Do you smell that? The crisp air, the hint of fireplace smells and warm home cooking in the air? Yep, it’s officially the start of the holiday season! Everyone is in the best mood, your social calendar is on fire with parties, your outfits are always the best because you get to layer up with light jackets and scarves and sip warm drinks. Best of all, you wish for snow….. yes, wish. Because after January 1st….. snow is no longer a novelty or a thing of beauty. It is a nuisance. A yellow nuisance.
I’m a pretty good procrastinator. So when the holidays start to roll around, it feels a bit like a race to the finish line. We have weeks until Thanksgiving and months until Christmas…… so I have all the time in the world, right? Wrong. This year, I have vowed to not get caught at the last minute unprepared for holiday visitors, parties and gatherings. Last year, I could still blame the quasi newborn. This year, she’s practically a teenager, so that won’t fly. I’ve decided to share a few tips I’m implementing to be sure I’m equipped for any holiday occasion that may happen…. planned or unplanned.
Fresh Florals ::
Nothing says, I’ve got my crap together to guests like a house that has fresh flowers abounding. Since that can also get pricey, I suggest getting flowers that tend to appear fresh longer or that dry out gracefully. My favorites are eucalyptus, hydrangeas and and sort of winter-ey wildflowers that can also be used as a filler. Think babys breath style flowers. For November, I keep a variety of dried leaves collected from the park and pinecones on the table. As we get closer to Christmas, I love to have evergreen sprigs and branches mixed in or laid out as part of a tablescape.
Go-To Party Outfit ::
That perfect LBD you have but never wear until it’s the last minute? Yep, that one. Take it to the dry cleaners now, so it will be ready and in tip top shape so you aren’t left wearing your runner-up dress because your first choice still had spilled cocktail sauce on it from last years escapades. I prefer to stick with simpler dresses for holiday gatherings and go heavy on the jewelry (obviously) or add in a bold lip color for effect.
Fistfuls of Snacks ::
Hunger levels are at an all time high during the holidays and nothing is worse than a hangry host or guest. Be sure to have a variety of quick and easy snacks on hand to help curb any hypoglycemic rants before they start. The trick here is to make them easy to eat, budget friendly to replenish and conveniently accessible to stock up on at a moments notice. May I suggest fresh nuts, like these rosemary roasted almonds, or crisp seasonal veggies and hummus, fancy cheese and crackers or even tomato, mozzarella and basil skewers.
Easy Cocktails ::
Tis the season for cocktails galore. Aside from our normal stock the bar options of champagne, wine and whiskey, I also prefer to offer my guests a healthier alternative if they feel they’ve already been overserved this holiday season. I’ll keep a pitcher on hand and will mix up some sparkling water with a few drops of Crystal Light and it’s a simple substitute to a glass of bubbly and it’s calorie free. If you have littles or are expecting friends with little ones to stop by, this is also the perfect fun holiday drink for them to enjoy with guests.
Thank You Gifts ::
No one wants to be that guest who arrives for the holidays empty handed. Yes, the host said to ‘just bring yourself’, so call it the half southerner in me, but you should always have a token of your appreciation to give to the host. It by no means needs to break the bank, but be considerate during this season of giving! The etiquette on this stuff ranges, but think of it in small, medium and large. Small is a holiday party and you are among a larger number of guests, something like flowers or a card are thoughtful. Medium is a dinner party with a more intimate group, so something like a bottle of decent wine (no two buck chuck folks) or one of my favorites is this cocktail swatchbook. Large is if you’re an overnight guest in someones home, consider a gift card to their favorite local restaurant or this cute little tree trunk planter. On the other hand, I sometimes have small gifts on hand for when I host little dinner parties with friends. For those, I will have something light and simple for each guest to take home with them at the end of the night. This could be a candle or my favorite are little brass bottle openers, which are always a hit.
Now that I’ve shared my tiny wins for keeping up to speed and equipped for this holiday season, it’s time to tell me yours! Leave a comment, tweet or Instagram about your tips to making this holiday season the best ever with the #tinywin hashtag. Also, keep a look out in the Nov + Dec issues of People, People Style Watch and Instyle Magazine for more of my #tinywin holiday tips!
*This post was sponsored by the lovely people at Crystal Light™ via People StyleWatch. Thanks you for supporting the brands that help support this blog!*