Mon | Dec 4, 2023

Dressing the table this Christmas

Published:Sunday | December 22, 2019 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley - Gleaner Writer
You can opt for a blue glittery theme for your Christmas dinner.
Break away from the norm and opt for a popping colour for your tablecloth, a sophisticated centrepiece, and be playful with your napkins.
A charger plate offers a trailblazing flair at the table.
Lucette McLean and Shana-Gaye Walcott are experts at setting the table.
Making a Christmas tree with your napkins will have your guests talking.

Setting the table is just as important as preparing food for the grand festive feast on Christmas Day, especially if you’re having friends and family over. So, with the assistance of experts Lucette McLean and Shana-Gaye Walcott, Outlook is helping you to jazz up your table with unique ways to set it and, of course, giving reminders of table etiquette.

Both sidekicks are award winning servers at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. They prepared three examples with decor by D’Mar Concepts to show how to be different.

Like McLean, you may believe that a meal at the dinner table adds to the merriment of the season and often results in a flow of emotions, either from viewing or sitting at the table.

Now is the time to bring out your favourite fine china, silver and crystal utensils. Surely, you’ll want to make a statement. Why not allow the table to do it for you?

You can start with a beautiful and popping tablecloth. It’s typical to dress up the place where you break bread using the traditional green-and-red tablecloth. And that’s fine. But you can break away from the norm and try gold, deep blue, or white, a choice you can never go wrong with. Plus, you can be playful with your napkins.

“You can use coloured napkins and you can fold them. For instance, you can make a Christmas tree or fan with it. But if you find it difficult, you can simply fold it neatly and let it hang,” McLean said.

Other options that you could experiment with are decorating the table with a centrepiece, charger plate (a large decorative base which other dinnerware is placed on top of it) and candles. Still you don’t want to overcrowd the table, or use an intrusive or large centrepiece.

According to McLean, one common mistake that people often make is to use fragrant flowers and candles. Instead, she recommends flameless candles and exotic, unscented blooms.

As the host of the Christmas dinner, it’s very likely that you’ll have to assume the role of a server. Walcott, an expert of four years, has a few pointers to share.

“Remember, you should serve from the left and clear from the right, and ensure children and females are served first. If one of your guests refuses a certain course meal, find out if everything is ok then remove the particular course cutlery. And for those who will be having a large event with a guest of honour, he or she must be served first,” she said.

As the experts explained, the meat you’ll prepare will determine the utensils that you’ll use. And you’re supposed to serve each course according to how long it takes your guests to eat.

One thing you should never forget, is the number of persons you will be serving. It’s better to have an empty space at the table; after all, a hungry man is an angry man.


Here are some table etiquette they want you to remember.

1. Do not talk about things that’ll make somebody lose their appetite.

2. Do not gobble your food.

3. Do not talk with your mouth full.

4. Do not play with your smartphones while at the table.

5. Do not tip your chair or lean on the table.

6. Do not lick your fingers.

7. Keep your elbows off the table.