19 Festive Christmas Napkin Ideas to Upgrade Your Holiday Table

green red holiday table setting decor
Photo: Adam Albright

Add seasonal spark to a Christmas table by folding and displaying napkins in creative ways. These Christmas napkin folding ideas will help you bring cheer to your holiday table. Plus, get our picks for festive Christmas napkin rings and simple place setting ideas.

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Neutral Christmas Napkins

neutral place setting with sheet music, burlap and baker's twine
Adam Albright

Mix everyday dishware with pages from Christmas carol songbooks for a jolly holiday table. Place a gray striped napkin on a simple dinner plate and a neutral salad plate (Better Homes & Gardens Cream 16-Piece Dinnerware Set by Dave and Jenny Marrs, $54, Walmart).

Create your own silverware pouches with a 12-inch sheet of burlap:

  1. Cut the burlap into three 4 x 12-inch strips.
  2. To create the pocket, fold the narrow bottom edge of the strip up about 7 ½ inches.
  3. Seal the edges with hot glue.
  4. Loop a piece of twine through the burlap and tie a classic bow before tucking in a set of vintage silverware.
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Red-and-White Natural Place Setting

Red and White Natural Place Setting

This casual Christmas place setting shows that simple can be beautiful. Its personality starts with a classic, cleverly folded pocket Christmas napkin stuffed with a sprig of evergreen. Add artfully arranged silverware, an inexpensive off-white place mat, layered red and white dishes, and a frame of grapevine twigs. Place them on a table runner cut from bargain burlap.

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Christmas Tree Napkin Fold

red buffalo-check place setting with vintage lights and truck
Adam Albright

This no-sew Christmas tree napkin is a simple fold for a square napkin.

  1. Lay napkin flat and press (crisp edges are easier to work with).
  2. Fold in half, then in half again to make a square.
  3. Turn the napkin so the outside corners are pointed toward you.
  4. Folding up from the bottom, fold each layer to create a stacked triangle.
  5. Holding the napkin with both hands, flip it over, then fold each outside corner diagonally to the opposite edge and make a cone shape.
  6. Flip it again, fold each triangle's point up, and tuck it into the layer above.
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Monogram Napkin Display

camp-inspired Christmas place setting with metal charger and sifter
Adam Albright

Settle into the comforts of a holiday at home by decorating with a simple monogram for a personal touch. Tie a metal cutout letter around your napkin with a bit of baker's twine in your color scheme.

Editor's Tip: Use what you have to achieve this look—snip the greenery from your Christmas tree or evergreen in your garden, and use leftover string from your gift-wrap stash.

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Buffalo Check Christmas Napkin

black and white plaid holiday place setting with red mailbox
Adam Albright

You've got mail! Add a greeting to your tabletop with a tiny toy mailbox stuffed with a perfectly-sized notecard. Finish the look with a knotted buffalo check napkin and green bottle brush trees.

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Christmas Gift Table Setting

table setting red gold dishware
Adam Albright

Mimic the gifts under your tree by wrapping your Christmas table setting like a present. Place a square folded red cloth napkin on your favorite china dishes, wrap the place setting with a complementary ribbon, and tie a loopy bow in the center. Accent the place setting with a golden charge and flatware (like this set of Better Homes & Gardens 20-piece Arlo Flatware Set, $25, Walmart).

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Snowflake Napkin Ring

green red holiday table setting decor
Adam Albright

Head to the crafts store for an unfinished wooden snowflake ornament. Use a fine point marker to add your guest's name. To create the beaded napkin ring, string unfinished wood beads on a length of elastic. Use a drill to make a small hole on the ornament and tie it to the beads.

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Red and White Place Setting

place setting with ceramic ornament and houses
Adam Albright

Stick to a cohesive color scheme. Dress up red (Better Homes & Gardens Artisanal Clay Stoneware 16-piece Dining Set, $40, Walmart) and white dishes when you create these festive Christmas napkins. Add a hint of color to a white napkin with a thin red-and-white-striped ribbon. Tie the ribbon in a knot and leave the ends long to add a playful feel to a crisp place setting.

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Berry Toile Napkin

thanksgiving table with white napkins
Marty Baldwin

If you're setting your holiday table with a dramatic centerpiece, keep your Christmas napkins and plates simple. To recreate this look, roll a white cloth napkin and finish with a metallic napkin ring.

Buy It: Galvanized Napkin Ring With Gold Welting, ($3, Target)

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DIY Succulent Napkin Ring

Succulent Napkin Ring

Fashion these charming Christmas napkin rings by gluing a faux succulent to a wine cork. Add a simple white ribbon to tie and wrap them around your folded Christmas napkin.

Buy It: 6 Pack Faux Succulent And Moss, ($4, World Market)

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Velvet Bow Napkins

velvet ribbon bows and napkins

Who needs napkin rings? Wrap a colorful velvet bow around each place setting. Choose unexpected colors like pink and yellow for a twist on the traditional.

Buy It: Velvet Ribbon, (from $2, Etsy)

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Christmas Napkin Folding

Natural Beauty leaf name rag
Carson Downing

A crisp folded cloth napkin is the base for this pretty Christmas place setting. Make an inventive place card by using a metallic paint pen to write names on the back of a magnolia leaf.

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Greenery Christmas Napkin

Linen and Greenery Place Setting

Greenery is a lovely addition to any party table setting. Here a perfect sprig of boxwood graces each napkin. Create your own holiday table runner by placing cut evergreen branches, boxwood sprigs, and pinecones down the center of your table.

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Knot Christmas Napkin

place setting

Festive Christmas table decor isn't limited to classic shades of red and green. Simply tie a blush pink cloth napkin into a knot and place it on a white plate. Complete the look with fresh flowers and layered table linens.

Buy It: Helena Blush Linen Napkin, ($7, Crate & Barrel)

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Celebratory Cross-Stitch Napkin

Celebratory Cross-Stitch Napkin

Instead of traditional embroidered napkins, spell out a fun message for guests. Cross-stitch a holiday greeting with red thread on a white napkin. Don't worry about stitching perfectly. Messy lettering gives the look of a little kid writing a wish list to Santa. Embellish the napkins with ribbon, small ornaments, or pinecones.

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Velvet Napkin Ring

Black Tie Event place setting
Carson Downing

Sometimes Mother Nature knows best, as in this simple table setting with a napkin accented by one seeded eucalyptus sprig. For added drama, layer your plate on a buffalo check placemat. Finish the Christmas napkin with a black grosgrain ribbon tied in a knot.

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Christmas Light Napkin

place setting with napkin and flower

Dress up your everyday white napkins with a DIY floral napkin ring. To make, gather a bunch of faux flowers and greenery. Secure with florists tape and finish with a jute ribbon.

Editor's Tip: Customize your Christmas napkin ring with seasonal flowers in shades of red and white.

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Embellished Cloth Napkins

blue and purple place settings on quilted cloth and napkins
Carson Downing

Put your personal touch on your Christmas cloth napkins! Dress up worn or plain cloth napkins using a few simple stitches. We'll walk you through the basics of visible mending, including tips for creating intricate and colorful designs.

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Verdant Greens

nature-inspired green Christmas place setting with burlap
Adam Albright

Look no further than the Christmas tree lot for this nature-inspired scene. Choose a country or floral napkin in green and white (think flour or feed sack fabrics). Tuck in a few twigs and branches before securing with jute.

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