Setting the perfect table

Next to the joy of seeing your children open their gifts on Christmas morning, probably the most anticipated event is your holiday meal. Golden brown turkey, a glistening ham, a perfect roast or succulent salmon – whatever your go-to is to celebrate the season, be sure to give it a helping hand with a perfectly set table.

Candace Sutcliffe, president of C.A. Paradis/Chef’s Paradise in the Glebe and an award-winning designer, offers her top 6 tips for the perfect table setting no matter how big the gathering.

  • Set a theme: Whether it’s a colour or a style, keep the styling consistent throughout. If you choose an eclectic theme, stick to neutral colours so as not to overwhelm the eye.

  • Plan your dinnerware around your meal: Prepare your menu in advance and match your dinnerware to the dish. Food is like art; it always shows best on white. Consider using an oversized plate for a small dish to add drama and flair.

  • Glassware is another important element: Repurpose what you have for different uses. Martini glasses are great for shrimp cocktail or frozen desserts. If you plan to serve multiple wine courses, it's important to use glasses that will hold 3-6 oz. per serving so as not to overfill. A variety of champagne glasses always adds a touch of glamour.

  • Find funky flatware: Forks and knives may seem utilitarian, but they can add a touch of elegance. If you’re using everyday cutlery, consider embellishing them by wrapping them in a decorative cutlery wrap or napkin tied with a dainty ribbon or twine for a more rustic look.

  • Table linens should be clean and pressed: Consider adding a solid placemat above a colourful tablecloth to tone down the pattern, or layer two placemats, one horizontal over a coordinating vertical, to add depth and texture.

  • Finishing touches: Keep floral arrangements and vases below sightlines so that you won’t block face-to-face conversation. Candles should be fragrance-free and out of harm's way.

Most of all, enjoy this time with your family and friends. We wish you all the best for a joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

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