12 Hosting Hacks to Help You
Survive the Holidays
This time of year, a few ingenious hacks can help keep stress levels down, especially when you’re throwing a holiday party or hosting extended family. We looked to some of our favorite hosts for their tips and tricks to help navigate the season. From furniture MVPs to a foolproof playlist (it will please both your mother-in-law and your hipster cousin—trust), the below will make for easier prep—and the kind of gatherings you’ll actually be able to enjoy.
“We’re big believers in keeping entertaining essentials corralled in once place; you’re more likely to throw that impromptu cocktail party if everything is organized and ready to go,” says Julie Carlson, editor-in-chief of Remodelista and co-author of Remodelista: The Organized Home. “Designate a drawer in your kitchen or dining room as an instant cocktail party kit and stock it with the basics: a corkscrew, a bottle opener, cocktail accessories, drinks napkins, votive holders, and votive candles. Organize it all on a tray so you can lift everything out of the drawer for quick delivery to the table.”©Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick, Artisan, 2017. Photos by Matthew Williams.
Candlelight always sets a relaxed tone. Spread mismatched tea lights across a tablescape or sorted together on a coffee table.
SKULTUNA Tea Light Holder, Set of 5, goop, $120
A streamlined daybed works overtime as an extra guest bed in a smaller space.
CB2 BOHO DAYBED, CB2, $1249
Keep a pile of napkins on the counter for guests to grab—and to mop up unexpected spills. Charmingly rustic, these linen napkins get softer with every wash.
SIR MADAM Linen Napkins, Set of 4, goop, $78
Peppermint Truffles can be made well in advance and put out before guests arrive. Bonus: Make an extra batch or two to have on hand for an unexpected host gift.
about the season, we like to compile playlists to put on while hanging out with
friends and family,” says Michael David, co-founder of Dart Collective.
Setting classic games on the coffee table makes for foolproof entertainment—who doesn’t like an impromptu game night? “We always keep lots of beautiful looking games out in our living room case anyone feels inspired to play at the end of the night,” says event stylist Amy Blessing.
CB2 Marble Domino Set, CB2, $129
If you’re serving wine (especially a variety in an unattractive label), decant it into either a clear wine bottle with the label removed or into a pretty glass carafe, says Carlson. “It makes a big visual difference, especially if you’re setting the bottles out on a table.”
SIMON HASAN Wrap Decater, goop, $270
We love the idea of an oversized basket for quick cleanup. Corral books, shoes, magazines, kids’ toys, and the like before guests arrive.
J’JUTE MAYA LARGE TIDELINE BASKET, goop, $300
Stock up on simple glassware that will work for serving everything from water to wine. “These tumblers come in a few pretty colors that brighten up an otherwise neutral table,” says Blessing.
CB2 Marta Dusty Blue Lustre Double Old-Fashion Glass, CB2, $5
Festive Serving Bowl
Our food editor, Thea Baumann, takes a cue from The Kitchen Healer and keeps beautiful bowls full clementines and shell-on pistachios around the house. “It’s nice to have something out so that guests have something to eat, even if they don’t realize they’re hungry,” she says.
CB2 Melrose Gold Serving Bowl, CB2, $45
When cooking for guests, Blessing opts for beautiful, multi-use cookware to keep her stovetop looking chic. “Entertaining is always a balance of keeping the conversation flowing while also making sure the food comes out on time,” she says.
STAUB X GOOP 3.5 QUART BRAISER, goop, $250