Gathering with family and friends is what the holidays are all about.  During this busy season it’s essential to be prepared to spread holiday cheer.  By taking some time now to see what you need, you’ll be ready to party with panache.

Toast the evening by encouraging guests to help themselves by setting out a well stocked bar.  Use a tray to organize glasses and decanters.  Have an ice bucket, corkscrew and garnishes at the ready.   Display a cocktail book for the adventurous to mix a specialty drink.

IMG_5825 copyGive your sit down dinner festive flair with a holiday inspired tablecloth.  Use napkin rings for added embellishment and a touch of sparkle.  Consider using place cards for a large gathering to organize your seating.

IMG_5830 copyBuffet style dinners or an informal open house call for large serving platters.  Be traditional with white or create some whimsy with a seasonal pattern that injects merriment into your dinnerware.

IMG_5831The warmth of flattering candlelight will cast a stylish glow on your party.  A large pillar candle will radiate its spicy scent in harmony with Christmas ambience.  Votives in mercury glass add a touch of sparkle to any table or mantle.  Use tall silver or crystal candlesticks on a buffet for height and drama.

IMG_5834 copyDecorating is all in the details.  Flowers with seasonal foliage add a personal touch to your home.  An entry arrangement gives a festive welcome to all who enter.  Pots of amaryllis on the mantle, paper-whites on the buffet or jewel toned flowers on the table all add to holiday cheer.  Even a simple display of evergreens and pinecones add a rustic charm to your tabletop.

IMG_5840Have your pantry stocked with crackers, spreads, nuts and cheese for those drop in revelers.  Use fruit and nuts to garnish platters for a fresh and bright appeal.

IMG_5845Be sure to make it a sweet ending to your holiday soiree.  Have a selection of cookies and treats to satisfy every sweet tooth.  Your guests will appreciate a strong cup of coffee for their drive home so brew up the best before sending them off.

IMG_5847A little parting favor is a nice touch for guests as a reminder of the evening.  It’s a way to continue to spread the joy of the holiday season and to send Christmas cheer to the hearts of your friends.

IMG_5852I hope you enjoy celebrating the holidays this year.  From formal dinners to unexpected guests, you can be ready with just a little prep work.  Hostess and guests should be relaxed to enjoy each other, mingle, and spread good cheer.  And savor the simple joys of the season with family and friends that will become treasured Christmas memories.