In preparing for the holidays, I think it is always important to embrace one key thing: make it fun! For most of us, the holidays are the only time we really get to spend time with our families and friends, so it's really important to acknowledge that and make sure it's an enjoyable time. Working in the wedding industry, I've picked up quite a few party tricks that would be really fun to translate to your holiday party decor.
1. Select a color scheme. If you are into the modern look, add white with splashes of a single color, like red. I love the textural effect of white hydrangeas or carnations in clean white porcelain vessels. Try wrapping the vessel with ribbon or baker's twine. Ikea is a great resource for these.
2. Set up a photo booth! No need to hire a whole photobooth for your holiday party, instead you can invest in a couple polaroids and make a corner dedicated to snapshots. You can use old Christmas decorations as props and make a backdrop out of wrapping paper.
3. Dessert buffet. You'll probably have a massive amount of dessert at youR holiday party but it's all about how you display them. A table full of homemade treats is drool worthy, especially if they're labeled in cute and creative ways.
4. Goodie bags. In the wedding world, welcome bags are a must at destination weddings, but why stop there? Consider giving your guests a gift to go. A New Year's Eve kit would be a really exciting surprise- you could include a champagne split, noise makers, sparklers and 2011 glasses.
5. Create a pattern story. I'm really digging stripes right now. Add a little color to your holiday dinner with striped paper placemats from Carrot & Stick, or you could make your own red and white seersucker napkins. All you need is a bolt of fabric and simply cut 22" squares. You can allow the edges to fray, or sew a seam along the perimeter to keep the fraying to a minimum.
6. Mexican hanging flags are a big wedding trend, so I think it would be fun to play on that in displaying all those holiday cards you receive. String them on some twine and display them in a long hallway, or even an empty wall.
7. S'mores!! What better way to get everyone gathered together than having a s'more-off? Gather the best chocolate and marshmallows you can get your hands on and challenge your friends and family to a s'mores battle. Believe it or not, we have s'mores at a lot of our weddings. Hopefully that's a trend that will stick around for a long time...
At the end of the day, the most important part of the holidays is spending time with people you love. So light the fireplace, cozy up in some furry blankets and enjoy the down time!
*Thank you so much, Alyssa, for your guest post! I'm definitely feeling a lot more inspired to entertain this holiday season. Thanks for all the great ideas! Alyssa writes the Alison Events blog, so make sure you swing by *there* and check out her handiwork and say hey.*
Photo credits: Image #1 by Sabine Scherer for AE Planning + Design; Image #2 & #3 via IKEA; Image #4 taken in Magnolia Photobooth; Image #5 & #6 by Sabine Scherer for AE Planning + Design; Image #7 by Ben Chrisman for AE Planning + Design; Image #8 & #9 via Martha Stewart Living; Image #10 via Cuteable; Image #11 by AE Planning & Design.