10 Tips for Elegant Holiday Entertaining

10 Tips for Elegant Holiday Entertaining

Pulling together a fun and entertaining family holiday dinner party takes time and planning, but the end result is always something to be remembered — forever. These are the times that make great photos to put into the family album, be it online or antilog.

If you have heirloom Christmas china that has been passed down through the generations, vintage decorations, or antique table linens, now is the time to bring it all out. Or perhaps you want to have a more modern flair. Whatever your style, here are some tips from Design Diva on how to pull it all together.

1. Choose a Theme 
It is always good to have a theme. Themes pull everything together. Maybe your theme is a favorite collection of silver serving dishes or a collection of snow men or vintage hand embroidered linens. A theme need not be a collection, it might be a set of colors like silver and blue. Fresh greens, poinsettias, and other living plants can also be used. It doesn’t have to be something complicated, just something that is used throughout your home, table and buffet table if you choose to go that route.

2. Plan Your Menu 
Food glorious food, goes the old song. There is nothing like sharing a great meal with family over the holiday. Are you going for the classics, like ham and turkey? Or maybe back to old timey dishes like duck? Then there are those who go for gourmet dining. I have even had friends who cooked special meals for the kids and let them eat with their hands. Make sure that whatever your menu, you are aware of any allergies and other food sensitivities, medical requirements, and food choices like vegetarian.

3. Pick Out Serving Dishes in Advance 
The night before, choose all of the serving dishes you will need, then label them. It will save a lot of time. And if serving pieces are part of your theme, then check to make sure all of the pieces work well together.

4. Use Your Best China 
Millennials are well known for having no desire to hold on to family heirloom china and silver. So, show them how it can be mixed and matched with new pieces to create fun place settings. Blend a new bright red dinner plate placed on a vintage charger and salad plates from grandma’s set of Holly Ribbons by Royal Worcester.

 5. Set the Table in Advance 
Save the day of your party for cooking by setting the table the night before. Pull out the plates, chargers, silverware, linens, and all of the other items you need to pull your table design together. Give yourself several hours to put everything together just right.

 6. Have a Small Gift at Each Place 
Have a small gift for each person coming to the party. Put it on their plate on top of the napkin. Other places to put the gift are above the knife or on the table above the dessert fork at the top of the dinner plate. It need not be anything large, Christmas poppers are fun and safe for the whole family, although the young ones will need a dash of help.

7. Use Place Cards 
Even if you have a small family, make each place special with a name card. You can even make each gift special to the person coming to your party then place it next to their place card. It makes your guests feel special.

8. Create a Beautiful Table Scape with Fresh Greens 
While many prefer silk flowers, fresh greens bring a bit of the outside into the home and make every room smell like Christmas. Fresh holly berries, evergreens, and pinecones are warm and inviting. They can be beautiful when mixed with poinsettias, or even red roses, when placed in glittering vases of Mercury Glass.

9. Keep the Conversation Moving Along 
If you haven’t seen family members and friends who are at your dinner for a year, then conversation tends to be all about catching up on what everyone has been doing. If, however, you see these people every day, or at least several times a year, then conversation might lag. There are a number of games to be played at the dinner table to get people talking. Two games that can be used to get the party started are Table Talk and Game of Things.

10. Have Fun Activities for the Kids 
Don’t forget the kids. Have some special activities for them. It might be a special meal at their own table, decorated just for them with Christmas coloring books and crayons. Or provide them with card and board games. The idea is to keep them away from devices and get them interacting together.

As they always say, planning prevents poor performance. Also, if everything is planned well in advance, then you, as the party planner, will have more time to enjoy all of your hard work. Hope these tips make your holidays brighter!