. It looked and smelt amazing. And every time I catch a sniff of that scent, I’m whisked straight back to that evening.
It’s a difficult thing to recreate when you have young children but I’ve found ceramic Christmas trees that I can pop scented tea lights in to without risk of napkins and crackers being passed over the table and catching on fire, or the boys using them as some sort of instrument to create chocolate coin fondue. Now I can have that lovely and cosy candle-lit glow with a scent that we’ll only use at Christmas time. Magical!
So all I need to do now, is recreate this table for four for one for twelve. And then sit back and watch Paul cook. Gin and tonic, anyone?
There are a few other fabulous bloggers styling tables for Portmeirion with their different ranges.
Kimberly – Swoon Worthy
Jen - Love Chic Loving
Fiona - FiFi McGee
Dani - The Social Kitchen
Heledd - Running in Lavender
Nadia – Scandi Mummy
Carine - Bodie and Fou
Have you thought about your Christmas table yet? Do you think about your Christmas table? Let me know. With it being our first proper Christmas in our new house, I’m curious (nosy) to hear what everyone else does.
This post was written in collaboration with one of my absolute faves, Portmeirion.