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DIY: Christmas Table Decor

Christmas decorations DIY

DIY: Christmas Table Decor

Just in time for the Festive Season, we’ve teamed up with caterer extraordinaire and good friend Vicky Crease to bring you the can’t-fail, how-to guide for Christmas table decorating. Your table has never looked this good.

Story Colin O’Mara Davis and Julia Housdon Photos Gunther Gräter

It’s important to decorate your Christmas table in the spirit of the occasion, and in the character, style and feel of your home.

The style of this month’s cover house is tranquil, exotic and truly South African. A well-balanced table also needs height, colour and depth, so by using different textures from nature we’ve created a table with many interesting elements that tie together perfectly.

To embrace the warm weather and our natural resources, proteas formed the core of the centrepiece, providing colour and true South African style to the table, while the earth-toned ribbons, branches and wooden placemats create an eclectic feel that blends well with the wooden elements of the home’s decor. The tall, white candelabras add a level of sophistication as well as height to the table and the crisp white plates and napkins tie in with the chandeliers and lift the earth-toned colours of the other decorations.

By mixing the heavy silver bowl with the brown dates and the silver crackers with the white plates, napkins and silver cutlery, the colours are carefully placed on the table, picking each other up and coming together to create a perfect Christmas blend.

Christmas decorations DIY 2

Top tip!
As part of your table centre-piece, create delectable edible decorations. To complement this table setting, a combination of grape and nougat-filled ice buckets not only look beautiful but can later form part of the dessert spread. To make the frosted fruit, simply brush fresh fruit with lightly beaten egg white and then dust it with castor sugar. Set aside to dry at room temperature before arranging in a dish of your choice, with a selection of nougat or other festive treats.


Party favours
These beautiful decorations add a personal touch to your table and are great little keepsake gifts for guests to take home after the lunch. 
Fill with delicious treats, such as Turkish delight, chocolate balls or other Christmas favourites or Kourambiedes. Line the bottom of a tumbler glass with a handful of rose leaves, then place two of your choice of treats on the bed of rose leaves. Garnish with a spoonful of frosted blueberries. Tie your selected ribbon around the glass and top it all off with a beautiful big bow.

DIY Christmas table decorations 2

To make Kourambiedes
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cream 450g unsalted butter until fluffy. Add 2⁄3 cup sugar and cream, again. Lightly beat in 2 egg yolks, 2⁄3 cup almonds, a tot of brandy, 1t vanilla extract and mix well. Sift 3½ cups flour, 1t baking powder and blend into butter mixture. It should form a relatively stiff dough. Using tablespoon-sized portions, roll the dough into crescents or  rounds. Place onto a greased baking tray and bake for about 24 minutes or until slightly browned. Let the cookies cool before rolling in icing sugar.

DIY Christmas table decorations 3

For the cutlery:
Give your flatware extra sparkle by soaking in a mixture of hot water and vinegar… and then rub it dry with a soft cloth.

For the placemats:
Create your own by sourcing an interesting piece of wood from a restoration shop or timber yard and have it cut into appropriate sizes. This is a rustic setting, so there’s no need for sanding or varnishing – the rough texture will add an interesting contrast to the elegant look of the table setting. Then again, it’s your table, so sand, varnish or paint the wooden placemat as your heart and decor dictates.

DIY Christmas table decorations

How to make a festive South African centrepiece
Soak your floral foam for at least half an hour to ensure maximum water retention and place it in your tray of choice. Starting from the bottom edge of the floral foam tray, insert greenery interspersed with Feeling Green chrysanthemums and ornamental cabbage all around the contour. Work your way around the foam contours again, inserting protea leaves and chalk roses. Intersperse with Snowdon chrysanthemums and green carnations. Finally add the cardinal protea.

Create a centrepiece with hardy South African flora (especially fynbos) and it will last well into the New Year. Jazz it up for your New Year’s Eve dinner or launch by pushing some red roses or any other brightly coloured flower into the existing arrangement, which you can carry through with matching napkins and other accessories.

Make the willow-twig lattice
When creating your willow-twig lattice, remember that this is a creative experience and, if it looks good to you, it will more than likely look good to the family and friends gathered around your table. Create a cross using two lengths of willow 40cm long (use any twigs if you don’t have willow available) and secure with a short length of fish gut in the centre to hold it in place. Make four to eight of these willow-twig crosses, then join them to one another with more fish gut, fastening on the tips. You should have a diamond-shaped space left between. Arrange the other two willow crosses to create smaller diamond-shaped spaces over the first lattice and fix in place. Place your twig lattice over the completed floral centrepiece.

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