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Adorn with ease
Decorate for your holiday party sans stress

12/18/14
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



Deck your halls with boughs of holly, Santa figurines or glittery paper snowflakes. No matter the size or style, you can put together a fun and easy holiday party with these tips, tricks and theme ideas.

 
Why decorate?
Whether you’re hosting a holiday open house for 50 guests or a small gathering for five friends, decorations are a holiday party must. Laurie Mantegari of Everyday Details in Hampton said that decorations make things festive. 
“It changes the atmosphere and gives it an ambience,” she said. 
Leslye Amico of Affordable Occasions, a local event planning company, agreed. She said that decorations set the tone of a party. “It creates the look, it creates a feel … it gives [people] something to talk about, somewhere to start,” she said.
 
Get this party started
Amico suggested walking through a party supply store or department store to find something that inspires you. 
“It could be Father Christmas, it could be holly, it could be nutcrackers, it could be [the color] gold,” Amico said in a phone interview. “Build off of that one thing and go from there.” 
Once inspiration has struck, shopping and preparing will become much easier. You can start gathering hanging decorations and tabletop items to fill out your theme. Just remember the cardinal rule of easy party prep: less is more. 
“You don’t always have to cover every corner of every room so that all you see is red and gold,” Mantegari said in a phone interview. “You want to kind of figure out what colors you like and what blends nicely with the room and how you can carry it through.” 
 
Colors to theme about
One easy way to carry decorations through a house is with color. Pair the traditional red or green with gold and silver accents to get a classic Christmas feel. Mantegari recommended choosing warm (red) or cool (green) as your primary party color based on the color of your walls. For example, if you have off-white or taupe walls, Mantegari suggested a warm color palette. 
If you want to branch out with a more modern flair, get traditional items like ornaments and candle holders, but in vibrant colors. 
“They have lime green and turquoise and pink and sparkling and it’s all in Christmas decorating, [but] not traditional,” Amico said. 
Embrace a snowy theme and fill your space with gold, silver, and white, which is one of Amico’s favorites. 
“I love a winter wonderland personally, [with] trees or branches with fake snow on them, snowflakes and floating white candles, kind of airy and earthy,” she said. 
You could also do simply sparkly and have paper snowflakes, solid silvers and blues, and crystal or glittery accents. Any winter wonderland theme is a good idea when hosting a non-denominational holiday party so those who celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Festivus can all take part.
 
Use what you already have
Repurposing everyday household items into decorations is an easy way to dress up a space without spending much money or time. 
“You can do a lot with different pieces,” Mantegari said. “It’s just [about] having a vision.” 
Household goods: Turn a wine glass upside down and put a candle on the bottom end of the stem to add a touch of elegance. If you have a wooden cutting board, use it as a platter for appetizers. Add some greenery or loose ornaments around the edge of the board and you’ve created a serving dish that doubles as a centerpiece. A cake platter with a pedestal can hold assorted cookies or act as a stand for your favorite Santa figurine. Look through your dishware for small plates or bowls to make a votive candle holder. Dress them up by lining the candles with a ribbon in your theme color. You can even write Christmas tidings on the ribbons.
Holiday trinkets: Many homes have a surplus of holiday trinkets, gathered over the years, to choose from. Nutcrackers, lighted trees, and tiny reindeer are all fair game. If you decide to use your family decorations, make sure to go with solid colors for plates and napkins so your pieces don’t get lost in a sea of patterns. Amico cautioned that just because they may all be red and green doesn’t mean they complement each other. 
“The idea that Christmas goes with Christmas doesn’t always apply,” she said. 
Make sure that all of your favorite trinkets are included by spreading decorations throughout the rooms guests will be in. That way, you can have a colorful kitchen, dining room, seating area, and bathroom without visually bombarding your friends and family with Christmas cheer.
All natural: Take your theme from outdoors to indoors by using items you can find for free in your backyard. Pick up tree branches and pinecones and dip them in paint to display on your table. Go one step more and turn the painted pinecones into ornaments as party favors for your guests. (Amico said this would be a fun craft to get the kids involved). You can take the natural feel further and put red and green apples or oranges, cranberries and chestnuts in a glass bowl or cylinder for a centerpiece.
Get crafty: As a final touch, make the night a little fancy by adding your decorating prowess to the meal. Cut out card stock that matches the theme colors and make labels for each dish. If you’re having a sit-down meal, put handwritten place cards and a painted pinecone at each setting. Place ribbon, confetti or a dusting of glitter on the table for a final pop of decadence. 
 
As seen in the December 18, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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