HOSTING TIPS FOR STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY PARTIES

 

tablescape

Hello friends!  Can you believe it’s December?!  What an incredible year this has been and I can’t wait to start celebrating the Holidays with our families.  The celebration actually started in our home with Friendsgiving.  It’s quickly become one of my favorites because it kicks off a month full of celebrations.  My husband and I are both December babies so the gatherings don’t stop until after New Year’s. (*pops Champagne here*)

tablescape tablescape

For some people November and December can be stressful.  When you think about all the gatherings and hosting of friends and family, it can get overwhelming.  The key is to plan a little bit ahead, but also wing it.  That’s exactly what I did for our annual Friendsgiving, where I created the tablescape I’m sharing today, as well as a few hosting tips for a stress-free Holiday Season.  Ready?  Set.  Go!

tablescape

Tip #1- Set the mood with a beautiful tablescape and make it cohesive: it’s important to take into consideration the décor that you have in that room before creating a tablescape.  Because our holiday theme is “cottage cozy,” I went ahead a played with a natural look.  Make sure to choose plants/flowers that are not smelly because it’s a turnoff when people are eating.  Same rule applies to candles.  In this case, I went flameless, which work great if you have kids eating at the table.  Also, keep your accessories low—you don’t want anything in the way when people are having a conversation across from each other.

tablescape

Tip #2- If your holiday décor is on the excessive side, keep the rest simple: because I didn’t want to use placemats, I added three runners horizontally to help protect the table.  I then cut eucalyptus to create a vertical “runner” effect over the linen runners.  This helped accentuate the length of the table.  I then added to the center of the table a few vintage brass accessories, succulents and the flameless candles.  I finished it off with the tableware and twisted the linen napkins into a knot for a casual look.  Simple!

tablescape

Tip #3- Prepare the menus ahead of time and don’t shop at the last minute: I can’t stress this enough!  This is so important because if you’re like me, you get stressed when there’s a million other people shopping at the same time.  I usually plan the menu two weeks in advance and shop a week before.  Also, shop at night.  (Soooo much better.)  Finally, if any of the menu items can be prepared the day before, do it!  Open a bottle of wine and get to it.

Tip #4- Cleaning and setting the table the night before is a win win for you: if you can get away with doing this, then YAY for you.  This scratches one more thing off your list and it gives you time to get all kinds of beautiful before your guests arrive.

tablescape

Tip #5- Always have hors d’oeuvres, drinks and music ready: not the first time I’ve said this.  As soon as someone walks through the door this should all be ready to go.  This makes your time together more enjoyable since your guest won’t just be there for dinner and dessert.  This turns a dinner into a gathering.  I usually start dinner about 1:30 hour after guests arrive.  Let them mingle first and play it by ear.

tablescape

Tip #6- Always have dessert: I don’t care what your diet is—anyone who says they don’t like dessert is either lying or dead inside.  Give them that sugar they want!  I usually do dessert and coffee about an 1:00-1:30 hour after dinner is finished.  What can I say?  We like long hangouts.

tablescape

Tip #7- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: seriously though—people love to help.  If someone wants to help you with the before, during or after, let them!

Tip #8- Clean up before you go to sleep: another thing you can open a bottle of wine for.  I promise you this will change your life!  Turn up the music, take off your shoes and get to it.

Tip #9- Don’t throw away the food: there are people in this world with no food.  If you’re anti-doggie bag, then donate the leftovers to a homeless shelter.  PLEASE!

tablescape

Tip #10- Just have fun, OK?:  just go with it and enjoy the company.  Isn’t that the point of the Holidays?  Right!  Just laugh, eat, dance, drink, and be merry with your loved ones.  That’s what it’s all about.

xo,
Carla

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