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

Christmas napkin folding ideas to finish your table off in style
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  • 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


    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

    Christmas table with blue plate mini tree place setting and grey linen napkin

    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

    Image credit: Future

    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

    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

    christmas table vintage place with white linen napkin and foliage sprig

    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

    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

    Image credit: Future

    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

    Image credit: Future

    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

    Image credit: Future

    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

    Image credit: Future

    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!

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