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Mobile Bay Magazine – Holiday Hosting

Recently, I was asked by Mobile Bay Magazine to share some holiday hosting tips and wanted to share the full article with all of you! Whether you’re hosting a Christmas party or birthday party, I follow the same guidelines when it comes to preparation.

1. Can you share a few tips you have for holiday entertaining?

In the age of Amazon, entertaining is an area where keeping it local helps keeps me sane, organized and gives the personal touches that make the party feel unique. 

Do as much prep and outsourcing as you can before the party begins. Trying to time a hot meal as guest roll in is a daunting task! Old Shell Market has delicious pre-made casseroles that only require you to turn the oven on (winning). I also love a charcuterie board – especially one that involves little effort on my end. Costco has prepackaged cheese boards that you can put on your own serving platter and be done. Publix, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market all have a great cheese selection with knowledgeable staff to help you pick additions of your own. For desserts, keep it simple and sweet with a box of ellenJAY Christmas themed cookies. Not only are they delicious, but they also make your tablescape look extra festive!

Setting the Table
Set serving dishes out the night before with sticky notes labeling where to position items. That way, your spouse or friend can easily lend a helping hand prior to your guests’ arrival. If you’re hosting a formal affair, it’s the perfect time to bust out that china you registered for but rarely get to use. If you’re like me and desire a festive look without the burden of cleanup, check out the Caspari holiday paper plates/napkins, which can be bought locally at Ivy Cottage and Fresh Market.

Burn candles to make the house smell like the holidays (or freshly baked cookies). Bay Candle is a local, personal favorite. Decorations feeling sparse or outdated? A great one-stop-shop is Collective. They always have fun holiday décor from pretty hand towels to table top decorations and unique bar ware. Plus, they carry a variety of seasonal candle options.

Finally, try not to stress. It’s likely that the people you’ve invited to your party are friends – remember, they’re here to see you and not a perfectly presented cheese board.

2. What are your suggestions for holiday day party wear this year?

Some of my favorite clothing trends for the 2018 holidays include velvet, plaid, sequins and statement jewelry. You never know what the weather will be in south Alabama in December. While we’d love to bust out those sweaters, realistically we are probably working with a humidity level of 99.9% and a low of 68. Instead, bring on the layers and accessories. I love a lace or velvet cami topped with a blazer to dress it up. Don’t be afraid to venture away from a traditional black blazer, either – spice things up in plaid, velvet or winter white! When it comes to accessories, a sparkly necklace or extravagant earrings dress your outfit up and save you from spending extra on an entire outfit. If you’d rather pull out all the stops, it’s one of the few times a year when sequins are celebrated. Much like champagne, sequins always remind me of the holidays, making them the perfect party pairing!

3. Do you have any suggestions specifically for hostess outfits? For example, something that is easy to throw on after party prep is done, makes a statement, but can also be worn while serving up holiday food?

Call me old fashioned, but I absolutely take the practical approach and wear an apron over my outfit until everything is set. This allows me to take my time to get myself ready and  saves my outfit as I complete the finishing touches before guests arrive. When that doorbell rings, off goes the apron, on comes the blazer and, with a glass of champagne in hand, I am ready for the festivities to begin. 

I would love to hear any other holiday hosting tips you might have!

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