A beautifully-laid Christmas Day dinner table with colourful crockery, ribbons and foliage for decoration

When it comes to making the Christmas dinner table look as tempting as possible, Ginny Rolfe, Jamie’s Head of Food Styling, knows all the tricks of the trade. Here she gives her tips for styling a festive table with a sunny 5 Ingredients Mediterranean theme…

“Firstly, I want to share my most important tip – and that’s not to worry! Your guests will just love the fact you’re making an effort, so whatever you do will be great. Secondly, embrace the mix-and-match vibe. Often at this time of year you’ll have more people coming round than you have plates and glasses for, but there’s no need to panic about not having a matching set. Raid second-hand shops for whatever takes your fancy – for this Mediterranean vibe, the more eclectic the collection, the better!”

1. Family service

“An easy way to transport your guests to the Med is to serve everything at the table and let people help themselves. This will also save you the stress of serving up! So hunt down big serving platters or nice wooden boards (new or second-hand), then place them down the centre of the table. Easy.”

2. Light it up

Christmas candle adding light to the centre of the dinner table

“Candles create the perfect atmosphere for entertaining – giving a relaxed, romantic feel. I like to use a mixture of tea lights and church candles, both of which are widely available. I think it’s nice to sit the bigger ones on saucers and decorate them with a bit of greenery.”

3. Bring the outside in

Mediterranean-inspired dinner table setting with colourful plates, candles and foliage

“Adding a trail of foliage down the centre of the table – weaving it in and out of the candles and platters – always looks impressive and immediately gives a table personality. I would use a mixture of olive leaves, eucalyptus or woody herbs, which you can ask your local florist for, or forage for them on a winter walk. You could also pop the foliage in bud vases if you’d rather. And when you go out on a winter walk, pick up a few pine cones too, to add that familiar Mediterranean scent.”

4. Embrace colour

“By going for a mix-and-match vibe with your plates and glasses, you’re also embracing colour. In fact, it’s fun to have a selection of shades across the table. For a Mediterranean feel, the best colours to go for are terracottas, oranges, off-whites and light blues.”

5. Pretty-up your napkins

A pink folded napkin with a branch of cranberry and eucalyptus laid on top

“This is one of the easiest things you can do, yet it makes a big difference to the overall look of your table. Tie your napkins with some brown string or ribbon (neutral colours will keep the Med vibe), then tuck in some mixed foliage – a sprig of rosemary, or a little cutting of olive, bay or eucalyptus are good here – or you could add a cinnamon stick for fragrance.”

BONUS: Don’t forget…

“If your dining table isn’t big enough for people and food, set up an area at the end of a breakfast bar, on your work surface or a separate table and use it for laying out the dishes – just dress it as you have the table to make it look delicious. And don’t forget to preheat serving dishes and dinner plates by popping them in a sink of hot water, then you won’t have to worry about cold food! Just make sure you dry them well before dishing up.”