Best Holiday Dinnerware Sets

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best holiday dinnerware sets

While many people use their best dinnerware, such as wedding china, for special gatherings like holiday dinners, some people prefer more festive options. Holiday dinnerware sets feature classic seasonal themes ranging from Christmas trees to Santa to holly berries.

Before selecting a holiday dinnerware set, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Besides choosing a set with enough pieces for all your guests, note that each set is unique. Some sets don’t include salad plates, while deluxe sets may have a matching teapot and teacups. It’s no surprise that each dinnerware brand releases holiday sets in signature patterns, and for some shoppers, choosing their favorite can prove to be the most challenging aspect of their purchase.

No matter what you’re looking for in holiday dinnerware, whether it’s a set with specific pieces, patterns, or something else, there’s a set for everyone. To find one in time for your next holiday meal, be prepared to do some research on popular brands and various features.

holiday dinnerware sets
Many individuals choose a holiday dinnerware set based on the types of dessert pieces it includes, especially if they traditionally make desserts that call for specific bowls or plates.

What to know before you buy a holiday dinnerware set

What is holiday dinnerware?

The term refers to any dinnerware that features a seasonal pattern. Some of the most popular patterns and motifs include Christmas trees, holly berries, wreaths, and Santa Claus. Winter-themed dinnerware is often grouped into this category, particularly sets that feature winter landscapes, snowflakes, and woodland creatures.

Included pieces

Depending on the set, it might serve 4 to 16 people. Each set has a different number of pieces as well as different types of pieces, including dinner plates, salad plates, bread and butter plates, soup bowls, teacups, saucers, teapot, and/or mugs. Deluxe sets often include serving utensils, platters, and/or salt and pepper shakers.

While most sets indicate the number of individuals they serve, some only include the piece count. As a result, it’s important to double-check the pieces in the set to make sure you have a full place setting for each guest.

Popular brands

Many leading dinnerware brands sell holiday sets, such as Lenox, Pfaltzgraff, Spode, Royal Doulton, Villeroy & Boch, Wedgwood, Martha Stewart, Mikasa, and Noritake. Several of these brands have iconic patterns, such as Pfaltzgraff’s Winterberry collection. Some people prefer investing in a pattern that has been around for a long time. It’s less likely to be discontinued, which means it’s much easier to replace broken pieces.

holiday dinnerware sets
DID YOU KNOW?
Because holiday dinnerware can be more delicate than everyday dinnerware, it’s best to use gentler dish soap to hand-wash them.
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Holiday dinnerware features

Materials

Holiday dinnerware sets are made of a broad range of materials, with melamine, ceramic, porcelain, and bone china the most popular ones. To narrow your options, consider the ease of washing, durability, and aesthetic.

Melamine, a type of plastic, is one of the most durable and affordable options. It holds up well to heavy wear and tear, including frequent washing, but it is susceptible to stains.

Ceramic is a more affordable material that is versatile, microwave safe, and easy to clean. While it’s a durable material, ceramic is prone to chipping.

Porcelain, often used in more expensive holiday dinnerware sets, is reasonably durable. It’s also heat resistant and microwave safe. Unfortunately, cutlery might leave marks on porcelain plates.

Bone china has a fine aesthetic and is typically reserved for high-end sets used for special occasions. One of the main drawbacks of bone china is that these sets are notably more expensive than others.

Plate shapes

Most holiday dinnerware plates are round, though there are a few modern outliers that are square. There is no right or wrong shape when it comes to dinnerware. More than anything, your decision on shape boils down to personal choice. Some people prefer the traditional look of round plates, while others feel square plates are more modern and presentation worthy.

Mugs

Many holiday dinnerware sets now include mugs. Smaller mugs hold 10 to 12 ounces, while the largest hold up to 18 ounces. While mug size might not be the main concern for some people, it’s an important consideration for others. Those who serve holiday brunch or dessert, for example, might prefer a certain mug size for serving coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Microwave safe

There is a growing number of microwave-safe holiday dinnerware sets, including many made of porcelain and ceramic. Some of these plates are also safe to put in the oven and can withstand temperatures up to 500°F. However, many sets of holiday dinnerware have fine details like 24-karat gold or foil trim that should not be exposed to high heat or put in the microwave. Otherwise, they may sustain permanent damage.

Most dinnerware sets from popular brands also have available matching serving pieces and table accessories ranging from silverware to trifle bowls.

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Holiday table décor and accessories

Besides a holiday dinnerware set, many people invest in matching table décor and accessories to achieve a truly festive aesthetic.

Placemats

Placemats are an ideal way to define each guest’s dining space. Not only do they add a pop of color to a festive dining table, they also catch spills and crumbs and prevent them from permanently damaging tablecloths and table runners. Holiday placemats are available in a broad range of designs, from traditional solid-color rectangles to poinsettia-shaped styles.

Flatware

While many people use their everyday flatware with their holiday dinnerware set, others invest in special occasion flatware. Gold-tone flatware remains popular because it coordinates easily with gold-accented plates and serving platters. Fine silverware might be suitable for more formal holiday dinners. Casual dinners are complemented by contemporary or colorful silverware sets.

Stemware

In addition to or instead of regular glasses, many people add stemware to their holiday table arrangements. It’s recommended that you select stemware based on the type of beverage you’re serving, whether it’s champagne, white wine, or red wine. Some people opt for simple, traditional stemware, while others prefer using festive sets that complement the dinnerware.

How much do holiday dinnerware sets cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable holiday dinnerware sets cost up to $35 and mostly include melamine or high-quality paper sets. As expected, these pieces are lightweight and may not withstand the test of time. However, they’re ideal if you only intend to use them for one holiday dinner.

Mid-range

These sets cost between $50 and $100. Most usually serve up to 6 people and are made by reputable brands. The pieces are usually made of ceramic, porcelain, or glass and feature more elaborate seasonal patterns.

Expensive

If you’re willing to invest in a high-end holiday set, you could spend anywhere from $125 to $600. Many of these sets are made of bone china and serve up to 16 people. There are several deluxe dinnerware sets in this price range as well.

holiday dinnerware sets
DID YOU KNOW?
Some people purchase an extra dinnerware set so they have spare pieces in the event one breaks.
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Tips

  • Invest in kid-friendly dinnerware. Instead of using expensive holiday china for younger guests, opt for more affordable and durable dinnerware for kids, such as melamine.
  • Expand holiday dinnerware sets with pieces in a solid color. If you need to expand a set that has a pattern, choose pieces in a solid color that coordinates with accent colors on the dinnerware.
  • Add a holiday dinnerware set to gift registries. If holiday entertaining is something you intend to do often, add holiday dinnerware to gift registries and wish lists.
  • Use place cards. To add a touch of elegance to any holiday meal, provide a handwritten place card for each guest.
holiday dinnerware sets
Mugs in holiday dinnerware sets aren’t just for drinking warm beverages. They can be used for serving soft desserts like bread pudding or trifle.

FAQ

Q. Are these sets dishwasher safe?

A. Some dinnerware sets are dishwasher safe, and those sets usually have this detail printed on the packaging as well as on the bottom of the plates and mugs. Many holiday sets need to be hand-washed to prevent chips and scratches. Almost all dinnerware with metallic trim needs to be hand-washed to prevent scuffs, nicks, and fading.

Q. How do I replace broken pieces?

A. Because few dinnerware manufacturers sell replacement plates and mugs individually, you’ll need to contact them directly. More often than not, you’ll need to pay for the price of the piece plus shipping. Some companies, such as Lenox, have breakage replacement programs in which they’ll replace broken pieces at low or no cost if the pieces break due to normal wear and tear.

Q. How do I store a holiday dinnerware set?

A. Because these sets are only used for a few weeks out of the year, you’ll need to find a suitable way to store yours. If you have a buffet or china cabinet, you can store the plates and mugs inside it. If you don’t, you can invest in dinnerware storage cases. These are soft-sided, scratch-free cases that hold mugs, serving pieces, or stacked plates. Most of these sets come with at least a few cases, so each type and size of dinnerware can be stored on its own.

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