How to fold a serviette into a Christmas tree and take your festive tablescaping up a notch

So simple yet oh-so effective

Napkin folded into Christmas tree shape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve seen this festive hack all over social media and want to know how to fold a serviette into a Christmas tree yourself, you’ll be happy to know that we have the step-by-step guide you’ve been looking for. 

After all, this time of year wouldn’t be the same without some amazing Christmas table decorations thrown into the mix. And while you could spend a fortune on candles, centrepieces, flowers, baubles, fake snow, and more, you could also take advantage of this budget Christmas decorating idea and turn something very practical into something very beautiful. 

Without further ado, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to fold a serviette into a Christmas tree below. But don’t worry: you don’t need to be an origami master to bring this easy napkin-folding idea to life. 

How to fold a serviette into a Christmas tree

‘Napkins are a fun way of really elevating your table,’ explains leading events planner Lavinia Stewart-Brown. ‘A relevant and timely idea for this time of year would be to create tree-shaped napkins. You can get lots of inspiration from social media to do these, however, it is easier than you think!’

To help you fold your own serviettes into a Christmas tree, you’ll find a step-by-step guide with written instructions below, as well as step-by-step images from Samantha Morris, Director of Entertainment at Par-Tee Events.

What you’ll need


1. Start with a perfect square

Green square napkin on white plate

(Image credit: Samantha Morris/Par-Tee Events)

To impress your guests with your festive serviette folding skills, you’ll need to start with a perfect square. If you have a large fabric serviette, you’ll probably need to fold your serviette in half and then you might have to fold in half again to get this perfect square. 

If you have a paper napkin, the size and shape should already be perfect, as most have already been pre-folded to be the perfect square.

Before moving onto the next step, interior design expert Sylvia James at says, ‘Place your serviette down on a flat surface and swivel it so that the corner containing no folds is furthest away from you.’

2. Fold each leaf down to create a triangle

Green napkin with top corners folded down

(Image credit: Samantha Morris/Par-Tee Events)

If you look at the top corner of the serviette, you should see that there are multiple ‘leaves.’ These leaves are the different layers of paper or fabric that have been folded to make the perfect square.

To complete the next step, Sylvia says, ‘Take the first leaf of this corner and fold it down, so you create a triangle with its two shorter sides sitting about one centimetre away from the edge of the serviette. Take the next leaf and fold that down, making your fold about a centimetre above the previous one.’ 

You should continue to do this until you’ve folded all of the leaves. 

3. Flip the serviette over

Green serviette on a white plate

(Image credit: Samantha Morris/Par-Tee Events)

When you’ve folded down each leaf, you then need to flip the serviette over and turn it upside down. All you should be able to see from this angle is a flat piece of fabric or paper, with the folds facing down onto the table. 

4. Fold in the sides

Green napkin with sides folded in on a white plate

(Image credit: Samantha Morris/Par-Tee Events)

Next, Lavinia says, ‘This bit can be fiddly, but you can then fold the left and right sides to the opposite side of the square, giving you a tree shape with a little diamond on the top.’

This will ensure that all of the messy parts of the folded serviette face downwards onto the plate or the table but will still allow guests to pick up the napkin and unfold it with ease. 

After all, the last thing your Christmas guests want is to perform some backwards-origami in order to protect their clothes from gravy spills.  

5. Flip back over, and tuck in the tips

Tucking the tips in of a green napkin on a white plate

(Image credit: Samantha Morris/Par-Tee Events)

To finish, you should flip the serviette back over and tuck in the tips of every leaf you previously folded down. 

This will create the layers you expect to see from a Christmas tree serviette, and the more you tuck, the more you’ll see the Christmas tree shape you were hoping for. 

Then, when all of the tips are tucked, you should be left with a Christmas tree serviette that you and your guests will be proud of! 

Green napkin folded into Christmas tree shape

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alternative Christmas napkin ideas

We understand that some people don’t have the time to sit and fold serviettes for all of their guests - especially if you’re feeding the 5000. But there are many other ways to add a festive flair to your napkins, and we’ve outlined a few of the best Christmas napkin ideas below: 

Use napkin rings: Napkin rings are a great way to add some more decoration to your Christmas tablescape, and they have the added bonus of being reusable, so you can whip them out year after year. In fact, we can’t get enough of this Set of 4 Starburst Napkin Rings from M&S

Fold into bows: Bows have taken Christmas by storm this year, with the bow trend making its way onto Christmas trees, wreaths, hanging garlands and more. Thankfully, it’s super easy to fold your napkins or serviettes into bows - but you will need napkin rings to bring this idea to life.

Go restaurant-inspired: When you go to a fancy restaurant, you’re often greeted with serviettes that have little pockets for the cutlery to go into. While you could fold these yourself, you could also buy them as they come. In fact, these Alvotex Airlaid 50 Cutlery Pockets from Amazon are just £15.82.

Knot around cutlery: If you want to do something that looks fancy but is actually incredibly easy, why don’t you just knot your serviettes around your cutlery? Although this can’t be done with paper napkins, fabric serviettes look super chic when they’re loosely knotted around your knives and forks. 


How do you fold a napkin for a Christmas table?

There are so many options to choose from, ranging from quick and easy folds to more complicated designs. But if you’re looking for something simple yet effective, we’d always suggest choosing a Christmas tree or a bow. 

Both look incredibly stylish but still make the serviette extremely accessible for guests on the table. 

How do you make a Christmas tree out of a linen napkin?

In our opinion, linen napkins are perfect for folding into a Christmas tree shape as they look very chic in comparison to paper napkins. Not only that, but the method is exactly the same for both.

To successfully fold a linen napkin into a Christmas tree, you should start with a perfect square and then fold each leaf down into a triangle. Then, flip the napkin over, fold in the sides, flip it back over again, and then tuck in the tips. 

Now you’ve mastered the Christmas tree serviette fold, it’s finally time to peel those sprouts…

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.