I’m not big on time (or labor)-intensive holiday decor. You know those people who have houses that look like Christmas exploded inside from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, what with the greenery-wrapped bannisters, holiday-themed place settings, and a tree or wreath around every corner?
Very lovely; totally not me. Or at least not at this particular juncture in my life.
I put up a tree, keep a festive candle or two lit at all times, stick Santa hats and/or elf outfits onto the heads and/or bodies of any creature in my household who will hold still for long enough, and pretty much call it a day.
And when it comes to holiday entertaining…honestly? I think lots of candles and a little sparkle go a long way, and I don’t do much more in the way of decor. Even if I’m hosting a party, I keep things simple and easy, and spend my time focusing on important things, like cocktails.
Some quick-and-easy suggestions for your holiday party decor:
- All those extra ornaments you have laying around? Put them to work, filling up a pretty bowl or clear vase and using it as a centerpiece. I like using just one color, like silver, or a bunch of mismatched vintage-style ornaments (you can pick up cool ones on eBay).
- No need for lots of expensive flowers - just a couple of branches of red berries in a tall vase will add instant color. Or you can go for a dramatic arrangement of plain branches and hang a handful of bold ornaments from those, too.
- Lighting is key, so if you don’t have dimmers, consider picking up a few low-watt lightbulbs, and using candles to up the atmosphere even more (that’s our traditional, prettily lit Christmas Eve picnic, above).
- And speaking of candles: a few go a long way, so to keep your apartment from getting overheated try mixing in a few flameless votives with the real ones (these are great - and affordable).
- I love this idea from Country Living: hang angel wings on the back of each guest’s chair for a sweet touch of spirit.
- Dress up hot beverages with DIY-ed chocolate spoons (just dip plastic spoons in melted chocolate, sprinkle on the toppings of your choice, and set on wax paper in the refrigerator to dry).
- Skip the spicy, foodie scents (which give some people headaches) in favor of crisp, pine-y ones.
- Instead of red and green, try a simple palette of blue and silver, gold and white, or graphic black-and-white with splashes of evergreen.
- For a rustic touch, fill bowls with scented glitter pinecones, and hang extras from doorknobs (or on the tree).
- Don’t forget to make the restroom pretty! You don’t have to do a ton: just make sure there’s plenty of supplies and a small candle burning. Since this is a space that your guests won’t spend much time in, this is a good spot to try out a fun scent; I keep a Wasabi Pear-scented candle in my water closet.
- Add festive little extras where you can, like bowls of peppermint bark (easy to make and inexpensive) scattered through the apartment, or fill little baggies with peppermint-chocolate pretzels and leave them by the door for guests to take with them when they leave.
- No fireplace? No problem: just tune your TV to the Yule Log station. Cheesy, yes…but I love it.
Easy Hors D’Ouevres