It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Once upon a time I hosted an annual Christmas party, but I haven’t done so in several years. This year I decided to throw a Christmas dinner party for a few of my best girlfriends. Here’s some inspiration for your own holiday parties, plus some delicious recipes!
At most of my dinner parties, only the dining room is decorated but since this is a Christmas dinner party, my entire house was transformed into a glittering winter wonderland. I had a small live tree in the corner of my dining room and swapped out tons of my normal artwork for holiday print. I hung garland really wherever I could fit a garland and added festive red bows and poinsettias all around. I kept my twinkling light curtains from Disney Dinners: Cinderella on either side of the doorway (how could I not? so festive!) and added my beautiful lighted birch tree to the sitting room.
The twinkling lights added so much charm to the dining room ambiance! Of course I had my Christmas tree up in the living room with more garlands and holiday decor all around. Here’s some photos from decking the halls!
This is a very normal Christmas table for me but I realized that I’ve never really featured this look on The Rose Table. The show-stopper here is the tree branches. I love this trick during the holidays! I get a live tree every year (read about this year’s balsam-fraser fir hybrid here) and I always cut some of the bottom branches to make room for packages under the tree. I save those branches in bucket of water or a vase (depending on the size) until I’m entertaining, then I arrange them down the center of the table like a living table runner. Isn’t it pretty? It’ll usually last for about a week before the needles start drying out.
Another one of my favorite Christmas tricks is using floating candles in mason jars with cranberries and rosemary. So easy and so gorgeous!
You may not think of white hydrangeas when you’re buying flowers for Christmas but I think they look stunning flanked by red roses! I used my white birch branch vases for the roses and a smaller vase in the center for the hydrangeas. Don’t be afraid to group flowers like this or to use varying heights. I think it looks quite fetching!
The Place Settings
I used my original red placemats for the place settings. These are the first placemats I ever owned (well cloth anyway, technically my bamboo placemats were the first) and I still think they’re so pretty! I used my every day Emma dishes and new plaid napkins fitted with my gold cuff napkin rings (which you might recognize from Disney Dinners: Aladdin). I decided to use my gold flatware to give the table a glamorous, holiday feel. There’s something about the gold touches with the casual plaid and branches that I just love!
I opted for a simple Little Black Dress (very Kate Winslet in The Holiday) for my Christmas party paired with red stilettos and mint green and gold earrings.
Meet Jingle Bell Punch! Could this look any more festive? This is an easy punch to make; you just throw everything in a punch bowl and give it a stir! With cranberry juice, vodka, a touch of orange curacao, and ginger ale, this punch is a crowd pleaser. Plus, it’s so pretty! I made an ice ring using raspberries and mint from my garden, which I thought looked like holly. Get the recipe here.
I take zero credit for this recipe. Every Christmas Eve, my dad goes to Central Market right when it opens and gets gorgeous lump crab and every Christmas Day, my mom made a delicious crab salad. What can I say? My mom’s from San Francisco, my dad’s from Seattle, and they like to have crab on Christmas! So to me, this salad is as Christmas-y as eggnog and cookies. Get the delicious recipe here.
Christmas Fettuccine served with Loaded Focaccia
The Holiday is one of my favorite movies of all time and I’ve always thought Kate Winslet’s line, “Shall I make us a little Christmas fettuccine?” was so cozy! Inspired by the film, I decided to serve my guests Christmas fettuccine, since I make the best alfredo sauce on the planet. (If I do say so myself!) This takes no time at all to whip up and is really a low-key dish for entertaining. It’s so easy and delicious, I’ve served it at many parties tinted for various themes. Get the recipe here.
I wanted some color on the plate and something to slop up the delicious sauce so I also made Loaded Focaccia, which starts with my homemade focaccia and amps up the flavor with homemade pesto, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. It’s absolutely delicious! Get the recipe here.
Festive Fiori di Sicilia Cranberry Cake
This cake is so good that my friend Katie – yes, the same Katie at this party! – asked me to make this cake for her wedding years ago. I talked her out of it since her wedding was in March and this is such a holiday cake but if that isn’t the greatest compliment of all time, I don’t know what is. With sparkling sugared cranberries and a hint of orange, this is one of my most beloved cake recipes. I hope you love it as much as I do! Get the recipe here and learn how to make sugared cranberries here.
After dinner, my friends and I had a little cookie exchange! I asked each guest to bring a different kind of cookie. I set out Christmas paper plates and everyone got to take some of each cookie home. How fun is that?
I hope this inspired you to host your very own Christmas dinner party. Want to see more? Watch the Christmas Dinner Party episode:
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Have yourself a merry little Christmas,