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Top holiday party hosting trends

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Hosting tips & trends

Year after year of holiday hosting can mean running out of ideas to really wow your guests. If you're tired doing the same thing over and over when it comes to seasonal party prep, it's time to take things up a notch. We got the scoop on some of the top trends to incorporate into your next event this Christmas.
Christmas party tablescape

To learn more, we turned to Debi Lilly, event planning expert and founder and president of A Perfect Event in Chicago. She shares some of her top holiday hosting tips to help make your next party a fun, festive and fabulous affair.

Deck the halls with ribbon

Make it work: Wrap double-sided satin ribbon around a few key pieces like glass vases and sprinkle the table with wintry outdoor accents like sprigs of fresh pine, votive candles in pretty vintage glasses (pull them right out of your pantry) and metallic pinecones.

Simple and affordable, ribbon is a great way to add a splash of festive color to your home. "I love to trim the tree with ribbon, the mantel, the table and more," Lilly says. One of her secrets for festive holiday party decor that works on any budget -- and takes only a minute -- is to wrap vases in gorgeous, elegant, colorful satin ribbon. "This is so easy to do, and using unexpected trend-forward colors like apple green and white really punches up the visual drama."

Simple holiday eats

This season, do away with complicated starters and keep things simple. "I love colorful, delicious appetizers that you don't even have to cook," Lilly says. "I mean, who has time to make everything from scratch during the hectic holidays?" Two of her favorites this holiday come straight from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (where she spends six weeks each summer). They are caprese lollipops (skewer cherry tomatoes, mini bocconcini cheese and fresh basil and drizzle with reduced balsamic and olive oil) and prosciutto-wrapped melon. Both use minimal ingredients, don't require cooking and look colorful and elegant on a holiday table.

Create a "wow" focal point

Every great party needs a focal point or anchor that takes things beyond the basics. Lilly suggests creating an eye-catching edible centerpiece-turned-buffet that looks magnificent but is actually simple to pull together. "Turn your tabletop into a delicious, dreamy self-serve bar for beverages and bites by setting out champagne glasses and a few varieties to taste throughout the night." Accompany your bubbly bar with some simple snacks. "Set a tasting bar with sweets or savory snacks that look simply chic when placed in glass vases as a collection of bites on the bar," Lilly says. "You can use cookies, chocolate, candy or a healthy farmer's market of fresh vegetable crudités with delicious dips and healthy hummus."

Candles, candles, candles

Candles never go out of style and seem to conjure up seasonal warmth around the holidays, making them an ideal addition to your holiday decor. "There is simply nothing better to splurge on than a collection of tall pillar and small votive candles, which last for months and months," says Lilly. She suggests taking a collection of pillar candles and clustering them on your table or mantel. Place smaller votives around the taller pillar candles; for added drama, scatter fresh rose petals or even sprigs of fresh herbs.

The devil is in the details

Adding small but noticeable details is a great way to go above and beyond the hosting call of duty. "Even on the stems of my champagne glasses I tie ribbons," Lilly says. Take the time to add a few thoughtful, personalized touched to your party table as a way to create a special experience for guests. "These small touches really show you put thought into the party and the celebration, and leave guests with a beautiful night to remember."

More holiday tips and ideas

Prep your home for holiday parties
Festive party ideas for your next holiday bash
Top tips for having a greener Christmas

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