The holidays can definitely be a hectic time of year, but with the right attitude, some seasonal winter greenery, and a mixed drink (or two…), you’ll have nothing to worry about! In order to set you on the right path toward your next festive fête — whether you’re planning a fabulous Christmas party or a girls’ night screening of Love, Actually — we asked our wonderfully-talented friends at Colonial House of Flowers and Tristan Needham Design for their top tips and tricks for stress-free holiday entertaining.
Blog post courtesy Christy Hulsey, Colonial House of Flowers
Believe me, I’m all about throwing a Christmas party that you’d write home about. However, whenever I plan a party during the holidays, it’s inevitably a mishmash (okay, an all out scramble, if I’m being honest). Trying to put everything together amid the already hectic schedule can really pull you in a million different directions, so I teamed up with The Chapel Designers, Tristan Needham Design, Colonial House of Flowers, and The Happy Bloom to show you how to keep cool this season, all while throwing fabulous holiday get-togethers.
The first step? Embrace the season! Stash the iPads and phones, crank up the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, Vince Vance and the Valiants, Coldplay — even Barbra Streisand’s “Jingle Bells” — whatever gets you in the holiday spirit. Have a favorite Christmas playlist? I’ll take that, too. Just gather your girlfriends over a glass of wine and get this party going!
Want to get a go-to look for less than a pretty penny? I’ve told you the secret before: Save on fancy décor and make a living centerpiece out of succulents. It’ll last way past the party, and all season long. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, either; pick up potted succulents from the flower shop.
Believe you me, the succulents don’t even have to be real! Add in a few faux in your favorite container. This one in the Pottery Barn Found Dough Bowl you can arrange all by yourself — or with a bunch of girlfriends. Plus, it can be a gift. That’s what we did here!
Baskets are a cinch to update. I love the year-round simplicity of the Pottery Barn Beachcomber Wood Handle Basket that’s easily used as a spillway of cozy blankets, like the aptly-named Cozy Cable Knit Throw. Speaking of blankets, drape them about the sofa, too. Honestly, I bring in texture every single place I can.
How about the succulent wreath?
Aha! And Conroy says it’s a dog collar, too!
Mugs on trays — and the mugs are full of signature cocktails that naturally make us mingle — so that’s the best way to go! Plus, evergreens and that striped ribbon that I just love.
Rather than traditional winter greens, try a mix of fresh trimmed succulents and air plants. Tuck them in everywhere. To make it even simpler than that, you can start off with a Faux Succulent Wreath or garland, then supplement it with real pieces. When it comes to setting the mood, you can’t beat the impact of a few wreaths made with your friends!
Conversation is a must. The easiest way to get it going? Keep the ingredients for a few simple signature drinks on hand! Tristan’s Peppermint Schnapps Cocktail or the Hot Santa Claus Cocoa Sipper from Kim Brough Daniels will have everyone ready to mingle just like that! Set up easy-to-make cocktail bar with garnishes, infused vodkas, and cocktail recipes, and scatter a few pre-made libations about the room, so your guests can help themselves.
Bonus Tip: To save on alcohol expense, order bottles of wine that fit your taste and budget by the case. Cameron Hughes is my go-to for exactly this reason — high quality at an exceptional price. Wine bottles can be opened to serve, or dressed up quickly as a little takeaway for guests.
Bring out the meaningful things because it’s going to totally transform your gathering. If you have something important, use it! Not only will it tell a story and be a conversation piece, every detail makes guests feel like they’re walking into a dream. According to The Chapel Designers, the most important part of creating something unusually pretty is incorporating intimate fine points. And for me at least, it’s the Beehive Ginger Lilies my 89-year old Grandmother shared with us (you know how she loves to get in on a good party). They’re red and I used them in the wreaths. Unplanned things like this are critical for making guests feel warm and welcome.
I’m the kind of person who loves these kinds of things — 100% happiness. So, when I see the Advent Calendar Tristan crafted, it’s all I can do to hold the feelings inside. Here’s the best part of this bonus: She’s breaking down the basics of a DIY in a way that won’t break the bank. Plus, it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen!
Last, but definitely not least, enjoy yourself and your friends! If you are having a great time, your guests will, too. I can toast to that!
- Faux Moss & Succulent Wreath
- Beachcomber Wood Handle Basket
- PB Found Dough Bowl
- Santa Figural Mug, Mixed Set Of 4
Floral Supplies: Syndicate Sales
Beehive Ginger Local Lily Source: Margie Tygart
Refreshments: Cameron Hughes Wine
Advice: The Chapel Designers
Drink Recipes: Kim Brough Daniels Food + Drink
Location: Savannah, Georgia