IN SEA­SON

Our top tips for eas­ier en­ter­tain­ing.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - WRIT­TEN AND STYLED BY JICKIE TOR­RES PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRET GUM

It can some­times feel non­stop, right?

Host­ing

dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Since Thanks­giv­ing our merry-mak­ing mus­cles have been in over­drive. But now’s the time we should be slow­ing down and sa­vor­ing the sea­son. Here we’ve pulled to­gether our best en­ter­tain­ing tips for how you can have your party and en­joy it too.

GO BIG, BUT NOT HOW YOU THINK…

We don’t mean go all out; we mean lit­er­ally go big. One big pot of pink poin­set­tias is all it takes to make this lovely liv­ing room in de­signer Ali­son Kan­dler’s Santa Mon­ica home look fes­tive and fun. Be­fore you start build­ing your shop­ping list full of ar­range­ments, table cards and enough can­dles to light up a cathe­dral, think about buy­ing one big state­ment piece—we pre­fer fresh sea­sonal plants and flow­ers—and let­ting that do all your hol­i­day dé­cor talk­ing.

BEG BOR­ROW AND STEAL—FROM AROUND YOUR OWN HOUSE.

Want to know our home styling se­cret for all our photo shoots? We don’t al­ways truck in loads of ac­cents and ac­ces­sories from all the ma­jor stores; we bor­row from around the house to fluff and preen what­ever room we are fo­cus­ing on. So, if your gath­er­ing is con­cen­trated around the kitchen and din­ing room, steal some or­na­ments from the back of the tree and sprin­kle them on the coun­ter­top for dé­cor, and bor­row some pinecones from your man­tel or en­try­way to tuck into your din­ing table for a lit­tle more lay­er­ing and tex­ture. No ad­di­tional shop­ping be­fore, noth­ing ad­di­tional to store af­ter­ward. You’re wel­come.

SPEND YOUR TIME ON WHAT MAT­TERS— TO YOUR GUESTS.

Of­ten we get caught up in the sug­arplum vi­sion of the ex­pe­ri­ence we want our guests to have. I know I’m guilty of that. But stop and think about your guests, or as they say in my line of work, know your au­di­ence. If you’re host­ing a small group of your girl­friends for hol­i­day brunch, skip the ex­tra dé­cor fuss and use that time to make sweet sim­ple fa­vors for ev­ery seat. Or if you’re hav­ing ex­tended fam­ily over for din­ner, fo­cus on the meal; trust me, the other things will just be de­tails. If it’s a group of moms and their kids com­ing over for a gift ex­change, sure, now you have per­mis­sion to re­ally fuss over the tree and man­tel so the set­ting is mag­i­cal and fes­tive. Know what’s im­por­tant for each gath­er­ing, and give your­self per­mis­sion to down­play all the rest.

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