Tips for Holiday Entertaining

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to entertain. One of my favorite holiday traditions is the annual holiday coffee I host in my home. I love outfitting the apartment with holiday decor and baking my favorite holiday goodies. I invite all my lady friends for coffee, conversation and holiday cheer!

It is a lot of work to get everything decorated, the baking done and the coffee brewed early in the morning. That said, my friends appreciate the morning fete, as it gives them the remainder of the day. But with preparation, the event doesn’t need to be hectic. Here are a few of my holiday entertaining tips that I follow for my event:

#1. A trip to the Flower District

I always pay attention to florals when entertaining. Blooms bring nature indoors and add a warm, elegant touch to the home. A couple of days before the event, I head down to New York’s flower district on West 28th Street. It’s such a nice resource and inspiration for holiday decorating. I buy pointsettias, amaryllis plants and magnolia leaves. 

#2. Get a head start

Never leave anything for the day of the event, or even the day before. I put up the tree and decorate the house well in advance. I start a baking marathon the week before. Breads (pumpkin, banana, cranberry), blueberry muffins, and my favorite–raisin scones.

I will share my recipe for the raisin scones as they are a big favorite, click here for the recipe.
The key to the scones is the fabulous scone pan I bought years ago at Williams Sonoma. I don’t think they carry it anymore but Sur La Table has a similar one. Just mix the ingredients, knead the dough, and divide it into triangular sections.  Voila–beautiful raisin scones!!  I serve them with whipped cream, butter  and raspberry preserves.

#3. Choose the right serveware

Once the home is decorated and goodies baked, I set the table. I love bringing out the good porcelain cups and saucers for this event. Our lives are so rushed and harried, it is nice to enjoy coffee or tea in a pretty porcelain cup! I set out the cups and saucers in a triangle pattern and the corner of the dining table.  I mix some of my Wedgewood wedding china with vintage pieces that I have collected over the years – I love mixing colors and patterns. I serve everything on classic trays, either silver or ceramic.  Some are wedding gifts and others I pick up in my travels. I believe in using our nice things! Of course it’s smart to also be practical, and I always buy cute holiday-themed disposable cups in case more guests than expected appear. 

#4. Set the mood

I always dim the lights in the dining room to create a warm, inviting setting. Harsh, bright lights are no one’s friend. I also scatter festive holiday objects about the room, the more whimsical the better. And we can’t forget the music. I turn on a classic holiday playlist from Spotify that instantly puts guests in a great mood. 

The coffee is brewed, candles lit, holiday music playing and the guests begin to arrive!