How To Fit the Whole Family Around the Table for Christmas Dinner!

30th November 2021

Christmas dinner can come with a whole host of trials and tribulations and just when you think you have the menu nailed down, you have the deal with the logistics of how to fit the whole family around the dinner table… and the bigger the family the bigger the problem.


Whether you’re hosting friends, family or a combination of both, the Christmas crowd is usually much bigger than a normal dinner party. Here are a few ideas as to how to create more room at the Christmas table to accommodate your holiday guests. 


  • Flexibility with tables is an absolute must. Choose a dining room table which is extendable if your place allows. Ideally go for a table whose extension leaves are stored beneath the table top rather than having to keep them in a cupboard and haul them out each Christmas. 


  • Play with the layout and go diagonal. Furniture doesn’t have to be perpendicular, in fact it makes a room very much more interesting to place things on an angle. In the art world we would say it ‘leads the eye’ into the room. In this case it will create much more space at the ends and the sides and give people much more room to manoeuvre.


  • Ever considered having two tables? Two small square tables of equal height can offer a lot more flexibility in your home throughout the year. You could use one table in the dining room, another in the conservatory, kitchen or breakfast room and then when folks come for Christmas they can be put together to make one big table or used separately as an adults table and a kids table, which is always fun for the kids and the adults alike at a Christmas party! 


  • If you don’t normally eat at a dining table and would rather use that space for other activities throughout the year, then a drop-leaf table would be a great investment for the Christmas season. Opening out upon ‘gated legs’ to a full sized table, the drop leaf is slim and easy to move through doorways when not in use. The rest of the year when it is closed it forms a useful console for a narrow hallway or behind a sofa on which to put a lamp and some knick-knacks… and don’t forgetwhen placed against a wall, you can lift just one leaf to create a smaller dining area. 


  • At Christmas time chairs are always a problem. You never really have enough of them… yet who wants lots of chairs cluttering up the place for the rest of the year? One solution could be stackable chairs that can be put in a cupboard or the garage. There are some really nice mid-century modern ones around right now, with molded seats and a little padding for comfort. They are really inexpensive. Choose chairs upholstered in easy clean velvets and faux leathers to prevent staining from the inevitable spills. Plump for bright cheery ‘pops’ of colour contrasting nicely with your regular set.
  • Don’t be shy about repurposing furniture from other rooms, your guests will understand. Bring in desks and tables from other rooms to create a collection of smaller tables in the vicinity of the main dining area to create a cosy restaurant-like atmosphere. This will make the dining experience more intimate and stimulate conversation. Keep things festive by placing a Christmas table centre on each table.


  • Forget chairs when it comes to packing the most people around the Christmas table and go for benches. You can seat several more people around a table with a bench, especially kids who need much less elbow room. You can get benches to match any style of room… they come in wood, metal or a combination of both and they can be upholstered in leather, fabric, velvet and come with or without backs… almost any which way you want, and they are sooo versatile! You can move a bench around easily, store it beneath the dining table when not in use, place in the living room as extra seating or even use it in a hallway. A good long bench will seat three. Buy two for either side of the table or just one for a more eclectic mix with regular chairs opposite.


  • You’d be surprised how much space can be claimed if you place the Christmas food dishes on a sideboard or on the kitchen island. Create a space away from the table where guests can fill their plates and then find a seat at the Christmastable to enjoy their meal. Less bowls and dishes on the table will enable you to fit in an extra seat or two. It will also give the illusion of more space and feel less cramped. 


  • Consider dining room doorways and bays as space for additional seating. In an open plan home you may have large archways and doorways between rooms or even utilize spaces under the stairs… this is all Christmas dining real estate that can be monopolized on the day. Add small tables to provide ample seating for everyone… and no worries you will still be close enough to pull a Christmas cracker with Aunty Ethel!


To create Christmas ambience, make sure all rooms visible from the table are decorated with a Christmas theme keeping the mood festive throughout. Decorate the table centre with pyramids of tangerines and bowls of nuts with sprigs of holly. Your guests will enjoy picking on them through out the meal. Don’t forget the candles, choose holiday scents like pine needles, cinnamon or citrus and add some soft Christmas songs playing in the background. 


Convenience, flexibility and minimum effort are the keywords to Christmas entertaining. Having to spend a lot of time organizing places for people to sit down and eat is exhausting and detracts from the enjoyment of the occasion. With a little forethought and planning you can transform your home smoothly to accommodate your Christmas guests. 


The Peter Green Team hopes you have enjoyed these Christmas dining tips and that you have a very wonderful Christmas Season.  


30th November 2021

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