We have talked at length about how to set the Christmas table, which tablecloth to choose, how to position the napkins: now let's put a little emphasis on a very important chapter in order to give your table the right atmosphere. At Christmas, more than on other occasions, my advice is to reduce artificial light and rely more on the natural warmth of candlelight. Their flickering flame will give your setting a magic that will be reflected in the eyes of the diners.
Which candles to choose? Let's start with candlesticks.
But how to choose the most suitable candles and how to position them? Let's start with the basics: the first thing to do is to place them in such a way that they don't obstruct the view between diners. To do this, you could use very tall candlesticks, so that the bulkiest part of the arms and the candles are up above the eyes. The arms of the candlesticks will also provide a wonderful support for placing small green branches. This is a solution that will give your table a very formal air and, personally, for Christmas I prefer a slightly more intimate and convivial atmosphere. This is why I generally prefer the candle flame to be positioned lower down, as I find its dance hypnotic and relaxing for those at the table.
Candles of different sizes
You can then choose thin candles placed in the middle of a low green arrangement. This can be round in the case of round or square tables or a long cord in the case of rectangular or oval tables. I tend to like the composition, and consequently the candles, to follow the shape of the table a little bit so that everyone can enjoy and smell it.
Another possibility is to place larger candles of varying sizes in a heterogeneous group. You can choose them in one colour or in two or three shades close together. In this case my choice never falls on contrasting colours, as we already diversify by choosing different sizes and heights. I recommend choosing candles of the best quality, and absolutely unscented so as not to mix the fragrances with the aromas of the food.
How many candles?
Do you like candles a lot? Me too, and that's why I never put just one. There have been times when I have literally sprinkled the centre of my table with a cornucopia of up to 25 candles and the effect was very beautiful. But I have to tell you that many candles, with the passing of the hours, create problems, because they generate a heat that increases the melting speed of the wax, creating ruinous drips. So my suggestion is to use a few but in proportion to the size of the table.
Be careful that the candles do not drip onto the greenery or tablecloth, over the years we have seen many beautiful tablecloths ruined by dripping wax. Just put drip savers at the base of tall candles and small candle holders or silver saucers under the larger candles. A nice solution would be to place a mirrored plate under your candles. It will have the double effect of saving your tablecloth and reflecting the light from the candles, multiplying it. Don't place the candles too close to each other, just a few centimetres, but make sure that the hot wax of each candle doesn't touch that of the others because the heat will melt everything very quickly.
Are you afraid of open flames or do you prefer a soft, diffuse light? Then opt for elegant photophores or glass containers scattered around the table, in the middle of the greenery if you like, in different shapes and sizes. You can place them all on the table or choose some low and some high with stems. Place small candleholders inside. If they are completely transparent, put water, sand or moss to cover the aluminium container of the candles. This way the light will still be nice and flickering but filtered by the transparent or coloured glass.
Among the different types of candle centrepieces, there is one that has a special place in my heart because it is linked to the most beautiful memories of my childhood. Perhaps some of you will recognise it. It is a of angels moved by the heat of four wax candles. As they turn, the cherubs play the cherubs play small bells that emit a crystal-clear sound, and the gold of the brass reflects the light of the flames all around, creating an all around, creating an enchanted atmosphere. This special centrepiece is now part of our collections and so the tradition passes from me to my daughters and from you to yours. beautiful but also meaningful object...
One last idea
One last alternative idea to candles, but just as suggestive. Unwind some Christmas lights on the table, but be careful to choose those with pinheads and strictly warm light, perhaps mounted on very thin copper wires. Again, you can intertwine them with branches and leaves, and the wires will be practically invisible. There are battery-powered ones that you can easily hide, but if by chance you have to use the ones with a socket, make sure to pass the wire next to your plate, so as to hide it as much as possible from the other diners. Keep the room lights rather low and the effect will be magnificent!