Ways to celebrate together this holiday
Pondering a family holiday gathering after missing out last year? With the holidays fast approaching, this year’s gatherings might look a bit more normal. If you are feeling a little bit rusty about your at-home entertaining skills, ALEXANDRIA NOBLE of A. Noble Events has got you covered.
Noble, an event planner, has been on both sides of hosting. She started her career in the food-and-beverage industry, working for a full-service catering company in Washington, D.C.
“The world of catering is not for the faint of heart,” she says.
Having paid her dues, she appreciates her time in the trenches.
“From a service and logistics standpoint, I would not be the planner I am today without the wealth of knowledge the catering industry taught me,” she says.
Noble now tackles events both big and small. Her company is a “full-service luxury event planning and design firm servicing the Southeast and beyond for weddings, corporate, and life events.”
The holidays are truly the most magical time of the year, she says, but acknowledges there is still the issue of navigating COVID-19.
“Maybe you and your family have decided to move dinner outside, accompanied with fire pits, oversized throws, and a spiked apple cider station,” she suggests.
Regardless of how you decide to entertain at home, here are some pointers that hold true no matter what your event looks like.
A. Noble Events (anobleevents.com)
Nothing says home for the holidays like freshly baked goods. Pop a holiday treat into the oven an hour before your guests arrive. Your visitors will be greeted with the aroma of freshly baked goods, and added bonus, dessert is ready.
Don’t overlook the restroom. Remember to replace your hand soaps with holiday scents and add a fir-scented wallflower to keep the room smelling fresh throughout the evening.
Preset your napkin, china, flatware, and glassware on the dinner table and don’t be afraid to get creative with your presentation. An easy-to-learn festive napkin fold is only a YouTube search away.
Setup food and beverage stations throughout your home in areas where you want guests to socialize. Having the cocktail cart, appetizers, and an after-dinner hot toddy station spread throughout will force people to mix, mingle, and keep moving.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself. Utilize the resources right in front of you and help support your favorite local shops during this season.
And one bonus final tip from Noble: It is important to remember when hosting a party in your home, you are letting people in to get a small glimpse of your world, and we all know that world is not perfect.
“Don’t try to make it out to be,” she says, adding that it is important to be a relaxed host.
“Your guests will mirror the same energy, and that is all you can ask for,” she says. “You want them to feel welcome and comfortable in your home and remember back on what a joyful time they had in your company.”
SALLY LINDROOS & COURTNEY STONE
Kickstand Events (kickstandevents.com; fall foliage wreaths through December 17 for local pickup at kickstandevents.com/shop)
Shop your house. Personalize your get-together by incorporating items that you already own as conversation pieces on your tablescape or throughout your entertaining area. It could be the perfect opportunity to bring up past memories for storytelling or reminisce on exciting memories together as the year comes to a close. Mixing old family heirlooms with new favorites from recent travels or milestones can help bring an endearing and thoughtful touch that every holiday gathering deserves.
Authenticity is King. There is no need to box yourself into traditional holiday colors or themes. While making your decor and menu plans, think about how you can engage all of the five senses in a unique way (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) for your guest experience. If each element is accounted for in details like bold monochromatic colors, festive or live music, seasonally scented candles, a new cocktail recipe, or cozy blankets by the fire pit, then your overall aesthetic will accomplish a well-rounded gathering for everyone throughout the space – harmoniously reflecting your unique style.
Invest in the Memories. It’s been a wild year for everyone – we all value time with loved ones now more than ever! You’ll never regret the time spent to make everyone feel welcomed and special in your home. Incorporating someone’s favorite cocktail, serving nostalgic comfort food, displaying photos of memories made throughout the year, or indicating guest seating at the table with a hand-written note will never be overlooked or underappreciated.
Another pro-tip: Choose to make two or three homemade menu items that are really special to your group but then source the rest from local shops on a beautiful display. Prepping thoughtful details in advance and prioritizing quality time spent with your loved ones is more meaningful and memorable than your time spent away in the kitchen.
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
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