Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Party 101

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house 
Everything was stirring, except hopefully a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
The tree stood decorated, near the foot of the stairs;
Wife poured the wine, and Husband put out the cheese,
Holiday songs filled the air and filled everyone with glee;
Guests chatted and swayed with a drink in their hand,
And tales of the lovely holiday party, swept through the land!

Holiday entertaining is one of my favorite things to do....ok, any entertaining will do;)
And now is the time to put everything in place to have your guests coming back year after year!

My Tips:

Start with a theme, either a pattern of china you'd like to use or work with the color palette already in your home and add some festive touches!
Send out invitations, even if its on Facebook, an invite with all the details and a festive photo adds character and totally beats text messaging;)  And don't forget to send out Holiday cards in general to touch base with friends and loved ones, they're a great way to show you care!
Your look:  In my case, fresh curls, soft make-up, a 1950's party dress in festive colors, paired with a cardigan and a shinning, antique brooch pinned to the collar, and to complete the look, a pair of charismatic heels are sure to keep ones eyes moving from head to toe!!!!  Now that you're set, lets start on the space:)

 I LOVE delightful china, and for parties, its helpful if its dishwasher safe, although being a lover of antiques, it doesn't always have to be.
For this Holiday/Cookie Baking party I threw for a few friends, I showcased my darling bird plates and paired them with Snowflake dinnerware.
Adding a festive charger for underneath the dinner plate will only create more beauty and depth to the look!  I used red, cloth napkins and instead of placing them in a napkin ring that was sure to block the design of the plate.  I folded them and placed them on the upper corner of the plate, and adorning the napkin, a party cracker to greet my guests.  They are a fun ice breaker and conversation starter, not to mention that crackers are a nice mini gift to "open".

At least two types of glasses should be at each place setting, a wine glass and a water glass.  I save my cordials for serving Egg Nog or Baileys Irish Cream with dessert.  (Side note:  Everyone always brings wine to parties for their hostess, make it a bottle of Egg Nog or Irish Cream this year, it's more interesting:)

Dress the table top with a gorgeous table runner, sweet salt and pepper shakers that are sure to catch the eye, fresh flowers, in my case, a live poinsettia with its festive red color and candles to add a warm, holiday glow!

Now that your table is done, look around the rest of the house or apartment where guests are sure to wander.  In my entryway I have a lovely wreath adorning the closet door when you enter the front door to our apartment.
In a corner I have a Beautifully dressed Nutcracker that stands waist-high to give his greetings to entering guests.
As you enter the main space, the Christmas tree is decorated to complement the rest of the room, dressed in golds, greens, reds and deep purples.  Peacocks roost in the branches of the Christmas tree and add a whimsical touch:)  Underneath, our green and gold peacock tree skirt gleams!

Candles!!!!  As long as you keep and eye on them, are a wonderful way to create a warm and inviting space full of scent and ambiance.  I recommend keeping your candles in hurricanes, or lanterns so that you have no flames exposed!!!  Always buy candles that are exactly half the size of the holder you are using to hold it, so that the true beauty of the candle and the holder compliment each other, you want the flame to dance in the center of the hurricane, not above it.  Pick scents that speak to your personality or event.  Candles that smell sweet like vanilla are wonderful for a party, because you'll probably have some sweets after dinner.  Candles that smell of pine or peppermint can be nice as well, as long as they're not too strong.  Unscented candles are also a nice way to create warmth without strong scents, if you know you have guests with sensitive noses:)

Create "shops" throughout your space, for guests to move.  If dinner will be served, dress the cocktail table with cheeses, nuts and fruits for guests to enjoy with their before dinner drinks.  Lay out festive paper napkins and use wine charms so that guests can mark their drinks if they set them down.  Drink dispensers are wonderful things!!!  Have a pair or triplets adorning a counter top, fill one with water and the other with sangria or lemonade for those who wish for something different.  If you can find drink dispenser signs, you can creatively write the names of your concoctions on the label and drape it over the dispenser for an extra touch of cute;)  Write the drink names in French or Italian and you'll be extra, extra fancy!!!

Keep the conversation going by introducing guests to each other, find a commonality among them and highlight that to get conversations started and remember to mingle to refresh the mood:)  Compliment your guests, it is a night for them to shine, they're wearing their best and they came across town to be with you, make them feel beautiful!!!

Shop for all of your Holiday festivities at your local art, specialty goods, and antique shops!!!! Did I mention that Malls, and Department stores, kind of scare me;)

Bonne Soiree!!!

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