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Bring the beach to your festive dinner table this year

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones to spend your festive holiday by the sunny seaside this year. Or maybe you find yourself far from the coast and can only dream of such an idyllic destination. Whatever the case may be, you can recreate the look and feel of the beach for your festive dinner table. Here are a few guidelines to achieve that soul-soothing nautical setting wherever you are this Christmas:

The key to creating the perfect beach-inspired Christmas table is to keep things fresh and breezy. Simplistic and uncluttered is the way to go if you want to create that meditative mood of being on the beach. Start with a crisp white tablecloth and create texture on top of it by using a rough fabric like hessian as a table runner.

Use white as your base colour and add splashes of colour (it needn't all be blue, although invariably it does evoke images of the ocean) in combination with festive gold or silver. An important element on the celebratory dinner table is the centrepiece, so give this focal point some thought. A good idea is a glass fish bowl vase filled with sand, baubles and shells, starfish and sea urchins or whatever reminds you of the sea. You can also use elements like these to make wine glass charms by simply attaching them to a thin wire, stringing in a few clear beads if you want and wrapping around the glass stems.

Don't forget your Christmas wreath! Using shells, starfish and driftwood in a wreath make for a fresh nautical alternative to the traditional green and red combo. You can even make multiple wreaths of different sizes to use on your front door to welcome guests, as well as to decorate your dining room and table. 

 If weather permits, set your table outside and decorate the surrounding or overhanging trees with Chinese lanterns to create a merry atmosphere. Speaking of lighting, it is an essential component of any festive table. Candles are unmissable staples for creating soft, dreamlike lighting and can be used together with festive fairy lights to give your Christmas table that wow factor.

Tips like these are great for inspiration, but make sure that you add your own personal touches to the festive table to make it truly special and authentic for you and your dinner guests. This could include your children's wooden toy boats or shells and sea urchins you collected on your trips to the beach. Christmas is a time of togetherness and connecting with loved ones, so ultimately you want your table setting to contribute to this intimate environment, rather than resembling the perfectly styled shoot.