The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start organizing those Christmas soirées. Food, friends and family are the focal point of the festivities, and finding a balance to enjoy the season while staying organized is often a challenge. Don’t let stress get you down, we’re here to help!
West Coast design guru, Kelly Deck, shares with us her favourite holiday hosting tips that are sure to make your party planning go off without a hitch, with a little help from the President’s Choice Insiders Collection.
How do you determine the theme of your event and if it should be formal or more casual?
“Time of day has an important impact on party planning and the decision to make an event formal or casual.
Brunch is generally a more relaxed and casual affair. For décor, I keep things light, natural and whimsical. I like easy meals that can be plated in the kitchen and brought to the table – this prevents the table from feeling cluttered and gives you more freedom with the décor. One of my favourite recipes is the Mixed Mushroom and Comté Strata – delicious.”
When planning for a formal dinner, I like the table to be dramatic and memorable. This means layers of rich texture and colour.
For Christmas dinner I love family style dining – delicious dishes brought to the table in formal serving ware adds to the plenitude and abundant feeling of the evening. A great option is the President’s Choice Vintage Serving Platters or Bowls.”
What are your tips for stress-free holiday hosting?
1. Always have a white table cloth on hand and pretty napkins that are clean and ready to throw on the table.
2. Have a basket full of votive candles and tea lights so that you can easily illuminate a room with candle light.
3. Choose one colour schedule for the season and stick to it – it’s stressful to try to create something fresh every time you serve a meal.
4. Always have chilled wine and appetizers on hand for unexpected guests.
5. Know the store hours of your local grocery store in case you need to run out for last minute menu items.
If you are pressed for time, what is one area of the home you recommend focusing on when it comes to holiday décor and entertaining?
“I always recommend decorating your tree, your front door and your dining table. This is enough to make your home feel festive. If you are looking to switch things up from last year, President’s Choice products allow you to stock up on seasonal items to elevate your décor without spending your entire holiday budget – I always pick a few additional pieces to splurge on like the tree or table linens to tie the whole look together.”
What is your favorite hosting occasion?
“I love brunch – everyone is fresh and energized and the food is easy to toss together and enjoy.”
How do you maximize your entertaining/decor budget?
“I like to incorporate handmade ornaments and décor items with store bought pieces. It’s all about combining the high/low pieces as well, this will help to extend the budget.”
Any recommendations for fun hostess gifts?
“From my experience, home-made gifts have always been appreciated by my friends. If I’m attending a few parties for the season, I’ll create a big batch of homemade ornaments or baked goods. Unfortunately, I can’t always find the time to make my own hostess gifts, but a nice bottle of wine or beautifully packaged sweets like President’s Choice Chocolate Covered Caramel Popcorn with Sea Salt are a great option as well.” (Editor: we LOVE this product!!!)
“Easy and elegant is the rule in both cases. With décor, I choose one theme for the season and decorate key areas of my home – my table is always an expression of this theme and I don’t over complicate things by changing it up.
With food, I select simple, fresh and fast recipes. When it comes to appetizers, I always enjoy serving a charcuterie board. If you’re not sure what to include, start with a great base such as the President’s Choice Marble Cheese Board, and layer up. If you really want to impress your guests, add a block of honeycomb, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and half a pomegranate for colour.”