A familiar scent of baked goods fresh from the oven, catching sight of a certain tree ornament or recreating the family feast can evoke memories of what we cherish most: time with those we love during the holidays.
Maybe this is the year you’ve decided to open your home to the neighbourhood, or entertain at home with friends. However you decide to make the holiday season more festive, don’t be afraid to blend traditions with something new.
Even the most restrained of decorators can bend a little and introduce subtle hints of holiday décor. You don’t have to go overboard with holiday themes and colours; simply adding a few festive touches will elevate the mood of your guests.
Substitute candles in lanterns for strings of sparkling lights, and mix these with boughs of pine, spruce or cedar to line a mantle or wind around a bannister, introducing a fresh, natural, woodsy scent to your home. Sparkling balls or holly complete the look.
Take the Party to Each Room
If your bedroom is visible to partygoers, dim the lights and add a small, decorated tree in the corner. It’s a playful yet inexpensive way to carry a theme.
If your bathtub is visible, fill it with water and add floating votive candles. Bring out your best hand towels or purchase festive-themed disposable ones, and put a decorative basket on the floor or counter for the used towels. Hang an oversized, decorative wreath over the mirror so everyone’s face is framed with holiday décor!
In the main entertaining space, close your curtains and light groups of candles at varying heights, mixed in with accessories to add sparkle. You can turn your curtains into a focal point by adding cascades of wreaths, vertically hung with almost invisible nylon fishing line.
Bring out fine china and good linens – along with your best serving dishes and glassware.
To get everyone circulating, it’s a good idea to set up food and drink “stations.” People will gravitate to what they like, and mingle. By offering variety, even the pickiest of eaters are sure to find something they will like
Almost any sturdy, flat surface can become a food station. From charcuterie boards on the dining table to cheese and fruit trays on the sideboard, try to make it easy for your guests to move from one station to the next.
There’s always room for creativity when it comes to elegant appetizers so ensure you choose easy-to-eat options, to prevent the need to spend all your time in the kitchen or cleaning up. In fact, keep a waste container handy by each section.
A kitchen island, peninsula or bar height surface makes a great drinks station, especially if you have room for someone to work behind the “bar.” Whether you’re offering punch bowls, a complete bar or selected wines and beers, this is one station that may require some supervision. Have a separate self-serve station for non-alcoholic drinks.
Desserts are always popular – foodie treats are the best part of the holiday! This is a time to indulge and enjoy, so whether you offer homemade, store-bought or gifted treats, have a well-stocked dessert station. Ideally, a hot drinks station will be close by. Self-serve urns or carafes of coffee, tea and hot chocolate are always welcome.
Getting together and celebrating, and welcoming friends and family into our homes is what this time is all about. I wish you a very happy holiday!