A grand af­fair

TIPS TO HOST YOUR OWN SUMP­TU­OUS EVENT.

Victorian Homes - - Shopper -

Make your own for­mal in­vi­ta­tion. Set the tone of your Christ­mas lun­cheon or din­ner by mak­ing your own Vic­to­rian-in­spired in­vi­ta­tion. Repli­cate a fa­vorite an­tique im­age from a Vic­to­rian hol­i­day card, or down­load an im­age from your com­puter to print out on your laser printer. For the in­vi­ta­tion shown on page 26, I used our com­pany mono­gram. To add a lux­u­ri­ous de­tail, punch holes in the top of the in­vi­ta­tion and then tie a rib­bon through the holes. Though cre­ated with mod­ern tech­niques, your thought­ful in­vi­ta­tions are sure to be ad­mired and will de­light your guests.

Set an ex­cep­tional ta­ble. This is the time to bring out your most re­splen­dent pieces. Like an illustration of a long-ago Christ­mas, a fine cut­work table­cloth pro­vides the per­fect back­drop for an­tique tableware. The lux­u­ri­ous Min­ton and Li­mo­ges plates blos­som with del­i­cate roses, while the mother-of-pearl sil­ver­ware adds a soft vin­tage glow. Hand­made an­tique lace and linen napkins, gilded mouth-blown glasses and ster­ling sil­ver serv­ing pieces all add Vic­to­rian flair to this set­ting. Not ev­ery­thing needs to match: the very fact that your ta­ble set­ting pieces com­ple­ment one an­other will cre­ate ex­cite­ment on your ta­ble.

El­e­vate ev­ery­day items to cen­ter­piece sta­tus. Fab­u­lous hol­i­day flower and fruit ar­range­ments were a Gilded Age tra­di­tion, es­pe­cially at Christ­mas­time. To­day, ev­ery­day items such as a cut glass carafe or a ster­ling bon­bon dish can be the star of your ta­ble. Trans­form them by adding fresh hol­i­day greens, a sprin­kling of bright, shiny tree or­na­ments and a few flow­ers. Don’t be afraid to mix sil­ver with gold—all met­als mix beau­ti­fully and sparkle with hol­i­day glam­our.

Fa­vor your guests. In the de­light­ful spirit of giv­ing, col­lect un­usual fa­vors for each guest to take home when the event ends. Your gift can be as sim­ple as a bit of Vic­to­rian ephe­mera or as

A Part­ing Gift. Give each guest a cher­ished, ed­i­ble gift of homemade cake or cook­ies when de­part­ing. Beau­ti­fully pack­aged, small fruit tarts will nes­tle tempt­ingly in­side a pa­per glit­tered bas­ket, tied with a shim­mer­ing bow and sur­rounded by fresh greens. No time for bak­ing? Store-bought cook­ies or meringues are just as thought­ful when pre­sented in a lovely way. Em­brace Christ­mas and all its splen­dor with open arms. Whether you cel­e­brate the sea­son in a glo­ri­ous Vic­to­rian man­sion or a cozy cot­tage, my wish for you is that ev­ery mo­ment you an­tic­i­pate, plan and cel­e­brate with those you love will give you joy, and that ev­ery meal is a feast be­cause it is joy­ously shared.

A hol­i­day ball or din­ner for 1,000 guests could carry a price tag of mil­lions.

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