We're dreaming of an African Christmas

Words by Monique Bordalo | Styling by The Flower Art Co. | Photography by Darryl Gouws | Table Cloths by DIYgirls


This festive season we’re dreaming of an African Christmas filled with friends, family and al fresco dining. Because we believe that Christmas is a time to pause and relax and appreciate special moments with those you love during the great South African summer. It is a time spent cooking delicious meals and gathering around a table to feast on delectables. We believe that the dining table is the perfect space to reimagine your Christmas décor. Why not decorate with a quirky Rialheim piece? It is sure to be a topic for conversation. In this feature, we have styled some of our favourite Rialheim pieces for an African inspired take on Christmas cheer as suggestions for your festive celebrations this season.

We chatted to our Creative Director, Rial Visagie, to get his take on what a truly South African Christmas might look like.


In terms of your style, what would you describe as an iconic South African table décor setting for a Christmas feast?

The Rialheim theme for this season is, ‘I’m dreaming of an African Christmas’. Our culture as South African’s is intrinsically diverse. We are a blend of influences, so I think bring individualism to your Christmas table setting and décor. There is also no specific way to celebrate Christmas in South Africa, I also believe the formality of what Christmas should be, can be discarded.  


Personally from the Rialheim collection I love decorating my table with pieces that are sentimental to me. The ‘Believe Bowl’ is always the centre piece at my Christmas table because to me it symbolises unity. This time is all about being united by blood or with those who are your chosen family. To be united by beliefs inspires beauty. There should be a fun element to your décor.


What uniquely South African details/objects could you use as alternative centrepieces for the table? 

I am a firm believer in the ‘support local’ movement. We are South African and our artists create beautiful things that should be celebrated, especially during the season of giving. For example buy Christmas décor from the artists on the side of the road, a wire Christmas tree or whatever it is you might find. Go out into your garden and use plants that are indigenous to our country to style your table. The possibilities are endless. We are fortunate in that we have Christmas in summer.


Ditch the mistletoe


We have so many indigenous plants that you can use when styling your festive celebration. I would say that Spekboom makes a great substitute for mistletoe because it's such an amazing plant and grows freely in our country. I also like Slang Bos and Eucalyptus, I love the colour combinations of these plants and they make for beautiful décor accents. 


Al fresco dining over Christmas is truly magical

Be outside, create a journey for your guests. On arrival have starters outside in the garden and try to use atypical natural décor elements. For example the Rialheim Rhino Planter as an ice bucket for the MCC. Then journey on to the main table where you could have a more  formal sit-down dinner. The final destination will be dessert, this could be outside on blanket under the African sky. Use greenery from your garden. Use pieces that you have a sentimental connection with, Christmas is an intimate affair and should be celebrated with your own unique sense of style and design. 


What personal touches/party favours/keepsakes could you bring to the table for guests? Are there any novel Rialheim trinkets you can recommend?


From the Rialheim collection I would suggest; The ‘Rocky Horror Lips Utensil Holder’ or the ‘Blue Crane’ origami bird which could be used as main place holders and gifted after the dinner. I like to make desert in our ‘Ubuntu Mug’ and then when the festivities are over the guest takes it home.


Shop our curated collection of African Christmas décor, gifts and dining here.

Have a wonderful festive season and celebrate Ubuntu throughout.



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