Editor’s Advice: Joel Bray’s Top Tips For Holiday Entertaining
Design Editor Joel Bray shares the holiday entertaining tips he presented on The Marilyn Denis Show.
I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday entertaining recently, and I’m sure you have, too. In the coming weeks, we’ll be welcoming crowds of family and friends into our homes — and for many of us, this equals a fair amount of stress! So to make things a bit easier, I rounded up some simple, no-fail entertaining tips and presented them on yesterday’s episode of The Marilyn Denis Show. If you missed it, here are some of the things you can do to ensure your next gathering is fun, festive and goes off without a hitch.
Set the scene the minute guests set eyes on your front door by illuminating your front steps or walkway with lanterns. Opt for safe and wind-resistant battery-operated candles like these ones from Pottery Barn.
Offer guests a warm welcome with something that smells like quintessential Christmas, like this Frasier Fir candle from Indigo.
Think beyond the bedroom coat pile! Setting a simple rack in the entry, like the Turbo clothes rack from Ikea (shown), is an easy way to keep guest’s jackets neat and accessible. Take things a step further by numbering hangers and giving guests corresponding tickets. (This works even better when you’ve got someone to help retrieve coats when guests head out for the night.)
The punch bowl is making a comeback, and is an easy way to offer guests their first drink while welcoming others at the door.
Edit your living spaces by removing any non-essentials from your tables and ledges (without making your home feel too spare) so guests feel welcome to set down glasses and plates.
Remove any nonessential furniture that might make rooms feel crowded when they’re full of people. For example, for a cocktail party where the dining table will be used as a buffet, remove the bulk of the dining chairs for better flow (keep a few pushed back around the perimeter of the room for those who want to sit).
Whether it’s on the dining table or console, a full tablecloth looks elegant and festive. It also creates the perfect hidden spot for stashing extra wine bottles and bussed glassware.
I’m always a fan of a pretty vase in the powder room. This kind of attention to detail won’t go unnoticed.
Ideal for larger affairs, professional servers make it easier for you to enjoy the party, too. At the beginning of the night, station one server at the front door so each guest receives a warm welcome.