Let’s be honest. At some point in our lives, we have all felt a bit Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when we have been invited to a formal dinner without being entirely sure of the order of the cutlery. Or when we have guests at home for Christmas and we look at the last minute how to place the exquisite crockery of the trousseau which we have collecting dust for the rest of the year and we have no idea what it is for.
But don’t worry, below we are going to explain the correct way to set the table at Christmas according to the protocol so that it looks perfect on you and surprise all your guests. You just have to follow these simple steps and you will be able to place the table as if you were a true professional. Very attentive!
Table of Contents
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.
The correct way to set the table at Christmas according to the protocol
There are two fundamental steps to place the table correctly as established by the protocol. The first is the placement of the plates and glasses. The second is the placement of cutlery and napkins.
Putting the plates and glasses on the table correctly at Christmas
All the elements that we place on our Christmas table must have a uniform separation and must be visually balanced.
How to place the dishes on the table : The first thing to do is place the dishes in the right place. These are going to be our guide to place the rest of the elements on the table.
We must pay special attention to the distance between the plates, which must be sufficient so that each diner can eat in a relaxed way without colliding their arm with the arm of the person next to them. Protocol experts recommend a separation of around 60 centimeters. However, if the guests are large, it is advisable to leave a little more space between them.
Generally, a flat plate and a deep plate are placed, as a basic service, but a complete service includes a low plate. The most important thing is that you do not put a deep plate directly on the table, you should always place a flat base plate. The deep plate is optional, if we are not going to put a food that requires it, it can be put simply for the composition of the table and removed when starting to eat .
Where to place the bread plate : The bread should be served on a small plate and should be placed on the right just above the forks.
How to place the glasses : We can choose to place a glass of water, a glass of red wine, a glass of white wine and a glass of cava or champagne. These glasses will suffice for an elegant Christmas dinner . The glasses are placed in front of the plate and can be placed in a straight row, diagonally from the plate or making a small ellipse (curve).
The order of the glasses is usually from left to right: glass of water, glass of red wine, glass of white wine and glass of cava, although there is no fixed rule and this order can change. For example, there are those who prefer to place the glasses in order of service, others in order of size… You can choose the order you prefer.
Where to put the coffee cup : If you are going to serve coffee during the meal, you should place the cup and saucer to the right at the height of the glasses. If you are only going to serve coffee with dessert , it is not necessary to place the cup from the beginning, you can put it at the end of the meal.
Correctly place cutlery and napkins on the table at Christmas
To set the table correctly at Christmas as protocol dictates, we must place the cutlery in order of use, from the outside in, and we must remove them as we use them. The knives will always be placed with the part that cuts facing the plate.
How to place forks, spoons, and knives at the table : Forks should be placed to the left of the plates. In the outer area will be the fork used for fish (with three prongs), while inside will be the table fork (with four prongs). Knives and spoons are placed on the right.
In the innermost part will be the table knife and then the fish shovel will be placed . The spoon, if necessary, will always be to the right of both. The only exception is a small cocktail fork that sits on the far right side of the plate.
Where to put the napkins : The napkins should be cloth and are placed to the left of the plate , after the forks.
Where to put the dessert cutlery : The dessert cutlery will be placed above the plate , with the handle of the fork to the left and the handle of the spoon to the right, both with the back touching the table. If you do not have enough space, you can also do without the cutlery for the desserts and take them out when you are going to start eating the desserts . It is not necessary to place them on the table from the beginning.