Holiday entertaining is an art, and sometimes the task of having friends and family over can seem overwhelming. With just a bit of planning, you can ensure you create a memorable experience that keep loved ones coming back year after year.
Impress With Traditional Invitations
With the convenience of Facebook’s Event feature, text messaging and countless other e-vite options, it’s rare to receive an invitation by mail. Use PaperStyle invites to bring back some charm to the invitation process. Or, mix it up and create an invite that doubles as an ornament or magnet. When making the guest list, don’t be afraid to blend groups of friends. Some of the best acquaintances have been made at dinner parties, but for an intimate evening, it’s best to keep the headcount around six to eight.
Craft a Winning Menu
Let your menu be the star of the night. Unless you’re a professional chef or a very confident cook, it’s usually best to avoid trying a new recipe at a dinner party — but even then, it’s better to stick with dishes you know are a win. It’s also a good idea to ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions before deciding on a menu. When possible craft your courses around seasonal, local ingredients and think about the presentation of your food. To best showcase a meal, use white or light-colored china and let the food and table-settings be the contrast. Keep it simple, but aim to select at least three courses: an appetizer of either soup or salad, entrée and a seasonal dessert. You may even consider printing out a menu for the place settings, detailing what your guests can expect for each course.
Serve In Style
Start by selecting a color combination or theme for your table. Perhaps you prefer a minimal approach and use an all-white setting contrasted with some delicate sprigs of holly against each napkin setting. Or maybe you choose to decorate the table with a richly colored runner and some artfully arranged poinsettias. Whatever you decide to go with, don’t forget to incorporate candles! Candles are a wonderful, easy way to create a warm, festive glow. If you feel like your settings are a bit too precarious for open candles, opt for a couple of Christmas lanterns instead. You’ll also want to make sure to pay special attention to the place settings: play with layering chargers or mats to create depth. And, instead of napkin rings, consider using some natural elements, such as gold painted pinecones, tiny rosemary wreaths or pine cuttings to create an effortlessly organic aesthetic. Holiday “crackers” are also a nice addition to a Christmas table, adding an element of fun, while also serving as a nice mini favor. Last, but not least, create place cards with your guest’s names to add an extra touch of class. But, make sure to mix it up and avoid sitting couples together; add a single friend or two… just remember to introduce everyone!
Dress The Part
As host, you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed for the job. If you’re not going for a formal feel, Tipsy Elves, an online retailer has a variety of fun and festive Christmas dresses. They also carry a line of unique Christmas suits for men which include the holly-studded Mistletoe Money Maker suit, the Eggnog Spiker suit– iced in a classic gingerbread pattern—or the Power Hour’s lightbulb print, which are sure to be a party hit. Christmas parties are also a great excuse to break out of the usual beauty go-to’s and try something a little bit different. Go bold with a new holiday look: add a touch of gold glitter to a winged eye, try a sultry smoky eye, or instead of your usual curls, consider a sleek high pony, or a French-braided, mini faux hawk for an edgier, modern punch to your Christmas party ensemble.