With the holidays approaching fast, we’re feeling festive and looking forward to all the cozy gatherings with family and friends to come.
Naturally, our very own VP of Style, Alessandra Wood, is way ahead of us and already has her home decked to the nines for the holidays. We snuck a peek inside her holiday set-up and got the chance to pick her brain on the best ways to design, prep, and decorate for the holidays. Read on for some inspiration and get her best holiday hosting tips for easy entertaining!
Decorating for the Season
’Tis the season to get festive! Here’s how I style and prep my home for holiday hosting.
Style Your Mantel
If you have a mantel, this is a great place to get your festive decor on! You can make your home look (and smell) amazing simply with a garland of fresh greenery. I like a blend of eucalyptus and anise. Unlike other plants and greenery, these varieties will dry out (rather than rot) over the next few months. Translation: they have major staying power and you can keep them on display all season long!
Get Cozied Up
For me, it’s all about the layers of textiles. My favorites are chunky knit blankets, fluffy pillows, and sheepskin throws. I love to drape them over an armchair or pile them on my sofa to really warm up my home with cozy touches.
Add Mood Lighting
Flameless candles are the best! They create that magical, glowing effect without threat of burning your house down!
Setting a Holiday Table
Hosting a dinner party? Here are my best holiday hosting tips for a dining room that’s set to impress.
Arrange Fresh Florals
I love using fresh flowers in the colors of the season as my centerpiece. For the greenery, I like to use the same blend of eucalyptus and anise to keep the holiday scent consistent throughout.
Serve It Up Vintage Style
I always borrow my mom’s vintage Lenox china set, which creates a tablescape that’s as lovely as it is festive. And if you don’t have vintage dishware, regular dinnerware arranged with semi-fancy napkins and wine glass are equally wonderful. It’s all about creating an intimate atmosphere!
Prepare for Extra Headcount
I have an expandable dining table, which is great if you only host large gatherings a few times per year. It’s also always good to keep extra seats on hand. I always have a bench or a pair of stools handy for easy extra seats when unexpected guests arrive.
Create a Festive Scent
One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways I like to prep for hosting is by boiling a pot of water full of lemons, cloves, and cinnamon. It makes my home smell amazing and really sets a nostalgic, festive tone.
Make snacking (and mingling) easy with a charcuterie board. I always pre-cut the cheese for mine, which makes it so much easier for guests to snack. It also relieves them of having to do the awkward hover and struggle with the cheese knife, which is a win for everyone.
Prepping The Bar
A great party starts with a great bar, and I’m all about making mine stylish and functional. Here are a few of my favorite bar-prep tips.
Skip the Bottles
Instead of displaying bottles of alcohol, I like to pour my favorite spirits into decanters. No matter what the liquor is, it makes for an instantly more expensive look. Think bottom-shelf liquor in a top-shelf disguise.
Punch It Up
Not that I need an excuse to break out a vintage punch bowl, but it also happens to be one of my favorite holiday hosting tips. I love this because it means guests can self-serve their drinks. AKA no one has to play bartender and everyone can help themselves to as many as they like.
You can even leave the alcohol out of your punch and keep it in a decanter to let your guests self-moderate how boozy they want their drinks. This is also great if you have friends who are on a cleanse or don’t drink, kids on the guest list, or want to help out that friend who is secretly pregnant.
Stir Up a Seasonal Cocktail
I love serving a signature cocktail in a punch bowl. It really sets the mood for the party! For the holidays I whip up eggnog. I love Martha Stewart’s classic eggnog recipe because it has bourbon, rum, and cognac—a triple threat!
I prefer a bar cabinet over a bar cart because you can stash away any clutter behind closed doors. It’s a super low-maintenance way to get everything in order, especially if you’re often running short on time!