Are you beginning to plan your at-home festivities for the 2012 Holiday Season? Are you seeking brand-new design inspiration, or some simple last-minute décor details? If so, we”re here to help! Here are some of our best Tips for Holiday Entertaining, recommended girlfriend to girlfriend:

1. Set the scene. There”s nothing wrong with an elegant bunch of tea roses or a wild and colorful bouquet. But you can see vases of flowers any ol” time of year. It”s the holiday season, which means it”s the perfect time of year to dress your tabletop a little differently – and, of course, festively! Consider creating a charming holiday-themed scene of ceramic Christmas village miniatures or maybe gingerbread houses (we found a great recipe over at The 30 Minute Dinner Party.) Begin with a light layer of faux snow, and then build your tiny tabletop world from there. You can add storefronts, Victorian homes, trees, people – whatever you like!

2.Don”t underestimate the sense of smell. There”s so much to stimulate the senses during the holiday season – the clinking of glasses and trilling of carols will keep your ears perked, while tempting treats tickle your taste buds and twinkling lights dazzle the eyes. While all of this is going on, your nose will be equally busy – with the warm, spicy scents of the holidays. Stock your fireplace with cedar or pine, keep a pot of homemade air freshener simmering on the stove (Looking for recipes? Try these by The Yummy Life!) don”t add plenty of evergreen sprigs and garlands to your décor. You could also add an unexpected twist by weaving fresh flowers (like red or white roses!) among the greenery.

3. Always, always test Christmas lights before stringing them up. It is casino so frustrating to spend time and energy decorating a tree, garland or window frame with carefully placed strings of lights – only to plug them in, and discover that they don”t work. This year, save yourself the annoyance by testing them first – even before untangling!

4. Always, always add a personal touch. Homemade ornaments, hand-strung popcorn and cranberry garlands, vintage children”s toys – These details create the sort of sentimental, old-fashioned atmosphere that makes everyone fall in love with the holidays. These glitter snowflake frame ornaments from Pottery Barn Kids add a great personalized touch (just add photos of your loved ones!) to any wintertime décor.

 

5. Borrow the extras. If you have special china and love the occasion to show it off, that”s great; the holidays are the perfect time for that! But if you don”t, don”t feel like you have to run out to buy expensive new glasses, silverware or serving trays to properly welcome your holiday dinner guests. Instead, consider renting the things you need. Chances are, there is a party rental store near you – one that lends out, along with tents and helium tanks, fine china and dinnerware. The prices are usually reasonable – and as a bonus, renting does away with the cumbersome chore of storing and caring for these rarely-used items year after year.

As the holiday season heats up this year, we will continue to share with you all our favorite tips, traditions and recipes. What are yours? Please let us know in the “comments” section below, and be automatically entered to win a free stocking stuffer from MyChelle!*

 

*To be eligible to receive our free gifts, you must be located within the United States.

By Liana Orenstein