Christmas centerpieces are important for several reasons. It creates a focal point, can provide a conversation ice breaker, or transforms the general theme of the holiday into your own vision of the season.
If you’re looking for Christmas table centerpiece ideas, this stunning collection of beautiful and exquisite arrangements is for you. Whether you plan to make your own (DIY) or buy one ready-made then keep browsing; you’re sure to find some unique ideas to inspire you. We categorized them by arrangement type and decor style.
Select centerpieces that are sleekly minimalist in design. Shapes for containers and decorative pieces are geometric, the most popular being the rectangle, square, half-round, and round/cylinder. Choose metallic colors of gold, white, and silver. Frosted whites, patterned golds, and shimmery silvers add sparkle and texture.
When minimalism doesn’t appeal to you but modern does, think traditional with a twist. Make a centerpiece from seasonal flowers in pastel shades. Or go in the opposite direction and be bold with jewel tones such as emerald green, sapphire blue, amethyst purple, and ruby red. For larger displays, create a table decoration using words such as “Love”, “Joy”, and “Peace” or arrange block letters to say seasonal words that are the most meaningful to you.
This style is a blend of traditional and rustic. Palettes are mostly neutrals such as sage, navy, gray, white, and cream, but with pops of color in the guise of warm reds and blues. Farmhouse style table centerpieces are charming and inviting, giving a person the feeling they’ve come home even if it’s their first visit.
Centerpieces are often crafted or manufactured from repurposed items. For containers think wood boxes and small crates, a drawer from a dresser, an old window planter box, or discarded baskets. Finishes for woods range from light to dark and are typically distressed. Get creative with materials – faux or real logs, snow-dusted pine cones, frosted evergreen branches, burlap bows, and ribbons in fuzzy plaids or smooth velvet.
The traditional style is characterized by themes and motifs that reflect the customs of past eras such as Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian. At Christmastime, it is defined by rich reds and greens, with gold, silver, and winter white accents. In addition to standard vases and candelabrum, wrought iron and galvanized steel sled-themed containers are popular this time of year.
Start with a candelabrum or lantern that has etched, opaque, or stenciled glass. Buy or make a wreath of pine boughs and set the candelabrum in the middle. Another option for your centerpiece is to place a garland of spruce branches around it. Trim with cranberries, other kinds of red berries, and pine cones.
Or begin with flowers you enjoy. Put them in a pedestal container or classic bouquet vase. Add berry sprigs, another kind of pine branch, and smaller filler flowers in contrasting colors. Another alternative is to make the display edible with seasonal fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Large centerpieces are ideal for an eight-foot rectangular dining table or a round table six feet in diameter. Garlands, loose leaves, and strings of greenery that run the length of the table make ideal low and long tabletop centerpieces for both indoors and out.
Focus on textures and colors. Use bold blooms, soft greens, pine cones, mottled brown branches, and gray twigs. For large displays with predominately earth tones, introduce splashes of color in the form of ornaments, candles of varying heights, and small figurines.
Large containers with long-stemmed flowers and branches placed on a table in a foyer, an entryway console, or a sideboard will really make a festive statement. For tables where you intend to gather for a meal, keep the height of the display relatively low so you easily see the other people at the table.
Vintage style decorative elements are characteristic of a particular decade. Toy trucks from the 1930s, 1940s tiered cake plates, vintage lady head planters, or retro oversized teacups and soup bowls can beautifully transform into centerpieces that will bring a touch of nostalgia to your decor.
To create an authentic retro holiday design, select a vintage piece for your “base.” Choose signature ornaments from that decade in seasonal colors or complementary shades. Add fresh evergreen sprigs or long sprigs of colorful flowers or cranberries. Finish with strings of smoky glass beads or imitation pearls.
Centerpieces with Candles
Holiday centerpieces with candles are timeless and classic. It can be as simple as placing a few taper candles in a bowl with gold ornaments and some greenery. However, when you take into account the different types of candles and how you can integrate them into a variety of other materials, there are many options to consider.
Unscented candles are recommended for use in arrangements designed for dining room tabletops. LED candles are also an option when the centerpiece will be accessible to curious little hands. Types of candles include:
- Tea light candles (use with a tea light candle holder for safety reasons)
- Votive candles (use with a votive holder to help the candle burn evenly)
- Taper candles
- Pillar candles
Don’t underestimate the impact of low candles – for a centerpiece with maximum effect mix tea lights (small) with votive candles (slightly larger and thicker). Group pillar candles inside a wreath of pine cones, nuts, and stars. If you plan to use tapers in your arrangement, consider how to add more glitter and glam with the kind of candlestick holders you select.
Simple and Primitive Ideas
The simple decor style is understated and refined with calming neutral palettes and the use of natural and local materials. Primitive style folk art is characteristic of a historic or early Americana time period, using rough elements with simple lines in muted colors.
Containers range from wood with a rough texture or a distressed finish to plain serving trays (round, square, rectangle) made of metal or wood. Materials should reflect a simpler lifestyle where most objects were handcrafted and sourced locally.
To make a simple or primitive style Christmas centerpiece, choose a base such as a round tray, plate, or basket. Add pillar candles, ornaments, or flowers in muted tones. For a display that doesn’t use flowers, place a wreath over the candles. Spray with fake snow then attach small ornaments. Another simple idea is to place two different-sized pillar candles on a table runner with gold round glass ornaments, ribbons, and a shimmery bow.
Rustic style decorations have the appearance of being around for a long time. They are typically made from light to dark woods including cedar and pine – finishes are commonly distressed or left natural. Wooden boxes, wood slices, branches, and wood slab chargers with tree knots, bits of twig, and bark add texture and visual interest.
Finishing touches might include birch bark chains, burlap ribbons or string ties, frosted pine cones, several kinds of evergreen branches, red berries, and miniature fruits. For large centerpieces with a rustic theme add short pillar candles and grapevine ball ornaments.
Ideas with Evergreens
Nothing brings holiday beauty home to your table quite like the scent of fresh evergreen garlands or pine branches.
Evergreens are the perfect backdrop for tabletop centerpieces. The rich greens allow the flowers, candles, snowflakes, stars, red ball ornaments, and other materials in the arrangement to really stand out.
Mix it up! Use a combination of two or three of the following to vary the texture and intensity of the colors in an arrangement: white pine, fir, boxwood, juniper, cedar, and cypress to name just a few.
Centerpieces with Lanterns
Especially if your decor style is farmhouse, simple, primitive, vintage, or even traditional, a lantern centerpiece brings a natural glow to the table. Give a simple lantern a sense of interest by decorating it with natural twigs, a bright red or deep green pillar candle, or a ring of greenery.
While you are able to dress it up or down, we think that a single lantern can be elevated to new decorating heights by pairing it with a winter squash (aka a pumpkin) and combining it with other color-matching accessories. If you like the pumpkin centerpiece shown below, you may want to follow the step-by-step instructions on our How to make Centerpieces with Pumpkins page, to make your own.
Centerpieces with Lights
Fairy lights are perfect for Christmas centerpieces lending the room a sense of whimsy and magic. Tiny LED bulbs on a thin flexible metal wire are easy to work with and can be wound around garlands, in between red and gold ornaments, or centered in a bunch for dramatic effect.
A string of fairy lights has a control box that operates on batteries. Most fairy lights include a timer function so they don’t have to be manually switched on/off. Some brands come with remote controls. Rectangular and elongated containers make it easier to hide the battery box from view.
Coffee Table Centerpieces
A coffee table centerpiece enhances the interior decorating of a living room, den, or family room with additional textures and shapes. When a coffee table is defined by a centerpiece, it can give the room a fresh feel, change the mood, or add a unique festive flair not apparent in other areas of the house.
If you enjoy crafting, creating coffee table decorations with what you have tucked away in boxes or hiding out in a junk drawer will be just the kind of challenge you’ll enjoy. You can use pretty much anything – old trays, foraged materials (take the kids for a walk in a park), retro figurines, ornaments you no longer put on the tree. It doesn’t have to just look pretty: design a centerpiece that features edibles such as nuts, fruit, and individually wrapped chocolates.
Floating Candle Ideas
Floating candles add an instant holiday atmosphere to any room in your home. For taller arrangements on a sideboard or console table in the living room, choose a clear glass vase. When the floating candle centerpiece will be displayed on a dining table, start with shorter glass containers such as mason jars, fish bowls, and smaller-sized cylindrical pedestal vases. Fill the vessel with water. Place selected items (vines, berries, shells, pine cones, etc.) in the vase. Depending on the opening of the container, top with the appropriate number of floating candles – one, two, or three.
They are also a great way to showcase your creativity, allowing you to design something that is truly unique to you. There are a lot of possible combinations, suiting any arrangement type and decor style.
Succulents make spectacular centerpieces with their multiple layers of textures and interesting shapes. They are low maintenance – for centerpieces that will last a long while after the holiday season is over, use fully rooted succulents in pots.
Choose a container. Place the succulent in a glass-cut vase for simple elegance. Or add two of three kinds of succulents embedded in white pebbles or dappled river rocks to a wood tray.
When creating a large centerpiece with succulents repetition is your friend. Select wide-mouth ceramic containers of the same color and style but in two sizes. For example, the arrangement would include three medium vessels and two large ones, all in red or white or green.