Survival Guide: How To Host An Unforgettable Holiday Party
Here's how to absolutely wow while hosting during the holiday season. Discover our decorating tips, outfit ideas and all-around advice for keeping the stress away and the good times rolling.
Someone's going to be the perfect hostess these holidays. Why not make it you?
'Tis the season for good food and spending time with loved ones. Not for putting so much pressure on ourselves, it feels like 200 Christmas hams are pressing against our chest. When they should be roasting in the oven.
It's in the mishaps where lifelong memories are made. Those are the years everyone still laughs about, and they're character-building. Not that you'll have to worry about that with our holiday hosting 101. It will hopefully help you have your best silly season yet.
Be careful what you wish for. Christmas Day might just be at your place every year from now on.
The perfect dress for entertaining
As long as you're sparkling and put together, no one will know about the mayhem that happened in the kitchen just moments before. That's the power of linen dresses. Paired best with an icy cold drink and lots of loved ones.
(It has to be linen. Aussie Summer, need we say more.) And here's the perfect one. It can't help with the cleanup the next day, but otherwise, our LUXMII linen midi dress is a must for entertaining.
It's the way the dress skims the figure and feels light on the skin that sets it apart and makes it a favourite. Plus, its effortlessly elegant silhouette sets the tone for a relaxed, fuss-free festive season full of laughs.
Acclaimed interior designer Katie Sargeant has styled our LUXMII linen midi dress for Provincial Home Living. How beautiful does she look? Sadly, the wonderfully decorated home doesn't come included with the dress, that's all Katie.
The way Katie has styled and decorated her home for Xmas is so gorgeous and has inspired this blog and tips. We'd say it was a job well done if our home could look half as good as Katie's these holidays.
How to decorate for Christmas
Use natural decorations like the pros
Fake snow is out, and native Australian fauna and flora are in. Or so interior decorators, glossy mags and our in-the-know girlfriends tell us. It's lovely that we Aussies are finally embracing what makes our Xmas so special — being outdoors in the good weather. We'll skip over the part about the flies coming out of nowhere when the seafood's ready to be served.
Easy, breezy coastal styles are where it's at. There's not a tinsel in sight but plenty of eucalyptus branches. You can use them alongside Australian wildflowers to elevate everything from table centrepieces to linen napkins and even for extra oomph on wrapped presents. The best part? If you don't have one, at least you'll be able to snag a few branches from one of your neighbours or friends.
Make the table sparkle
How does that famous quote go? There's no more space in our brains; it's already occupied with complex mathematical equations, like how many kgs of potatoes do we need to buy for 8 people?
Goes on Google and finds the quote. We eat first with our eyes. So make your table the most inviting, sparkling place in your home that guests won't be able to resist. It doesn't matter so much what decorations you decide to go with as long as you stay consistent. In other words, pick a theme and commit.
Whether you love a traditional look, white-on-white or plenty of colour, Vogue Living has some stunning ideas for decorating your table.
Focus on one colour
Investing in quality table linens in a neutral colour palette helps the wallet and the eyes. You'll be able to use them all year round, but they'll still wow for the silly season, with a few special extras. Luckily, white goes beautifully with green, red and gold.
Be inspired by Katie's fresh take on the classics. Choose only one of the festive colours, and make it the star of your whole operation. Then, use it as an accent throughout with ribbons, servingware and plates.
Katie went with a deep modern green that also matches the garlands and eucalyptus greenery, not to mention the Xmas tree. It all works together wonderfully and is contemporary but still feels traditional.
It's all in the details
Getting an A+ for decorating is all about the little touches. A handmade name card for everyone is cute and gives you plenty of hosting points. The kitchen also deserves some love during the holiday season. A simple wreath works wonders. Or try fresh garlands on mantelpieces and greens from the garden dotted around the home for a festive vibe.
Ice is practically gold during the Aussie summer. Give it a Christmasy twist by making festive ice cubes. These can be frozen a month in advance and are super fun.
Hosting Survival Tips
Get your table linens and plates ready early
No one wants any surprises come the big day, so it helps to unpack everything you'll need for the table earlier. Things like washing and ironing can be done a few weeks before and will make you feel more on top of things when you can finally tick them off. As a bonus, bringing out the plates and linens gets you in a festive mood. All that's left is to press play on the Christmas playlist. Read our tips on how to wash linen for perfect results every time.
Don't be afraid to delegate
It's the only way to survive. Loved ones will love to be part of the day and help out. Say yes when they ask to bring a casserole or crackers and dips. Don't feel the pressure to have to do it all yourself. You can make a designated drinks station with all the ingredients ready and leave it to the guests to play at bartending.
Prep as much as you can
Grazing boards are a miracle. They look absolutely fabulous and are low maintenance. All you need is some imagination. Grab a wooden chopping board, seasonal fruits, meats, nuts and a few delicious cheeses, and you're guaranteed to have happy guests. Or at least you'll be able to keep them occupied enough to finish cooking Christmas Day lunch. Then treat yourself after all that hard work with a navy linen dress that makes it all worth it.
When picking the menu, try to add as many foods as you can that can be prepped early. Things like cold salads, desserts and marinated meats can all be made the day before. Saving you more time for putting your feet up. You're supposed to be on holiday, after all.
Create new traditions
Traditions are a warm, comforting hug that reminds us; however life changes, some things still stay the same. If you're on the fence about bringing out Grandma's fine china, just do it. Even if it doesn't match with the décor. It's fun to incorporate a new tradition each year, and it doesn't have to be anything extravagant. A signature drink or Secret Santa are simple enough but still festive.
Get everyone involved
This one's for the girlfriends' group chat. There's so much DIY decorating that can be done at home on a budget with some good company. How much funner would it be to decorate cookies with all your friends and their kids? Or host a garland-making afternoon. Where everyone gets to take home a decoration for their mantel.
Conclusion: How To Host A Holiday Party That's Unforgettable
The countdown to Christmas has officially begun. Make your holiday party one for the books with our top tips on how to host an unforgettable holiday party that will leave you with only happy memories.
Stick to a theme
There's no right or wrong when it comes to Xmas decorating. It's the one time you can go as gaudy and geeky as you like. But try to be consistent. Whether it's a colour, flower or cranberries that you want to focus on, incorporating them in small ways throughout your decorating will create a harmonious, gorgeous look.
Embrace the Aussie summer
The silly season seems to work better when we adapt it to our unique climate. We're blessed with fresh seasonal fruits and seafood that are light enough for the hot weather, so make them the feature rather than the heavier, more traditional Christmas food. But every family is different, so do what will make everyone the happiest.
You can also leave the FOMO behind for the decorations. It's now trendy to celebrate Australian flowers and greenery rather than trying to recreate a winter wonderland in your home while everyone is melting under the hot sun.
Prepare your table early
Get your table linens, plates and placemats all out early to see what you're working with. Are there any plates or cutlery missing? Doing it early gives you enough time to shop for what you need or work out a solution. Make sure to wash linens a week before to save you time in the hectic lead-up to Christmas. Read our blog on how to iron linen for crisp results.
Most of all, remember to be merry and don't put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect!