Over the years, our holiday celebrations have taken on almost every form. From formal dinners with family, to cocktails and game nights with friends, to brunches that last well into the afternoon. We have spent Christmas mornings in a snowy condo in Colorado, at the beach in California, and driving up and down the 5 freeway. As anyone who has hosted an event of any size knows it is a lot of work and it is easy to get caught up in the details of which dishes to use (hint: all of them, why have dishes that just sit in a cabinet?) where everyone will sit, or what you'll serve. If you're thinking of hosting a get-together, here are a few simple ideas to help you plan a stress-free, earth-friendly, and globally-inspired holiday gathering this year.
On The Table:
Layer a few printed linens for a casual eclectic look. Here we used an ikat linen tablecloth underneath a blockprinted cotton runner. The stoneware dishes are from World Market, and the glasses are a mix of vintage and new. An oversized cutting board from Ikea makes a practical cheese platter. Our recycled handmade brass bells and woven friendship cathedral basket add a touch of character. We dressed the table with fresh pine branches, a few unscented pillar candles, and fresh citrus fruit.
Eat & Drink:
Cheese spreads are always an easy crowd pleaser. We like to browse the cheese section of our local grocery store or specialty shop for new ideas. In general, 3-5 types of cheese ranging from mild to pungent, and a good variety of fruit, veggies, nuts, olives, crackers, create a good balance of sweet, salty, and savory. If you're serving wine, consider trying a wine from one of your favorite travel destinations- or a place you hope to visit someday! This wine from South Africa is vegan (why vegan wine?) and can be found at Trader Joe's, but you can easily find fair trade, vegan, and organic wine at most health food stores and most major retailers.
Pick a Playlist:
It just wouldn't feel like the holidays without a playlist of seasonal songs, but if you're already tired of hearing the same old classics everywhere you go, pick out a globally-inspired playlist for your next event. Putumayo offers some great mixes of holiday songs from musicians from all over the world. If you use Pandora, you can simply create a station from one of your favorite artists. The Smithsonian Museum has also created an interactive map that samples over a hundred songs from various countries, so you can find the perfect tune to set the tone.
May your gatherings be merry & bright!