With the holidays fast approaching, why not plan several small gatherings with social distancing, rather than your usual big holiday party?
My advice is to safely gather with those with whom you have been "podding " during Covid. Small gatherings this year will be ever so meaningful and memorable. By virtue of being small, you can incorporate unique details and flourishes that can be difficult and costly at larger parties.
Here are my top tips for 2020.
1. When it comes to decorating for a home party, pull out the good china and silver. Why not? If you don't have these items or crave a new look, you can rent seasonal place settings from Table & Teaspoon. Time-saving tip: Caterers and us event planners can rent items for a beautiful tablescape, saving you time and money. You can also freshen up what you have with a few new accessories. Check out my Thanksgiving shop on Amazon to add some wow to your table. (As an affiliate, I may earn a small commission.)
2. Flowers are a must. Order from your local florist, or make your centerpieces the day before the party with flowers and fruit. You can order beautiful seasonal flowers to arrange directly from Invited Journal, which also carries vases, linens, and other decorative items.
3. Food. If you love to cook, prepare your favorite dishes, and share them with your friends and family. There is no more powerful way of showing your love than by feeding people. If you are not a cook or are overwhelmed with work, family, and other responsibilities, have no fear. There are caterers and gourmet purveyors galore these days ready to help you. Order from your favorite restaurant. If you live in New York, call Marcey Brownstein Catering, Dish Catering, or Bartleby & Sage, who are offering holiday meals for drop off with or without staff.
4. The Bar. Serve champagne. There is nothing more festive. My favorites are Billecart Brut-Rose and Val Frison 'Gaston' (made by a French female-owned producer.) Have sparkling water and sliced citrus on hand for non-drinkers. Serve good wine with dinner that enhances the cuisine. Your local wine store can offer suggestions. I like Heights Chateau.
5. Dessert. This is a chance to go all out. Don't skip putting together a beautiful dessert table. Order a giant chocolate turkey from Jacques Torres for Thanksgiving and place mini chocolate turkeys at each place setting, perhaps tied with a seating card. Order a French croquembouche or macaron tower for the Christmas dessert table from Laduree. The largest, most elaborate gingerbread houses in NYC come from William Poll but Lassen & Hennigs in Brooklyn Heights also creates beautiful (more affordable) candy-covered versions. Serve something fruity (a seasonal pie or tart), something creamy (a pudding or Lady M cake), and have some Van Leeuwen vanilla bean, pumpkin, or eggnog ice cream on hand and fresh whipped cream.
6. Coffee and Tea. Always serve coffee (decaf is fine) - don't ask guests if they want some, just turn on the pot halfway through the meal.
7. Games. If there are any of your guests are musicians have them bring their acoustic guitar or ask them to prepare a song or two to play on the piano. There is nothing like an after dinner sing-along. A game of charades is also fun.
8. Forget perfection. People will love you for just being yourself. The idea is to relax and let them into your world. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.