How to create a festive dining table with Samantha Roobottom

Christmas is the most magical time of year, from the wreath on the front door to the baubles on the tree, and I take great joy in decorating my home for the festive season. The most important element to me has to be the dining table and I set mine up well in advance. 

Samantha’s Christmas dining set up

This year I have a new dining set – the St Ives dining table, Curve Back chairs and St Ives dresser from Oak Furnitureland and I have turned the dining room into our very own winter wonderland. The dining table extends to comfortably seat six, which is perfect for hosting my family and friends. 

After seeing how beautiful the tone of grey is on the St Ives range I knew I wanted to go with a grey and white theme. I have chosen complementing baubles in these colours. I also purchased some vintage skis and ice skating boots to hang on the wall to give it an extra log cabin feel. 

For the table I have chosen a grey chequered table cloth for a modern take on traditional Christmas design, this is also a change from every day so gives it a sense of occasion. I have also anchored the dining table with a rug, which also makes the room seem more cosy.

I have created the centrepiece using a cake stand and baubles as the main focal point and frosted ivy, tulle and fairy lights along the table top. I adore fairy lights at Christmas as there is something magical seeing them twinkle away.  To add height, I have chosen two candelabras at either end of the table which give off a lovely glow. I have chosen non scented candles for the table to so as not to interfere with the food. 

We have a table present tradition and this year I have had personalised baubles made, which I have wrapped round the napkins to also use as place settings. When Christmas dinner has finished these will be added to our tree and we can remember this Christmas year on year. 

For the dresser I have added a large champagne bucket which will be filled on the big day. Christmas baubles have also been added to tie the look together. 

Top tips for creating the perfect entertaining space:

  1. Think where each guest will sit beforehand (I like to be seated closest to the kitchen for instance) and ensure that they have enough space and that seating is comfortable. 
  2. Fully embrace your room theme with matching table decor. It will all tie together for a fabulously festive look.
  3. Layer your lighting with candles, fairy lights and lamps for a cosy vibe. 

Favourite recipes that I love to make at Christmas:

  1. Traditionally we have a Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning, which is an alcoholic cocktail made of two parts champagne to one part fresh orange juice. I also make a non alcoholic version using lemonade instead of champagne.
  2. I love to make braised red cabbage to with our turkey dinner. It is so easy to make and freezes really well. You will need:
    • Red cabbage (1kg)
    • White onion (450g) diced
    • Cooking apples (450g), peeled, cored and cubed 
    • 1 clove of garlic crushed
    • Teaspoon of mixed spice
    • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons of water

Quarter the cabbage, remove the stalk in the middle and shred. In a saucepan layer the cabbage, onions and apple. Sprinkle the garlic, spices and sugar on top then add the water. I then put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 2 ½ hours stirring every so often. At the end of cooking I remove the pan lid to cook off excess water.