Hosting the best holiday bash on the block requires some serious entertaining chops. Prep for the merriest Christmas party with some our favorite entertaining tips. Now you just have to decide what you're going to wear...
Weaving together pine, spruce and juniper creates one lush mantel. Tastemaker Charlotte Moss adds birch twigs, winterberry and silvery pinecones to her display for an extra sparkle. Spritz the boughs daily to keep them fresh for the main event.
It might not seem fancy, but the tried-and-true favorites make guests go crazy, according to resident entertaining expert Lulu Powers. Whip up orzo mac and cheese, taco tartlets and lamb sliders and the bite-sized treats will disappear as fast as you can plate them.
Bookshelves, brackets, statues and niches: Add decorations absolutely everywhere, advises Charlotte Moss. The little pops of greenery will surprise guests — and make your home an actual winter wonderland.
No bartender, no problem. Just prep a batch of this boozy persimmon cocktail ahead of time (pour in a bottle of sparkling rosé just before serving) and garnish with dehydrated persimmon slices — they look like little flowers! No one will miss the eggnog one bit.
Don't let visitors leave empty-handed. Designer Tom Scheerer always tops his holiday table settings with a neatly wrapped favor. "To me, the wrapping is at least as important as the gift," he says.
The decorations should always start at the front door. A cluster of jingle bells reminds visitors of a sleigh as they come and go; tie on some initial ornaments as a personalized touch.
Red and white paper bells look bright and cheerful strung up on a bannister. (These came from a wedding supply store!)
Let guests customize cups of hot cocoa with ginger candies, coconut flakes, mini marshmallows and caramel syrup. Adults can stir in dark rum or vanilla vodka with chocolate-dipped biscuit sticks and peppermint sticks.
An intimate evening starts by building up from the tabletop and down from the ceiling, according to event designer Bryan Rafanelli. Fluffy paper snowflakes and tall candlesticks do the trick.
Melty, gooey cheese is always the star of cocktail hour. Set out a fresh-from-the-oven wheel with crackers, pita chips or even sliced apples
Delegate bartending duties to your crockpot this year. This wintry cider adds cranberry, cinnamon and cloves for extra-festive flavor.
A sit-down dinner feels way more cozy with the soundtrack of a crackling fireplace. And this way, it's easier to settle into a food coma after dessert.
People are inevitably going to gather around the drinks station. Pretty it up with a garland, sparkly glassware and, of course, plenty of booze.
Don't rush out to buy boatloads of flowers. An over-the-top cake can also be the star of the room.
Please the senses by tucking pomander balls in every niche. Studded with cloves or star anise, the decorative oranges make the house smell amazing (and not like your aunt's perfume).
There's something to be said for mood lighting. Dress up the mantel with a mishmash of red and green tapers instead of generic white ones.
Watering down the Champagne is not cool. Thread a skewer through frozen cranberries or raspberries for a flavorful chiller.
Give the people what they want: a picture-perfect background for some fun snaps. Attach gift bows to a poster board, hang a curtain of twinkle lights or tape up a sheet of patterned paper. Either way, the photos will be Instagram-worthy.
Friends don't let friends leave empty-handed. Meet them at the door with to-go boxes of your favorite holiday sweet, like these pumpkin whoopie pies.