Sloan Mauran's Entertaining Tips
Keep all five senses in mind when decorating for a party.
1. Sight: Most people are standing up at cocktail parties, so focus the decorating at eye level and above, otherwise it can get lost. Think of tablescapes and vignettes. Group similar items together — volume and repetition create impact (a tray full of votive candles has more graphic impact than a bunch scattered around the room, for instance).
2. Sound: There are so many great new contemporary compilations of holiday music to get you in the spirit. Go buy some new ones and you can forgo the old standards.
3. Smell: Your sense of smell is the most powerful of the five senses. Make sure to pick up some scented candles to infuse the air with cinnamon, cloves and evergreen.
4. Touch: I love to add sparkle for the holidays. Decorations don't have to be traditional — I pull out sparkly beaded pillows and white fur ones. They add beautiful physical and visual texture.
5. Taste: A festive theme drink is always on my list for holiday parties. If you have time, offer two types: one sparkly and fruity and the other martini-based and savoury. People have wine and beer all the time, so try something different. Champagne with a splash of Chambord and a fresh blackberry to garnish is always elegant and delicious.