It’s obvious by now that holiday celebrations during COVID look mighty different than years past. But, even without large gatherings of family and friends, you can still make your home feel cheerful and festive this holiday season.

One great way to do that? Getting intentional about your holiday dinner place settings and table decorations! We’re making our holiday meals feel extra special by creating a thoughtful holiday tablescape. Just because you aren’t hosting guests doesn’t mean you can’t make your table settings and centerpiece feel merry and bright, right??

Read one for seven holiday dinner table ideas and holiday hosting tips for intimate gatherings. They’ll delight and inspire you, whether you’re flying solo this holiday season, celebrating with your partner or roommates, or if you have an immediate household that will be gathering around the table.

 

holiday decor in traditional style dining room

Setting Something Special

When setting your table for your big holiday meal, give each place setting a little something special. A surprise at each place setting offers an element of excitement and thoughtfulness to your holiday table. You can either do the same thing at each place setting or give a unique gift to each person at the table.

Need some ideas? Perhaps an ornament each person can hang on the tree and keep for years to come. Maybe a simple stocking stuffer or a favorite candy, tucked inside a mini stocking or a clear plastic tree ornament! We also love some simple greenery with a name card or petite candles they can burn later. You can really do anything that’s small and feels festive and charming!

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holiday decor in traditional style dining room

Let Your Light Shine

For casual dining settings, try creating a centerpiece with an assortment of your favorite candles for added warmth. Create visual interest by mixing candles of different heights and shapes. An added bonus? They’re not just for the holidays! You can keep these up into the New Year and throughout the winter for continued brightness and cheer around the table!

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holiday dinner table ideas

Keep it Simple

Have a teeny table in a dining nook? Go simple with your Christmas table decorations. We love using small wreaths as a simple centerpiece. They look (and smell!) festive on their own—but you can also throw a few candles in the center for a lively and bright Christmas centerpiece for an intimate holiday gathering! A lower centerpiece like this in a small dining nook doesn’t take up a ton of space, and it really elevates the look of your tablescape.

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holiday dinner table ideas

The Case for the Coffee Table

This one might be one of our favorite Christmas table setting ideas for 2020. If you’re flying solo or celebrating the holidays with just one other person, embrace the different year and gather around your coffee table for dinner instead! This small and intimate tablescape is perfect for those who are video calling other members of their family or enjoying a virtual cocktail hour with friends. A coffee table also allows you tons of space to spread out a family-style dinner or charcuterie board! Add festive touches around your coffee table—like seasonal foliage, candles, and cozy pillows and throws!

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Holiday decor dining room

A Formal Affair for Just a Few

Miss hosting large gatherings and want to create a more formal tablescape even though it’ll just be your immediate family around the table? We get it—and just because you have a smaller group this year doesn’t mean you can’t go all out with some stunning holiday decor ideas! And pulling it off is quite simple. Showcase a few of your favorite decorative objects (such as vases or nutcrackers) at the center of the table. Then, add in seasonal greenery to create contrast and add a bit of festive color and texture.

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holiday dinner table ideas

Sprinkling Festive Decor Throughout the Room

Not super into ornate or complicated tablescapes? You can always skip the holiday tablescape and instead introduce other elements of holiday or winter decor into your dining room. We love the idea of setting up a small tree in your dining room, or hanging your stockings into this area to help spread holiday cheer throughout your whole home! (Check out our holiday lookbook for more fun decor ideas.)

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neutral dining room with fall decor

Unexpected and Understated

Ok, so we may have highlighted this look for our Thanksgiving tablescape ideas earlier this fall. But we think it’s still relevant for Christmas! After all, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to decorate your dining room in reds and greens. If understated, neutral, and timeless is your vibe, try going neutral with your decor. Opt for marble or stoneware vases with unexpected foliage. Then sprinkle in bits of cream, grey, and green to create contrast. (But with the green, opt for something other than winter greenery—like a bowl of fruit—to keep things unexpected and understated.)

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Want more dining room design ideas? Check out our dining room furniture checklist for all the essentials your dining room can’t live without!

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