How to Set Up the Perfect Holiday Buffet Table

The holiday season is usually the time to have extended family, and sometimes, even friends over. But, with the holiday season looking a bit different this year, you may not have as many guests over. This may change how much you cook, but it doesn’t have to change the way you serve your amazing dishes. No matter how many guests you have over this season, a holiday buffet table is still a great option. In this blog post, we’ll give you some ideas for setting up your holiday buffet table, for this year and for the years where the holidays feel more normal.

How to Set Up a Holiday Buffet Table

It may seem easy to set up a holiday buffet table for Christmas, Hannakuah, or any other holiday where you serve your guests. But, setting a buffet table is a highly sought after skill for those who love to host. A perfectly set up buffet table encourages efficiency, where your guests grab and go. It will also look amazing and will contribute to your holiday decor. So, take notes on how to set your holiday buffet table so it serves you and your guests perfectly. After all, your amazing family recipes deserve the best!

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Westport Sideboard
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Fremont Table
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Our Westport Sideboard and Fremont Table in the Hendricks’ dining room.

Start with Plates

At the very beginning of your holiday buffet table, you need to have your plates. This way, your guests don’t have to bounce back and forth throughout the line to get their plates, and then get their food. Starting your buffet line with plates will encourage efficiency so your guests can get their food as soon as possible. So, put a stack of your plates at the front of the buffet table. Or, if you opt to use plastic plates for serving your guests, try putting them in a basket to spruce up the appearance of your buffet.

Then the Appetizers and Bread

Next, you will want to have your appetizers and bread. It’s best to have these in the first section of your buffet to keep some organization. Since appetizers, such as salad or cheese and salami, are typically eaten first, keeping them at the front of the buffet line enables easy access. Then, when dinner is served, your guests can easily move on to the next course when they are done with their appetizers. Not to mention, since most people get at least two servings of bread, it’s best to make sure it’s at the very front of the buffet line.

Holiday Buffet Table
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Belmont Pedestal Base Table
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Our Belmont Pedestal Base Table in the Reeds’ dining room.

Then the Side Dishes

After your appetizers, you should have your guests choose between side dishes. This is where you put your vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing, egg salad, and any other side dishes you serve for your holiday. Because there are so many appetizers, it’s best to put them before your main course. Doing this keeps your buffet table more organized, as most families have more side options than appetizers or main dishes.

Then the Main Dishes

For the last food option, you should have your main dishes. In many households, this is either turkey or ham. No matter what you serve your family and guests, make your main dish last. Making these the last stop on your buffet table will prevent traffic jams and will create a good flow for your table. Do make sure your guests have everything they need to cut their turkey or ham. This way, they don’t require silverware at this point of the buffet since they haven’t picked it up yet.

Holiday buffet table
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Bedford Table
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Patan Sideboard
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Our Patan Sideboard and Bedford Table.

End with Silverware and Napkins

Lastly, you should finish off your buffet table with silverware and napkins. We have all experienced a buffet table where you have to balance your plate, silverware, and serve yourself at the same time. This makes the process overly complicated. Some guests will opt to put their silverware on the table, and get out of line. Or, they will skip the silverware and jump back in line to grab it. So, it’s best to make silverware the very last step for your guests.

Finish Off the Table with Decorations

You don’t want your buffet table to be the only spot in the house that doesn’t spread holiday cheer. So, be sure you finish off your buffet hutch with decorations! This may be a mini Christmas tree, some candles, and even some fake snow if you wish. You can also add a table runner to your buffet table that matches your holiday aesthetic. Of course, you shouldn’t over-crowd your dishes with decorations to the point it feels cluttered. So, use your best decor judgment and make sure the space looks clean, but also decorated.

Choose the Perfect Buffet Table

The most important part of your buffet table is, well, your buffet table! You need to have a beautiful, yet functional buffet table to tie your setting together. A great buffet hutch will tie your dining room set together and will give you the storage you need.

If you need a buffet table for this holiday season, take a look at our buffet hutches. At Unruh Furniture, we create custom, handcrafted furniture for our customers. We allow you to design your piece to fit your dining room perfectly. Additionally, we let you choose the stain and wood species you prefer. Shop our furniture store online or at our Kansas City location to pick out your buffet hutch today!

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Hailey Davis

Hailey is a proud Army wife with a passion for writing. When she is not writing, she is probably walking or playing with their rescue dog, Ranger, or cheering on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

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