Hosting any holiday or get together can be daunting, no matter who you are. Of course, don’t get me wrong, hosting a holiday is a lot of fun with all the decorating and showing off your cooking skills, but you would be lying to yourself if you said it was easy. But don’t fret! With these tips I’m about to lay on ya, you will be hosting the holidays like a boss!
Photography by Ashley Baumgartner
Setup The Night Before
Now, anyone should know that trying to do anything right before an event is just not the best decision. Shop the week of your holiday. I like to go at least 3 or 4 days prior. One, your fighting the masses… hopefully. Two, it is one less thing to worry about hours leading up to the holiday. And three, if you wait last minute, the chances of what you need will be gone. I like to go early in the morning the Sunday before; it is usually quiet and empty.
Along with getting your food prior, is set up. Do this as far in advance as you can. It is just another big task that you don’t have to worry about the morning of. I love to set up my table days before as well. I learned this tip from my grandma. She would always set her holiday table for Christmas Eve dinner up at least a month in advance. When we got older, it was fun to be included in her tradition of setting the table. Now, I like to install this into my kids. Plus, I have a pretty table to look at for weeks. To me, holidays tablescape are just as part of decorating for the holidays as trimming the tree.
Now, when it comes to your tablescape for the holidays, go simple. Of course, bring out the fancy flatware. For Thanksgiving, I like to go a little moody with my colors. Right now, I’m obsessed with nude and natural colors mixed with moody ones. I used simple, clear glassware, a pop of black from the flatware, and brought in a texture element with the marble plates. (Psst… these dishes are on sale right now, you should get pick some up!) More color was added from the gorgeous deep brown velvet tablecloth that I rented from Party Crush Studio. Not everyone has an arsenal of tabletop items sitting around in their house. A great tip is to rent! It is much cheaper to rent than to buy. Party Crush Studio has some beautiful linens that you need to check out. Renting liens isn’t just for weddings anymore.
Flowers! Flowers! Flowers!
Flowers… I can’t express how important flowers are for any dinner or event you are hosting. It makes everything better. Can you imagine a table without any flowers on top of it? Or sideboard with no flower detail? You’re pretty much having your holiday be half-naked, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be the person with the half-naked holiday. Flowers don’t have to break the bank either. You can do tiny arrangements, low profile ones, or even just add some greenery to your table. Jessica from Oak + Ash nailed holiday floral! These colors are out of this world, and did you see those nude colored carnations?!? Yes, carnations! Jessica did a low profile arrangement which I fell in love with. This allows guests to see each other while sitting down to eat. Added details like greenery wrapped around the flatware add a floral surprise. Tiny arrangments on the wine and dessert table to add life and color. Plus, pop of color to the Thankful leather sign, it just ties it all in! I can’t say enough how important flowers are to any event, small or large.
Call me old fashion, but I think any holiday should still come with a formal invitation. Who doesn’t like getting invitations in the mail? I love to have people feel excited about coming over, and everyone loves getting something in the mail. Along with invitations, adding personalized details for the holidays brings your holiday up a notch. The details go a long way in people’s eyes. You are taking the time to make your holiday special and unique. Now, this is one of the best tips I can give you if you want to host the holidays like a boss. Get personal! Get unique! I had Leanna from David and Leanna create some leather goodies that I’m so “thankful” for. I love using signs for decoration for the holidays. She created a plum colored “thankful ” sign that I placed above my wine and dessert bar. As well as “the Guidos” deep green leather sign that I placed on the table. People need to know where they are eating right? Ha! My favorite is the custom leather napkin rings with the guests’ names on it. Alongside those, the leather rings were “thankful” coasters that I placed under the wine glasses. This pretty plum added more color to the table. It made the table complete. Little details like this will go a long way; I cant’ stress that enough. Finally, a menu that will tell guests what they will be dining on. I always like to make it clear what we are having.
Open The Wine Prior
Wine. You gotta have it. I always like to have a selection for guests to pick from. Of course, I always go with my favorite, One Hope Wine. Their wine is so yummy, and I always have guests calling me up after asking me, “What was that wine you served last night?”. A great tip to help save time, right before guests arrive and before you get dressed, open your wine. This will keep you from opening up bottles throughout the evening plus allows time for them to breathe. And I say open before you get dressed, no one likes wine on their holiday attire. Duh. Alongside my wine, I love to have some sweets out. One of the things I remember for holidays growing up was there was always chocolate or sweet treats out to nibble on. Another tradition that I like to continue in my family. When we were little, it was usually See’s Candies, and my grandmother still does this today. I switched it up a bit and got some yummy macaroons and chocolate truffles from Ginger Elizabeth in downtown Sacramento. These sweet treats are to die for! She has fall flavors right now that you have got to try! My personal favorite is the Cranberry Walnut Crisp.
Appetizers 1st, then Rest After
Hours leading up to guests arriving, seem to go by really fast! No matter how prepared you are. Especially if you have little ones running around, you know that you are likely not to get everything done the way you want. They always seem to find the perfect time to throw a tantrum or require your full attention. As long as your appetizers and wine are you, then the rest will follow after. Don’t worry about the food, the last thing you want is to be running around trying to get your appetizers out while guests are walking thru the door. Have those done; your guests will be occupied while you start on the food. My motto is appetizer and attire 1st, and the rest will soon follow. Plus, it makes it look like you have everything under control, which you do!
Have a glass of wine!
My last tip for the hosting for the holidays. Have a glass of wine before guests get there. Sit down, look at what you have accomplished, and pat your self on the back, cause you are hosting the holidays like a boss!
I hoped this helps you in your adventures later this week! Remember, it should be fun not a chore.