How to fold napkins for Christmas – creative ideas for festive napkins

Christmas napkin folding ideas to finish your table off in style

How to fold napkins for Christmas is one of those last minute thoughts as you rush to lay the table. However, an unceremonial dumping of 'serviettes' can just as easily spoil the look of an otherwise decorative tablescape. Our Christmas ideas for how to fold napkins, can make a subtle but effective difference.

How to fold napkins for Christmas

Napkin rings are a beautiful finishing touch, however, you don't necessarily need them to create our are easily achievable looks. Simply substitute for twine, or even foliage cut from the garden, if you're looking for a way to secure your napkins. You can even get the kids to help, it's one more thing to keep them busy before the Big Man himself arrives.

Style your table with plenty of flourish using our creative Christmas napkin folding ideas...

1. Knot and elegantly drape

Pink linen knotted napkin on white tableware with pink linen tablecloth and foliage garland

(Image credit: Linen Company)

For a relaxed Christmas table decoration idea, simply tie a neat knot in a lightweight linen napkin. Drape it across the top of a bowl or plate to look like a pretty bow. Pick pastel pink linen and white tableware for a soft, feminine look.

2. Make a Christmas tree

Green napkin in Christmas tree shape with berries on a white plate and yellow placemat

(Image credit: Homescapes Online)

Create the ultimate festive place setting by folding your napkins into miniature Christmas trees. It goes without saying that this looks best using green coloured napkins.

3. Create a fan shape

Christmas stripe napkin with gold cutlery and purple placemat on patterned tablecloth

(Image credit: Walton Co.)

If you're feeling fancy then try this swish fan shape. Simply thread one corner of the napkin through a napkin ring and fan out the other three corners. Lay centrally on the plate.

Why not co-ordinate your napkins and tablecloth to create cohesive Christmas place settings? If you're using a statement print, team with simple tableware and colour block placemats.

4. Tie at the top with string

Christmas white folded napkin tied with twine and rosemary on white plates and cutlery with fairy lights

(Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company)

Keep it simple with a rectangular folded napkin tied at the top third using twine. Tuck in a sprig of fragrant rosemary and add a mini bauble to finish.

5. Try a relaxed pinch and pull

Christmas folded linen napkin tied with berries on a white plate with gold cutlery and red tablecloth

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

This is an informal take on the classic pinch and pull. Fold your napkin in half and thread through a napkin ring. Don't be too precious about making it neat. Lastly, drape to one-side of the place setting so the napkin overlaps the edge of the table.

6. Knot around cutlery

Christmas napkin tied around cutlery with colourful baubles, foliage and candles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Laura Edwards)

Tie your napkins in a knot around the cutlery. Place in the middle of each plate so the napkin ends fall at an angle. Top with a hand-written place name and a sprig of eucalyptus or myrtle.

7. Keep it simple for kids

Christmas snowman napkins with red ribbons and candy canes on fake snow

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

Delight children and adults alike with fun paper napkins made to look like snowmen. Fold white napkins in half and add a face and buttons using stickers. Finish by loosely tying with a red ribbon as a scarf.

8. Fold and tie with twine

pink folded Christmas napkin tied with twine placed on white plate next to gold knife and fork

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Fold larger napkins so they'll sit neatly on the plate. The easiest way is to fold top to botton corners, then left to right. Repeat the left to right fold again for particularly large, and rectangular napkins.

Secure with twine, but don't tie so tight that your guests can't release the napkin to lay it on their laps!

9. Effortlessly drape napkins

grey linen Christmas napkin draped neatly over blue plate

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This isn't an easy one to pull off without looking messy. But if you are working with linen napkins, artfully draping them over the plate can look stunning. A carefully placed table marker and decoration will help things look more deliberate.

10. Make into a point

white Christmas napkin rolled to a point on white dinnerware with slices of tree stump as decoration

(Image credit: Future PLC)

You'll need a large square napkin to create this look. It's a lot like making a paper plane. With the napkin in front of you take the bottom right corner, and using the bottom left corner as a pivot, rollercoaster the napkin until you reach the bottom left-to-top right diagonal.

Do the same from the top left corner, rolling down. Secure the napkin in place with an elastic band to make things less fiddly, then tie with twine and remove the band.

11. Go for a basic pinch and pull

white Christmas napkin folded and ties with gold leaf cut-out and placed on dinnerware next to red glass

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This is an easy one. Using thumb and forefinger, pinch the centre of your napkin, then pull it through a napkin ring. It couldn't be simpler.

12. Go geometric

white Christmas napkin with letter G folded and placed neatly on green and white side plate

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Take a small square napkin, or a large square folded top to bottom, then left to right. Turn it towards you to form a diagonal, then tuck the left and right corners under to create this neat shape, which shows off any monogram or subtle motif beautifully.

13. Hit the peak

red Christmas napkins folder into trees with gold stars and placed on dinnerware

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Create mini christmas tree shapes with napkins that stand to attention.Fold into triangles, then fan out so the napkins stand up. Lay in the middle of your place settings and add a star at the top to finish.

14. Make a sleek roll

blue Christmas napkin rolled up and place on blue and white side plate with gold star decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Fold your napkin in half and the half again, and roll left to right for a neat look. Decorate with mini decorations and a hand-written place name.

15. Serve together

rolled red and white Christmas napkins held by wooden holders in silver bucket

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Rather than lay your napkins on each place setting, pop them in a mason jar, enamel mug or small pot for an informal buffet-style meal. Add in cutlery wrapped with festive ribbon.

16. Tuck it under

white Christmas napkin neatly tucked and placed on white dinnerware with small white blossoms

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Take a large napkin and fold it in half. Turn so the folded edge is at bottom.

Now imagine three vertical lines are splitting the napkin evenly. Fold the right side of the napkin to the imaginary line to the left. Then fold the left edge across to form a rectangle. Flip the napkin over and weigh down with flowers or cutlery.

17. Form a triangle

white Christmas napkins folded into triangles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

With small – and paper – napkins, this simple arrangement just involves taking top right corner down to the bottom left. If your napkin is lightweight, weight down with a sprig of holly and berries to stop it from fluttering away.

How do you fold a Christmas tree napkin?

1. Make sure the napkin you have is big enough. You'll need at least a 40cm square. Iron the napkin before you begin.

2. Fold the napkin in half and in half again to make a square. Smooth out and turn it so the open corners face you in a diamond shape.

3. Turn the top corner only upwards and fold just below the apex of the diamond.

4. Repeat for the next corner, folding it so it sits below the first turned up corner.

5. Repeat for all the corners so they are staggered evenly. Carefully turn the entire folded napkin over.

6. Fold the bottom left corner of the napkin so the top corner is level with the slope of the opposite side. Repeat with the bottom right corner. You'll be left with a point at top and bottom.

7. Turn over again so the pleats are at the top again. Working from top to bottom, fold and tuck the points up and under towards the point of the tree.

You will now have a Christmas tree-shaped napkin with a flat base.

Watch our Facebook tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree napkin here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Stephanie Durrant
Deputy Editor Style at Home

Steph Durrant is the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home’s sister magazine, Style at Home. Steph is an experienced journalist with more than 12  years under her belt working across the UK’s leading craft and interiors magazines. She first joined the team back in 2016 writing for both homes brands, specialising in all things craft, upcycling and DIY.