10 Festive Christmas Table Decoration Ideas That Come Together in No Time

updated Nov 28, 2023
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Holiday table with overhead garlands and small lights, candles on table

‘Tis the season for trimming trees, decking halls, and nesting away in our cozy abodes. There’s something special about the way we decorate for Christmas — creating meaningful moments inspired by tradition, while also celebrating current decor trends. We put together a list of DIY Christmas table decoration tips and ideas guaranteed to spread cheer in your home this year, no matter how you choose to celebrate. And we’re not just going to tell you what we think is best — we have experts for that. Consider this your go-to guide to styling and crafting some rockin’ centerpieces.

Tips for DIY Christmas Table Decorations

These are a few of the best decorating pointers from interior designer Caren Rideau, author of Caren Rideau: Kitchen Designer, Vintner, Entertaining at Home.

1. Choose pieces that tell a story.

For Rideau, an interesting holiday table is one that’s set with interesting pieces. They might be heirloom serving pieces, glasses purchased in an interesting place, or soup bowls carried home from an interesting adventure. “This always starts conversations with my guests,” she says. “When my guests come to my home I want my table to tell a story.”

2. Embrace color.

Sure, you can buy service for eight in a monotone color, but that can be super blah, says Rideau who picks up colorful pottery everywhere she travels, from Europe and Asia to the U.S. And it’s those hand-selected pieces that add a distinct look to her holiday table. “I’m not one of those people that puts a beautiful pottery dish in a closet and leaves it there,” she says. “I use everything I bring back.”

3. Mix and match.

Recently, when she hosted a dinner party for 16 people, Rideau realized she didn’t have matching place settings for 16, but that’s when the fun began. “I have two to three setups between eight and 12 pieces so I interchanged things and did four dinner plates of one and four dinner plates of another,” she says. “The table became joyous even though one person’s plate didn’t look like the other. It’s all in how you put everything together.”

4. Skip the traditional centerpiece.

You’ll rarely find a huge centerpiece on Rideau’s holiday table. Instead, she prefers placing something natural to the outdoors on her table, whether that’s cuttings of lavender or rosemary atop linen napkins or simply using pomegranates as décor. “Once you add place settings, wine glasses, and water glasses, the table can feel full,” she says. “That’s why I tend to intermix small vases with sprigs of herbs or flowers instead. I keep the florals very simple.”

5. Accessorize with fragrance-free candles.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add instant ambience, simply light a handful of votive or other unscented candles. Thanks to the candlelight, the whole mood of your holiday gathering will change, Rideau says. “I specifically love colorful twisted candles,” she says. “I like the ambience that’s created when they melt down. You end up forgetting how long you’ve been sitting enjoying each other’s company!”

Christmas Table Decoration Ideas 

Now for the exciting part! From simple to grand, here are 10 festive DIYs to transform your kitchen or dining room into a winter wonderland.

1. Full-Length Mirror 

Pick up or repurpose a framed door mirror to use as a long centerpiece tray on your dining table by repainting and decorating the frame. Throw your favorite Christmas decor items or trinkets on top, and achieving a bright and cohesive aesthetic for less than $10 has never been easier!

2. Christmas Snowglobe

Create an adorable winter scene using a flat base (any sort of wooden circle will do), a large glass bowl, fake snow, and your favorite wintry figurines. Add LED fairy lights or tea lights for an extra sparkle. (Check out some of our other favorite DIY Christmas decorations here.)

3. Christmas in a Jar 

It doesn’t get cuter than this. The same principles from the snow globe above apply, but consider using sugar as your “snow.” I love how portable this option is, and topping everything off with a bow seals the look — chef’s kiss!

4. Hanging Foliage

If you want to go all out this season, here’s how you should do it. All you need is a couple of large branches to act as a base, chicken wire to act as a “nest,” hooks and a drill to suspend the centerpiece, and additional foliage to fill in the gaps. Once all of the plant matter has been secured, you can add in decor, such as hanging lights or ornaments.

5. Dried Flower Ornaments

Create your own flower-filled ornaments for a fun take on traditional decor. Air-dry flowers in advance and get crafty with the assembly! The ornaments look elegant while acting as fillers for your spread. You could also get a mini tree or long branches for your centerpiece and decorate with your new baubles.

6. Character Napkin-Ring Holders

DIYing basic napkin rings with the help of classic holiday figures and glue is one of the most unique ways to add personality and color to your holiday place settings. Plus, it’s an excuse to add statement cloth napkins to your collection!

7. Paper Stars

Get your hands on some square paper and fold your own paper stars. Sprinkle them around your tablescape or hang them around your kitchen to your heart’s content!

8. Holiday Village

A snowy Christmas village is always a cute idea. Material-wise, you can opt for papier-mâché, cardboard, ceramic, or even gingerbread if you want to craft something from scratch. Otherwise, a kit will have everything you need, and you can spruce things up with paint, glitter, and artificial tea lights

9. Shag Rug

For smaller surfaces, a shag rug is a great way to add warmth and texture to the space. Add a centerpiece on top (a holiday snow globe or a holiday village would be perfect) and you’re done!

10. Table Runner and Garland

You can’t go wrong with a neutral table runner and classic garland combo. Chic and minimalistic, this layout allows for other details — candlesticks, ornaments, or paper stars, for example — to pop. I’m obsessed with the idea of adding table runner rings (napkin rings will do the trick) to each end!