We can always use help in the decorating department. First thing is to make sure to choose your dinner ware and flatware or silver flatware Those are your major "investment" items. Then plan your theme. You can always change out the accessories allot easier and less costly than the dinner ware.
You will need to start with at least place mats, napkins, and table linens. Make sure they coordinate with your dinner ware pattern. Don't make it too busy though. Too many flowers on the china and too many on the place mats, napkins and linens will collide and give you and your guests a headache. So I suggest simple patters that compliment and or solid colors.
Then add your accessories and centerpiece (remember not taller than your shoulders, you want to be able to see the guest sitting across from you and have a conversation). Extra tall candles are always a hit and very elegant for any occasion.
Place cards are always a great idea. Very impressive and then you can choose where you and who you want your guests to sit with. The boy then girl, boy then girl is always recommended. And this keeps the men from talking shop and or football at the dinner table.
Your local Florist or Supermarket always has greenery available for the season. Stop in and grab a bunch. Add some evergreen branches to flowers and or get the firs (a softer pine) are a nice touch to napkin rings or displayed down the center of the table with votive candles placed here and there. Sprinkle some fresh cranberries in as well.
Remember to dim the lights just a bit.
When you have all your table decorations planned get your menu ready. Karen B's and Food Network are great resources for menu planning.
There are a ton of ideas and help at the touch of your fingertips. Please feel free to ask me for help anytime.
Happy Holidays ;)