Anthea Turner gives us her top tips for creating a stunning festive table this Christmas
Don’t have anything too high on the table
You want to be able to see your guests. I always stock up on lots of lovely low clear glass flower vases from Ikea. You can fill them with flowers or decorations or even candles.
Use what’s already out there
Make the most of what is already available in winter. Pine cones for example are wonderful paired perhaps with a few baubles that didn’t make it onto the tree. Spray them gold or silver, or cover them in glitter. They also make fantastic place markers as you can easily slot the place cards into their grooves.
Let there be light
Fairy lights create an instant ambience. Don’t worry about wires and plugs and use the battery operated ones. Fill vases with them or wind them around your decorations. Go for a warm, white glow for something more natural-looking.
When it comes to colour – take your cue from your home. Red and greens are great if you have a more traditional home, but for the modern home, I find that bright colour combinations can look fantastic. I particularly love ice blues and lime greens and don’t be afraid of pink.
Ivy is a wonderful addition to the christmas table, but make sure you buy or pick it late and keep it outside until you need to pop it on the table. I also love making the most of fruit – big juicy oranges and bright red apples look fabulous together and when you are done you can use them for freshly squeezed juice or a super-healthy fruit salad.
As for crockery, I always use white. Then add in some festive flavour with some fabulous green goblets or coloured glasses. Forget tables clothes, why would you want to cover up a beautiful table particularly if it is wood. I used rush matts and let the decorations take centre stage.
Keep the food off the table and on a side table, or even better, a fold-out table that you can then put away when it is not in use. This way you’ll have more space for any condiments and crackers.
Remember Christmas dinner is basically a sunday lunch with a cracker. We all have enough to juggle with as it is, so take as many short cuts as you can. One of my favourites was given to me by Mary Berry. She advises that you roast your potatoes the night before. Then, in the morning, pop them back in the oven when you take the turkey out. They will only need around ten minutes and they will be beautifully crisp.
Anthea will be playing the Good Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Royal Theatre Windsor. Her book: ‘The Perfect Christmas’ is priced at £16.99.