by Robin mcgraw

The secret’s out…I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!

I’ve been known to go all out with my Christmas decorating just to surprise and delight our grandbabies! Last year it was a 12’ by 10’ gingerbread house in the foyer, complete with its own Christmas tree, fireplace, table, and chairs! And I can’t wait for them to see what’s in store this year!

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It’s true, there’s no place like home for the holidays…but if your home is where friends and family always tend to gather, the holidays can tend to feel more stressful than cheerful. After all, there are menus to plan, tables to set and an entire house to clean. So to help take the hassle out of hosting and put the enjoyment back in entertaining, I’ve put together my favorite jolly holiday hosting tips to make your Christmas plans picture perfect.

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Create the Concept

I just love having a theme, especially for decorating our home at the holidays! I’ve done a Christmas tree theme with trees and snow everywhere, another year my theme was Candy Land, and another was Santa's workshop at the North Pole! Whether it's an entire concept, or something as simple as selecting a color palette, a seasonal fruit, or even a favorite holiday song, choosing one design element to lead the way for your soiree will create cohesion. Nothing has to be too matchy-matchy, but if you give at least two or three nods to your theme throughout, it will really propel things to a new level of festive.


Cook Ahead

Every year on Christmas Day I love to serve honey roast ham and homemade biscuits, turkey and dressing and my mother's noodle dish 'Noodles Au Tim' (egg noodles baked with sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce). For a holiday party or big dinner, my favorite time and sanity-saver are to prepare as much food in advance as possible! Soups can be made weeks ahead and frozen, desserts always taste better the day after they’re baked, and many side dishes can be prepped a day or two before. You’ll save yourself precious time and no one will ever know the difference!


Delight in the Details

Maybe it’s fresh-cut flowers and a scented candle in the foyer (choose light scents and never use fragrant candles in areas where you’re serving food), festive dim lighting, party favors or a gorgeous signature cocktail in a glass with a sugared rim as your guests arrive. Whatever you choose, I’m a firm believer that it’s really the little touches