It’s not too late to plan a fun and festive holiday party. ‘Tis the season for impromptu get-togethers, so you can forego formality, if you want, and focus on the friends-and-family aspects. Well, and the decorations. And the food and beverages. You might even want to go al fresco for this year’s holiday entertaining. Here are some party-perfect ideas that are trending this season.
Welcoming curb appeal
Whether you’ve chosen to decorate the heck out of your front yard this year or you’re in minimalist mode, your façade will set the mood for arriving guests before they even set foot inside. Aren’t you glad your artificial grass looks so gorgeous? It’s embarrassing to host parties when your guests have to traverse – or deftly avoid – lawn that’s soggy or muddy.
The weather outside’s not frightful
How lucky we are to live in northern California, where weather can be pleasantly accommodating even in December. If things are looking dry and not too cold for your party date, why keep everyone cooped up? Almost anything you might plan for indoors can also be taken outside. Or you can let guests flow in and out.
Almost any outdoor party decorations you would use in summer will work for the holidays, too – with a change of theme, of course. Go with traditional red, green, silver, and gold. Pick blue, white, and silver for a post-Hanukkah party or to coordinate with the starry night sky. Or do something eye-catchingly avant garde – if the White House can have red Christmas trees, you can think outside the usual color wheel, too.
Take a look around your yard with new eyes – do you have a magnolia or other non-conifer evergreen trees or shrubs? Harvesting some trimmings can give you a load of unusual beauties to show off in arrangements indoors or out. These textures are lovely on their own and especially pleasing combined with traditional conifer greens.
Your herb containers should still be looking good, if you planted evergreens such as lavender, thyme, sage, or rosemary. Spruce them up with some tiny ornaments, add a bow or a ribbon wrap, and faster than Santa slide get down the chimney, you have a holiday-decorated patio or deck.
Celebrating outdoor kitchens
Now there’s a hot trend. Use yours to cook, or use it to house your buffet or bar. If you have an outdoor fireplace, don’t forget to hang a wreath over it. Or transform your fire pit into a holiday wreath by encircling it with small poinsettias.
Strings of lights are brighter than ever
And, if you’ll be outdoors, you need them for illumination, too. Use luminarias to line your walkway or patio.
Drape everything in garland
You can make garland out of anything. Wreaths, too. Add tangerines, nuts, cinnamon sticks, or pine cones to your garland. (This is the time of year when you can finally thank that redwood tree in your yard for dropping all those little cones.) For instant elegance, add white or red sweetheart roses.
Setting a formal table? Run a length of garland down the middle, perhaps interspersed with candles in hurricanes or tall glass vases or mason jars. (Taller enclosures will protect candles from breeze and ensure no tiny errant sparks escape.) With nice weather, you can even place your table and chairs on the artificial grass in your backyard.
Toasting the season (and friends)
Open the wine, set up a bar, and let guests help themselves. Better yet, show some beverage creativity.
Remember those summer beverages you crafted? Many of them are delicious hot, too. Set up a hot chocolate bar, complete with cinnamon sticks, peppermint sprinkles, tiny marshmallows, and holiday mugs. For a festive adults-only punch, serve Jingle Juice.
Holiday entertaining can be even more entertaining when you move the party outdoors. However you decorate, and what food and drinks you serve, it’s all about celebrating the season and friends.