1. Casual Elegance is always my motif. It’s easy, comfortable but still lovely and beautiful. I want my guests to feel relaxed and content but also special. I like an eclectic combination of casual and formal, all on the same table, makes it fun and festive without being over stuffy.
2. Select a theme or color. Choosing a theme and/or color helps make everything else come together with ease. Of course, the holidays make it super easy because the main theme is already set. Then it’s down to selecting a color combination. Make it simple and use table top accessories you already have, just make them a little festive. Red, green, silver, gold, all fantastic holiday colors, and there is nothing wrong with simple white napkins, rolled and tied with a pretty gold holiday ribbon.
3. Welcome Guests with a Special Greeting. Set the tone with a simple glass of champagne with a rosemary stalk or my festive Holiday Bellini, blood orange, Prosecco and Grand Marnier, that will get your guests in a celebration mood!
4. Celebrate the Season. Focus on flowers or greenery for the table that exude the holidays. Fresh herbs like rosemary stalks and fresh cranberries are a great way to decorate the table. I like using all white candles in hurricanes with fresh cranberries and rosemary around the candles.
5. Fun Place Cards. Wine corks make great place card holders. Using a serrated knife, simply cut a ¼ inch slit into the top of the cork and slide the place card into the slit. I sometimes even use the wine corks as the place card by writing the names on the cork with a Sharpie! Champagne corks are fun place card holders, especially for holiday entertaining! Another fun and festive place card is a simple candy cane. Punch a hole in your place card, and tie around a candy cane with holiday ribbon.
6. Fun Water Service. How simple is just adding festive fruit or herbs to your water pitcher or water glasses, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, to make it extra special. For the holidays I like serving water with apple slices and cinnamon sticks or orange slices with cranberries and sage leaves, even lemon slices with rosemary sprigs, all add flavor and festive décor.
7. Little Gifts. I like to send a little gift home with everyone, even if it is just a simple chocolate holiday candy, a little bag of your Christmas cookies, even a candy cane with a pretty ribbon tied around it or a mini-bottle of their favorite cordial or liqueur. A little something makes a lovely lasting impression.
8. Lastly and Most Importantly! Do as much as you can in advance! This simple task makes holiday entertaining so much easier! Entertaining is supposed to be fun for everyone, especially the host! You can do things like setting the table a few days in advance and a little prep every day really adds up to saving time and stress! Also, it is really not necessary to have several side dishes or desserts. One of my favorite lines, that I use a lot is, "more isn't always better, it's just more!"
Pick your favorite salad, potato or starch, and one vegetable that compliment your main dish, and stick with those. And don’t be afraid to let your guests help! It’s fun to cook together, and if they offer to bring something, let them! An appetizer, bottle of wine, even a side dish or dessert, it just makes the main event even easier on you! These are my sides this holiday to be served with my Porc Aux Figues for Christmas Dinner!
Stay tuned for more holiday menu ideas and recipes! Feel free to reach out with any questions or recipe requests and in the meantime...
Enjoy this holiday season and have fun entertaining your family and friends! Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a most wonderful year ahead! Cheers!