Entertaining for the Holidays



And here they come…Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. If you are going and not hosting, more power to you!  Bring a special gift and enjoy.  But, if you are the hostess, buckle up…it’s a big challenge.  As a professional interior designer in Bergen County, NJ, I am often asked by clients these questions.  Here’s the advice I give.

#1. How can I make the holidays easier for myself?

Planning ahead and being organized is the best way to get through each holiday.

I like to prepare a written schedule and list everything I have to do. I start with what I can do 1 month before, like listing the guests and making up the menu.  Then 3 weeks before I do things like printing out the recipes and making a marketing list for the things I will need to prepare the recipes. Then 2 weeks before I prepare what can be frozen and set up the house.  Then I get down to the last week.  That becomes a daily listing for activities and chores to prepare for the day of.  That has a time line so everything is done on time before guests arrive.

I write this in a word document. The tasks are the same for every holiday so all I have to do is copy and paste and change the dates each year.  No need to reinvent the wheel.

So, for example, I may go grocery shopping for the staples and non-perishables a few weeks before, leaving the fresh stuff for a few days before the big day.

I am known for setting the table about 2-3 weeks ahead. It’s when I have time to set things up.  I take advantage of that.  Also, assembling the serving dishes and utensils and labeling them with paper notes helps organize and ensures nothing is left out or missing at the last minute.

#2. What can I do to make my home look great for the holidays?

It is certainly a lot to change everything for each holiday. You may have heirloom pieces that signify the specific holiday and you can take those out and display or use them.

Generally, if you stick to a fall theme, with added specific touches, it will be less hectic. By adding color and texture, you bring warmth and coziness to your home.  Scented candles and metallic sparkle add festivity to a mantle or entry console table.  Continuing with that into the dining room let’s your guests know what to expect!

Relax and enjoy your friends and family!