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Designing for the Season: Holiday Entertaining Your Way

by  V. Sheree Williams on November 29, 2013
Designing for the Season: Holiday Entertaining Your Way

Yes, it is true. The holiday season is upon us once again. For many of us, that means receiving invitations to holiday events as well as hosting our own little get-together with friends and family. If you are one who loves to entertain, chances are you have your the date set, décor ready to go, menu in mind and invitation out in the mail or sent via email.

It is the season for red, white and green but as design and entertainment expert William P. Miller shares, people are doing their own thing by incorporating a little of the traditional with some non-traditional entertaining design elements.

"People are sort of doing their own thing. They using colors that accent their homes and a lot are their favorite colors. I have seen monotone such as all pink and blue and silver although that is representation of Hanukkah, I've seen it [the colors] exercised in all types of faiths. I have also seen a lot of multi-metallic colors. People are getting away from the traditional red, white and green and sort of creating a theme in their home that is personal and different from what other people are doing," says Miller.

From the trees to the dinner plates, everything is up for one's own personal interpretation. "For the tree trimming party, I don't see a lot of multi-colored lights used on Christmas trees. I see a lot of white more than colors." When it comes to the ornaments, Miller says, "Ornaments made of fruit on a basic tree like bananas, apples or just a variety in large fruit [such as ] pomegranates look really, really special."

When it come to setting the menu, Miller who plans events as well as burns a little in the kitchen, notes that lamb chops are at the top of foods requested this year. In addition, he says, "People are serving things that are finger foods, that are accessible and easy for their guests to enjoy. Lots of desserts." Small bites are certainly the way to go now days as those doing entertaining don't want to be in the kitchen cooking and preparing instead of socializing with guests. Interior Designer Sheila Bridges is certainly a big fan of this style of entertaining when sharing her tips her article.

Whether you are prepared for this year's festive activities or not, Miller shares a few tips and trends below for entertaining this holiday season.

1. Incorporate your own personality into the event you are planning. If you want to stick to the seasonal colors, by all means do. If you want to mix it up and get outside the box, bring in your personal favorites and have fun working them into your holiday event theme.

2. You will probably see a lot of different table runners and placemats. Also, Christmas pillows are really good accents.

3. With food preparation, plan for something filling but yet not too much. Again going back to small bites. Miller says the days of preparing heavy and big dishes for guests is really gone and that people are not really going to parties for full meals unless it is a dinner. For example, instead of serving macaroni and cheese as a full side, serve it as an appetizer in a ball or an individual ramekin. Have mini desserts vs. whole pies. If serving collard greens, add a little twist and do a soul roll or empanada with a great sauce. Guests will love it. Lastly, dried fruit such as pineapple and apricots goes over very well and is easy to store.

4. Sunday is becoming more popular for hosting holiday parties and one great reason is that most guests won't linger too long because they have to go to work the next day. Starting late afternoon or early evening will deliver a great time and also be a great start to your guests' week.

5. Just in case you plan to do a little caroling, have a binder with the list of songs and the words ready for guests. In addition, a nice departing gift for your guests is a nice personal touch.

6. If you are going to have a display of nuts, be sure to have the right nutcracker for guests to use. Roasted nuts are great doing this time of year.

7. If you plan to exchange gifts, why not exchange recipes instead. Whether it is with friends or family, cherished recipes are always a great gift to pass down and share.

Lastly, holiday brunches are just as great as evening parties. I personally hosted a brunch with girlfriends a few years ago to celebrate the season and we are still talking about it to this day. We planned the menu, brought in a personal chef and made it a day to remember. Whether you do the cooking or together with family and friends, make it special by serving everyone's favorites with a flavored apple cider and mimosas.

For menu ideas, be sure to check out the Chef's Corner. If you have a question for William P. Miller on entertaining this holiday season, write a comment below.

William P. Miller is the owner of W.P. Miller Special Events located in Los Angeles.

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