It’s Christmas Eve! Dinner is in the oven, It’s a Wonderful Life is playing in the living room and the kids are scrubbed and dressed before your relatives arrive. Once you’ve checked all the big items off your list, it’s time to think about the little things. Sometimes it’s the small details that can make the biggest difference of all. We spoke with lifestyle and entertaining expert Kelly Lyden to get the scoop on how she prepares her home for Christmas dinner. Take a look at her top 5 tips, below.
1. Layer your table. Put down a patterned tablecloth or runner and add a woven or metal charger plate at each seat. Stack dishes at each table setting for height and drama, rather than placing bowls and bread plates to the side.
2. Use placecards. “I always use placecards,” says Lyden. “Whether I’m setting a table for two or 12. It adds a personal touch to your table, and with a larger group, it ensures your guests will have stimulation conversation no matter where they’re seated.”
3. Mix up your seating arrangements. “I tend to alternate men and women,” says Lyden. “However I do mix married couples a bit — perhaps seating them across from each other versus next to each other.”
4. Consider a kids’ table. A children’s table tends to work best when there are four or more children over the age of three. “I always provide activities for the children — coloring pages with crayons, a mini tic-tac-toe game or a small table gift to keep them occupied for just a bit longer,” says Lyden.
5. Choose your serving style. Buffet or a served dinner? Think about the kind of vibe you want your dinner to have. “For a small, intimate dinner party, I prefer to serve myself and create more of a formal feel,” says Lyden. “But for a larger party, buffets are perfect and the host’s time is freed up to mingle with guests.
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