The holidays are always a wonderful time of year. Festive gatherings allow us to take extra time with friends, family and colleagues surrounded by delectable eats, treats and libations. We love entertaining for the holidays, pulling out our favorite glimmering and special décor, gathering a few of our closest friends and celebrating the holiday season.
We’ve put together a fun and sparkly holiday entertaining party full of tips and tricks for easy entertaining that won’t break the bank!
For us over at Style x Beauty Department HQ, the holidays always need to have a few essentials: good food, bubbly and beautiful décor. In between all these, we like to slip in a few personal touches here and there, putting our stamp on the gathering.
For us, good food is the cornerstone of every gathering, especially one for the holidays. Fortunately, holiday gatherings are a great time to catch up with friends and family and with the exception of Christmas dinner, appetizers and tapas flow a-plenty. The best things about appetizers and tapas: easy to eat, can be made before hand leaving you to mingle with your guests and quick and easy clean up!
Some simple baked brie topped with caramelized garlic and onions, a drizzle of balsamic reduction and some crunchy slivered almonds is quick, easy and delicious. Baked in a brie baker leaves no-fuss, no-muss cleaning up.
Charcuterie & Cheese
A cured meat & cheese plate is the absolute easiest way to put out different flavors and allow your guests to mix and match as they please. A mix of cheese and complementary cured meats that pair well with your bubbly of choice is a great way to begin. We recommend having at least three kinds of cheese: salty (like a parmesan), creamy (gouda or harvarti) and strong (gorgonzola or a sharp white cheddar) and a mix of cured meats such as salami, garlic sausage and Serrano ham. Add some cornichons, olives and crackers and you are set.
Easy-to-eat appetizers’s are essential for any holiday party. Simply because they’re easy doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty! Some bamboo skewers spiked with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and melon is quick, easy, delish and very pretty to look at.
Let’s be honest, one of the biggest indulgences over the holidays in all the delicious baked goods. Cookies, cakes and tarts cover tables as far as the eye can see, beckoning you closer to indulge. Treating yourself over the holidays is an absolute must in our humble opinions. It takes a lot of willpower to say no to tables of treats so having one or two (or three or four) isn’t that bad of thing. Homemade treats combined with special orders from your favorite bakery (Kien’s cookies and macaroon photo) are a great way to spread the love of all things sweet.
We loved this white cake topped with a DIY cake topper of small gold ornaments and some glittery star stir sticks It was a fun and playful way of putting a personal touch on a simple, yet, very tasty cake that looked great with our décor and desserts.
*A quick and easy home made tart recipe that is a crowd pleaser and pretty to boot: Bake some tart shells in the oven according to the package directions until golden and allow to cool as you make the filling. Combine one pack of softened, room temperate cream cheese and one can of sweetened condensed milk. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, adding the full can of sweetened condensed milk, a dash of vanilla (and the juice of half a lemon and the rind of one. Combine all together until creamy and smooth, not too runny and flavored to your preference. Refridgerate for at least an hour before spooning a bit into each tart shell, topping with a spoonful of pomegranate seeds and a small spring of rosemary. Beautiful, simple and delicious. A few chocolate-y Ferreo Rocher chocolates and no guest could turn down a treat.
Champagne & Bubbles
We are firm believers that no party is complete without libations, both of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety. We found these gorgeous gold and rose gold champagne bottles and stocked our bar cart with some Martinelli sparkling apple juice making sure we had enough for all our guests’ preferences.
We served our bubbly with some sparkling cranberries and a rosemary stem placed atop the glass. Visual appeal is always important ;-).
*The sparkling cranberries were such a simple way of adding a statement to both our bubbly and as a decorative element surround our cake. Simply soak some fresh cranberries in some simple sugar (equal parts sugar and water melted together) overnight, drain and pat dry (make sure the cranberries are still tacky). Coat the cranberries first in turbinado sugar (we love Trader Joe’s fair trade turbinado sugar) and then in regular sugar. The combination of the different sugar crystals is what causes them to sparkle. You’ll need to let them dry for no less than an hour so the sugar will adhere to the cranberries. Perfect to make the day before or morning of your evening event. If you are in a rush, you could freeze them quickly but careful biting into them!
We are firm believers in décor making a statement without costing an arm and a leg. We love to mix vintage pieces found in flea markets such as a mirrored tray as a cocktail tray or a vintage cake stand, with some modern pieces, adding a personal touch to our table scape.
A favorite entertaining tip of ours is to beautify a simple bar cart (ours is from Target) with sparkly lights, holiday decorations and fun bar ware. We love a mix of stemware, combining vintage champagne flutes, highballs and stemless wine glasses.
Simple white and gold plates adored with decorative ornaments as a take home favor for your guests or used as place cards is a beautiful way to dress up your table. Mix and match ornaments in clear vases or apothecary jars as centerpieces really brings a touch of playfulness and holidays to your table beyond reds and greens typical to the holidays. And be sure to add some candles in different lengths and sizes. It really adds a beautiful ambiance to the table.
And flowers, flowers are an absolute must! Our color scheme was rose gold, white and shimmering silver and gold. A gorgeous bouquet of light, creamy pinks and white looked so lovely with the rest of our table.
Cheers to the holiday season and happy entertaining!