Christmas Table Ideas: 3 Fast, Chic Themes

Entertaining guru Jennifer Sbranti shows us three ways to infuse unexpected hues into a red-and-green palette for super-cute Christmas parties.

Party Theme #1: Haute Cocoa

Add a little flavor to the traditional red-and-green holiday theme by adding a touch of cocoa brown. Deck your table with a cream-color tablecloth and a chocolate-color table runner. We created this table runner by folding a brown tablecloth to approximately 18 inches.

SOURCE Tablecloths: Target Casual Home collection.

Sweet Settings

Use scrapbook paper with contemporary Christmas patterns, such as the mod circle print used here, to create fun and simple place mats. White ceramic plates pop against the colorful paper.

Sources: Hot Cocoa scrapbook paper,

Cheery Centerpiece

Create a chic centerpiece from white ceramic mini vases. Embellish vases with patterned ribbon and top with the decorative red or green balls.

Sources: American Bungalow White Mini Vases, Capiz spheres, Target.

Celebrate with Cinnamon

Create tiny vases from votive holders embellished with the same scrapbook paper used for your place mats. Fill the vases with cinnamon sticks and add a festive ribbon for a cheery addition to your holiday table.

Tip: For an extra-sweet look, dip the cinnamon tips in chocolate first -- just be sure to let the chocolate cool and dry thoroughly before adding them to the table!

Festive Napkins

Embellish cocoa-brown napkins with funky holiday ribbon. Fold the napkins into a square to contrast the round shapes on the rest of the table. Add some holiday cheer by placing a Christmas die-cut, such as a tree or ornament, over the ribbon.

Source: American Crafts Chipboard Christmas Red icons,

Variety of Vases

Different size vases in a variety of shapes add depth to your holiday table. Place them in a staggered row for a fun and festive tabletop.

Source: American Bungalow White Mini Vases,

Pretty Ribbon

Use red-and-green ribbon to adorn ceramic vases. Wrap the ribbon vertically or horizontally around the vase; fasten with hot glue or double-sided tape.

Source: American Crafts Peppermint ribbon,

Decorative Dots

Use a large circular craft punch on red or green scrapbook paper to create fun additions to your table. Sprinkle the paper confetti down the length of the runner for a merry and mod holiday look.

Party Theme #2: Santa Baby

Everyone will believe in Santa with this festive party theme that puts the focus on colorful vases. The "Santa" vase is the star, backed up with additional vases of varying heights and widths. Wrap each vase in a different, but coordinating, piece of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper. The next slide will give you more Santa details.

Colorful Setting

Display your vases and accessories on a white table cloth accented with a red or lime green table runner.

Tip: If you don't have a cloth topper, you can use gift wrapping paper to create an easy, inexpensive table runner.

Perfect Setting

Create place mats from 12-x-12-inch sheets of scrapbook paper. Use colored plastic utensils and coordinating paper partyware. To make this theme a little dressier, use regular white plates, silver chargers, and red cloth napkins for your place settings.

Sources: American Crafts Tinsel, Calling Birds, and Wrapping Patterns scrapbook paper.

Festive Details

For a casual theme, use paper napkins with a festive design or saying. For a swanky feel, roll red cloth napkins and tie a small silver ball ornament around the center of each using white ribbon.

Sources: Paper napkins from Target.

Ole St. Nick

To make the "Santa" vase, wrap one of the cylindrical vases in red paper and add a belt made from black ribbon and a paper "buckle." Finish with 2 or 3 white buttons and hot-glue a small white feather or marabou boa around the rim of the vase.

Ho Ho Ho

On another vase, use rhinestones to add classic sayings. Arrange craft rhinestones into words and hot glue to the scrapbook paper. You can also use ready-made rhinestone words and iconic stickers.

Sources: Ho-Ho-Ho sticker from

Grand Garland

Top each vase with white feather boa and fill with sparkly glittered dry floral filler or contemporary beaded sprig spray.

Shaken and Stirred

Place a martini glass filled with small red and silver ball ornaments on either side of the centerpiece. Line the base of the martini glass with a short piece of feather boa.

Be Merry

Complete the centerpiece by sprinkling more ball ornaments around the table. Add red glitter ornaments in winter designs. Finally, arrange cutout letters into festive words.

Sources: Red glitter snowflake from Target.

Party Theme #3: Berries and Branches

Festive berry bunches clustered on mini branches are a fun and easy way to bring cheer to a holiday dinner. The classic color palette of vivid red, white, and silver is accented with aqua, an out-of-the-ordinary color choice for the holidays.

It's a Wrap

Make your table festive by using a red table cloth. For the table runner, fold a sheet of modern gift wrap in half. The tiny gift enclosures that come with the wrapping paper work perfectly as place cards. For the centerpiece, arrange stemmed glass votives, berry bunches, and a sleek ceramic vase on the table.

Sources: Snow and Graham's berries gift wrap sheets and cardinals tiny cards from

A Glass Full

Use stemmed glass votives in varying heights for dramatic effect. Fill each votive halfway with opaque white candle gems (available at most craft stores), and add a few berry bunches to each votive.

Simple Statements

The berries bring a lot of detail to the table, so use simple dishware. Use lightweight and inexpensive silver chargers, plain white ceramic plates, and contemporary silver flatware.

Napkin Ring

For this simple napkin ring, take an individual branch from a red berry spray bunch and wrap it around a rolled napkin. Berry sprays are available at most craft supply stores for about $2 each.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.