Holiday dinners are special occasions and a chance to make memories with your friends and family. When you have a delicious menu planned, one that includes favorite dishes made with loving care, what else could you want or need? If you’re ready for some extra flair this year, consider a “tablescape” complete with linens, candles, and floral accents. A photo-worthy table is a way to honor your guests, show off your style, and create a sense of elegance. Plus, it’s fun! You can choose a theme and plot out each place setting with plates, silver, and cloth napkins that create luxurious comfort.
Although napkins seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things, remember they are the first item your guests encounter and interact with when sitting down. If you want to try the cloth route for napkins this year, look for affordable, washable, and long-lasting, cloth napkins like our Lenox Butterfly Meadow Napkins and our Encore Microfiber Napkins (pictured), then practice these five fun napkins folds that are conversation pieces on their own! You only need a few minutes to learn the skill, and some of the folds look more complicated than they really are. No napkin rings are needed, but for extra sharp results, iron the napkins first so the fabric is nice and crisp (you can even use a little spray starch).
Slanted Pocket Napkin Fold
1. Take a square napkin. Fold it in half and then fold it in half again. You should have a square with two folded edges and two open edges (four layers thick).
2. Pick up the napkin’s top layer and fold it to meet the opposite folded corner.
3. Flip the napkin over without disturbing the fold. To create the pocket, fold one side one-third of the way in. Repeat for the other side of the napkin, making sure to pick up all layers when folding.
4. Turn the napkin over. You should have a neat angled pocket to use for your silverware, a flower, or a sprig of herbs.
Pyramid Napkin Fold
1. Take a square napkin and fold one corner to the opposite corner, forming a triangle with a top point and two bottom points.
2. Lift one bottom point to the top point. Repeat with the other bottom point. Your napkin is now a square.
3. Flip the napkin over, making sure not to disturb the folds. Lift one corner (all layers) up to the opposite corner. You should now have a triangle.
4. Carefully pinch the center of the long side of the triangle, lifting all layers so the napkin rests on its sides. You now have your pyramid.
Fancy Fan Napkin Fold
1. Take a square napkin, the crisper the better, and fold it in half. Turn it so you can work from the shorter edge, not the longer edge.
2. In order to make the “accordion” for your fan, fold up one inch from the short edge. If you have an extra-large napkin, your fold might be one and one-half inch instead.
3. Flip the napkin over and fold another one-inch segment on top of the one-inch segment you just folded. Flip again and repeat, making one-inch segments for two-thirds of the napkin, leaving about five inches unfolded. You’ll be making a total about four to five folds, depending on the size of your napkin.
4. Flip the napkin so the unfolded portion is facing you. Press your index firmly into the center point of the folded segments. Fold the entire napkin in half exactly where you placed your finger.
5. Now comes the tricky part — you need to create the base for your fan. Lift the bottom-left corner of the rectangular area (not the fan segments) and take it all the way to the opposite side, forming a triangle. It’s OK that some is overlapping off the edge on the backside. You need that part.
6. Flip the napkin over with the overlap facing you. Grab the folded fan segments and lift them into a standing position, allowing the overlap to rest on the surface.
7. You should have a standing fan with a triangle base in the back.
Lotus Napkin Fold
1. Take a crisp, clean napkin and fold it in half to create a crease. Unfold the napkin and turn each corner to the center, so that you have four perfect triangles.
2. Press your palm into the center of the napkin to support the folds. Use your other hand to flip the napkin over without disturbing the folds.
3. Lift each of the four corners to the center point. You now have a square with four triangles folded in.
4. Reach under the bottom right corner and gently pull out the layer beneath. This is the lotus petal you will use to cup the folded triangle. Be careful not to pull too hard!
5. Repeat with the additional three corners until your lotus is complete.
Christmas Tree Napkin Fold
1. Fold a square napkin in half, then fold it in half again.
2. Spin the napkin so the open layers are facing you. Turn up the top layer so the corner falls about three-quarters of an inch below the uppermost corner. Now fold up the next layer and let it land about half an inch below the first layer. Repeat for the final two layers, creating a stair-step of triangles.
3. Use one hand to support the folds and your other hand to flip the napkin over. With the flat edge of the napkin facing you, lift the bottom right-hand of the napkin and fold all layers over, stopping about an inch short of the left-hand napkin edge. Repeat on the other side. Make adjustments until both ends of the napkin have a nice point.
4. Holding the napkin firm, flip it over. It’s time to make your tree! Position the napkin so the smaller potion is on top.
5. Tuck under the top layer and repeat for the remaining three layers. The final step is to tuck in the very bottom, You can tuck it into the fold or just leave it outside the folds.
Find Your Favorite Folds
For each type of fold, you can experiment with your plates, placemats, and silverware, trying out different ideas to see what looks best. Try square plates for square styles like the lotus fold, or get extra creative with name tags, menu cards, or tiny gifts like wrapped candies. A thoughtful tablescape brimming with energy and texture is a sure way to make any holiday meal more memorable, comfortable, and delicious.