Whether you’re welcoming a few close friends or a larger extended family this holiday season, you undoubtedly want to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for all. We know that hosting can be overwhelming for some, but fret not dear holiday hostess — we are here to help!
When it comes to hosting, it’s not about grand gestures and elaborate décor and setups — it’s more about a welcoming environment with thoughtful touches that will make your guests feel at home. Read on for some of our favorite ways to make the holiday moments special, and perhaps even a little less stressful!
1. Setting the Stage: Let Your Home Embrace the Festive Spirit
You’ve put a lot of thought into the design of your home, and it is a representation of who you are. Our best advice is to embrace that same aesthetic when it comes to your décor. Not every home is meant to be festooned with traditional orange pumpkins, red bows, and green garland.
To create a welcoming and cohesive space where your guests feel at home, trust in your personal style and integrate holiday décor that embraces what you already have in your space. For example, if you have a bright and crisp oceanside vibe, consider holiday touches that are festive in theme but play into your color-scheme and integrate soft colors, natural textures, and materials like burlap and greenery.
Inspiring Ideas for the Coastal Hostess: For Thanksgiving – pumpkins are a paintable accent that can be toned to match your palette and paired with soft greenery. And white pumpkins are always a yes for any holiday hostess! For Christmas, try integrating crisp white shells against softer green garlands and warm woods to create contrast and interest.
2. The Power of Lighting
Your everyday lights may be just right for everyday activities, but it’s nice to consider lighting in a new way when it comes to hosting guests at the holidays. We like to look at lighting in layers – general, task, and accent lighting. Think about the experience and how you want it to feel and then adjust accordingly.
If, for example, you plan for after-dinner drinks and dessert in the living room, you may not want all the usual overhead (general) lighting on. It could feel far too bright that late in the evening (and after a few drinks!). You could adjust this by using lamps for your general lighting and then bring in candles on the mantle or coffee table to create a whimsical, relaxing environment to wind down with your guests.
Favorite Finds for the Coastal Hostess: This Cedar Candle from Crate & Barrel has multiple wicks and doubles the ambiance with a smoked cedar scent. If you’re looking for a flameless option, we love the soft white birch exterior of these flameless pillar candles.
3. Secret Details from the Hostess: Surprise and Delight at Every Turn
Once the stage is set, you can layer in subtle details and experiential moments to top it all off. This is where fun and creativity come into play, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas below!
- Everyone has a glass, and it’s important to keep track! We love these sea-themed wine charms to help! To elevate the experience, consider setting out the glasses with a personalized welcome note for each guest to share your gratitude for their presence.
- Speaking of glasses: Simplify your evening with a selection of 2-3 wines, beer, and then a signature cocktail and/or mocktail. Our Apple Cider Mimosa still remains near and dear to our hearts, and the Apple Mimosa from Mindful Mocktail is a great partner to it!
- The holidays are perfect for kicking off your shoes and cozying up by the fire at the end of the evening, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Consider having some extra slippers for your guests to slide into and a stocked blanket basket set aside to help everyone feel comfortable on chilly nights.
- Don’t forget the fun and games! Having some games set out can help occupy little ones and even ignite a friendly competition among adults. We love this seaside tic-tac-toe and seashell mancala for our beach house holidays.
- As always, the perfect playlist can help set the tone. Don’t think too hard about the order of the songs, but find ones that fit the mood and let shuffle work its magic!
- A token of appreciation or memory to take home can be a nice way to end the night. No need to be extravagant — simple ideas go a long way. Think a seashell with a hand-written note, or something like these candles or ornaments that will bring back memories of their visit for years to come.
4. The Essence of Hospitality: Embracing the Joy of Sharing
Remember, the essence of hospitality lies not in perfection but in the warmth and generosity with which you welcome your guests. Embrace the imperfections, savor the moments, and create a space where your guests feel valued, cherished, relaxed, and part of something special. After all, the true magic of the holidays is not in the elaborate decorations or the perfect meal; it’s in the shared moments of joy, laughter, and love.
We’d love to hear some of the ways you have made your hosting experience special, feel free to share your stories and photos in the comments to help inspire other holiday hostesses!