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While we all have our opinions on what the best thing about the holiday season is (engagement season, anyone?!?), the décor has to be in the top three. Whether you're psyched about the endless possibilities of wreaths or the fun winter cocktails you'll be making, you need to make sure your home is in tip-top shape when entertaining. We know—how will you find time to decorate your home in this hectic season? From place settings to florals, we gathered up some tips from the pros on how to make your holiday entertaining special without taking up too much of your time. Happy decorating!
Have Décor do Double-Duty
"Position tiny packages down the center of your table and fill with homemade holiday treats for your guests to take home afterward. They double as décor and thoughtful favors. Pair with decorative placemats for effortless entertaining."
– Christine Traulich, Founder & Creative Director, RedBliss Design
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"Nothing puts guests in the holiday spirit like a festive cocktail. I love the Twig & Berry, which mixes bourbon with cranberry juice & vermouth. Garnish with rosemary sprig and two whole cranberries and spread some holiday cheer."
– Laurie Arons, Founder/Owner, Laurie Arons Special Events
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Use Décor Items You Already Have
"Holiday tablescapes should be an extension of your home and personal style and not necessarily traditional holiday décor that most people expect."
– Kristin Doggett, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Bellafare
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Serve Decadent Appetizers
"To us, fresh oysters and caviar are an exquisite way to celebrate the festive season. Not only are they an elegant and stress-free addition to any party, but there's also nothing that goes better with the pop of a Champagne cork."
– Stephanie Anen, International Wedding Consultant & CEO, Nomad Republic International
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Create Custom-Printed Menus
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Play with Glassware
"Choosing the right glassware can make a great impact on any holiday table. Something simple such as etched glassware or copper Moscow mule mugs can really elevate any table setting."
– Frances Liu, Creative Director, Charmed Events Group
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Style What You Serve
"Think about fun and festive ways to plate your food, whether that's using gold dishes to showcase appetizers or serving dessert in crystal goblets to create the perfect presentation."
– Nicole Pallotta, Catering Manager, Four Seasons Hotel New York
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Delegate to Your Guests
Think ahead about the jobs you can divvy out when your guests arrive, from lighting the candles to filling the water/wine/Champagne glasses on the tables to any last-minute touches—at that 25th hour just before everyone is seated for dinner, people always want to know how they can help; by having tasks ready in your head beforehand, everyone gets to feel they've played a part in the big event. That's where memories are made!"
– Jacin Fitzgerald, Owner & Creative Director, Jacin Fitzgerald Events
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Creative Intimate Gathering Spaces
"Consider creating spaces in your home that make people want to stay a while. Curate 1-2 areas in your home that invite guests to gather and make that your decorative focal point. Whether that be a seating arrangement near a fire, or a comfortable life area filled with holiday themed pillows and blankets, the holidays are all about coming together, which is exactly what your décor should reflect."
– Elizabeth McKellar, Owner & Creative Director, The Nouveau Romantics
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"Create small food stations instead of one big buffet station. Use different areas in your house such as a coffee table, a console table, a bar cart to make unique food displays. Mix and match your plates, napkins or forks in each area to make it fun. Add small menu card for each section detailing the menu for each station."
– Brett Cameron, Owner, La Maison Fête
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Mix Vintage with Modern
Your table does not need to be completely filled with your grandmother's china. A beautiful vintage goblet can be paired with a modern stoneware plate. Or mix antique vessels with sleek modern flatware."
– Lyndsey Hamilton, Creative Director, Lyndsey Hamilton Events
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Make Your Home Twinkle
"We love great lighting during the holidays. From festive twinkle lights to an abundance of candle light, we find that decorating your home and property with great lighting is appropriate for an entire holiday season and makes you that much more "party-ready" without spending additional time for a particular occasion."
– Virginia Edelson, Founder/Owner, Bluebird Productions
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"Need a party favor but are out of time? Either make or order large holiday cookies on a stick with a thoughtful holiday tag. Everyone loves a great sugar cookie!"
– Chelsea Dillon & Kate Ryan, Partners, Gold Leaf Event Design & Production