Creating a memorable experience that captures the spirit of the season may sound like a daunting endeavor. But hosting a holiday at home allows you to design a one-of-a-kind event that shows loved ones how much you care. Often the small details make the biggest impression. If you’re ready to open your home for the holidays, consider these suggestions, which are sure to dazzle friends and family.
Create a warm first impression
Whether guests have ventured across the globe or just down the street to spend the day with you, you want them to they feel welcome from the moment they enter your home. Enhance that atmosphere of warmth through ambient lighting. Candles and a roaring fire add an undeniable coziness while evoking the fragrant scents of the season. String lights, which work equally well inside and out, provide a twinkling glow and a touch of wonder.
If you’re expecting a crowd, rather than cramming coats into closets or piling them on a bed, consider renting a rolling rack from a party rental site. Or, purchase one and use it year after year. Just don’t forget extra hangers. Hosts and guests alike appreciate not having to waste time trying to find coats or wraps at the end of the night.
Of course, much of the focus is on food but when guests arrive the first thing many crave is a drink. Setting up a bar in a corner is a great way for friends and family to serve themselves, freeing up the hosts who often need to tend to other matters. Premix a signature cocktail and stock this area with beer, wine, and plenty of non-alcoholic beverages as well.
Allow size to dictate seating
Hosting a formal sit-down dinner is a lovely way to enjoy an intimate evening with guests. If this is your vision for the event, be sure you have enough space to accommodate everyone. You may need to rent or borrow additional tables and chairs. You’ll also want to count your cutlery, crystal, and china to ensure you have place settings for all. If you don’t, you can rent these as well. This option also allows you to experiment with patterns and colors that may add a touch of character to your table.
If your guest list is large or you’d prefer a more relaxed vibe, consider a buffet. Serve all your dishes at once and place plates and cutlery wrapped in napkins at one end of the table. Guests can help themselves at the same time they mingle. Use place cards to label each dish. This is appreciated by those who may have food allergies or intolerances.
To take a bit of the pressure off, some hosts prefer to have the meal catered by a favorite restaurant. This option grants hosts more time to enjoy the celebration and truly focus on what matters: the guests.
Elevate with extra touches
Invite the outdoors in this season by placing wreaths on your doors or adding garlands and roping of cedar, white pine, or boxwood to railings and fresh pine to mantels. Fresh flowers add elegance, but if you’d like to keep costs to a minimum, mix in artificial greens to make arrangements appear more robust. Sunflowers, orange roses, and yellow lilies combine to create stunning harvest-inspired centerpieces.
Rather than having guests cluster in one area, establish a gracious flow by adding a point of interest to your outdoor area. A festive fire pit or outdoor fireplace, lawn games, and a well-lit patio offer friends and family a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh autumn air.
Every party needs a soundtrack. Music enhances a celebration and also masks any potential gaps in conversation. To ensure your gathering strikes the right note, consider a stereo system that allows you to stream the perfect playlist throughout your home.
Hosting a holiday celebration is a wonderful way to embrace the spirit of the season. By spending a bit of time planning your celebration, you’ll ensure it’s an event guests will remember fondly for years to come.