Just Enough Wines is teaming up with Danielle Rollins to provide a list of the “Top 10 Tips for Entertaining this Holiday Season”. Danielle is an esteemed decorator, fashion designer, and entertaining guru. She recently released her second book titled “A Home For All Seasons: Gracious Living and Stylish Entertaining” which shows readers how to create rooms tailor-made for gatherings, get-togethers, cocktail hours, dinner parties, and more. Danielle notes “entertaining is in a nutshell, a way of living your life and a vehicle for sharing that life with gratitude and generosity.” Cheers to sharing your life this holiday season with those you love.
1) Do the things that make you feel happy regardless if you are alone or not - This holiday season might look a little different than others, rather than being surrounded by family and friends, it might be spent alone or with very few others. Danielle is keen on “doing the things that make her feel happy year-round, regardless if you are alone or not, such as keeping vases of fresh flowers and a well-organized house. It’s finding the things that make you and your family feel good, and the practice of being happy.”
2) Entertaining should never be perfect - life’s too short to spend too much time trying to make everything perfect! Danielle often likes to think of herself as the “Waffle House decorator: I just scatter, smother, and cover.” She recommends getting the backgrounds as right as you can, invest in the things that bring you joy, and spend the rest of your time making occasions memorable. She notes “whether the methods you use are extravagant or ordinary, I promise the only essential ingredients are making them with and for the people you love.”
3) Make entertaining a habit - similar to making the bed. Have candles stocked and music playlists created and at the ready. Danielle notes that “If you keep your house relatively pulled together as a matter of course, then someone stopping by for an impromptu drink or dinner doesn’t seem like such a big deal because you don’t feel as if you have to put on a show every time a visitor walks through the front door.” She also cites kitchen organization is the number one requisite for stress-free entertaining, “if you have to rummage around dark cabinets to find anything, you’re working too hard.”
4) Keep a variety of folding tables on hand - Danielle loves to have a decorated house for the holidays and recommends one of the best ways to enjoy the season is to spread the love around by dining in different rooms. She notes “a folding 6’ table and 60” round are easy items you can order on amazon and store in the garage — or even under the bed— and pull out when the mood strikes.” Folding tables also provide a great way to create extra seating particularly in spaces that aren’t as large.
5) Find inspiration and then practice! - Danielle recommends Instagram and Pinterest as great outlets for finding visual inspiration. She also notes that “now is a great time to practice making a dinner that you can perfect and make it on autopilot so you’re always ready for last-minute entertaining at home. When you see something that you like, don’t worry about if you know how to do it, or the outcome-just do it.” She believes that part of happiness comes from the effort we put into things. So don’t wait until Christmas morning to try making the maple scones you’ve been eyeing.
6) If possible embrace outdoor entertaining - For those of you who live in areas where outdoor dining is possible during winter, embrace it! Decorate outdoor trees with festive lights and ornaments and if needed you can purchase or rent a heating lamp. You can also get creative and buy bulk blankets for guests to use and take home with them.
7) Get creative in how you serve food - It isn’t so much what you serve, but how you serve it. A moveable feast can be a great way to serve family and friends this holiday season. Danielle recommends creating individual picnic baskets that have everything in it. Glass Weck jars are great for soups, salads, or desserts, you can tie up silverware in a napkin and adorn it with seasonal greenery, include a premium canned wine such as a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from Just Enough Wines. Danielle notes “It’s really about finding a solution for the situation at hand and using your imagination to make it the best that you can.”
8) When decorating, play off existing colors and tones - Danielle is fond of taking the colors and tones already in a room and mixing in seasonal florals and greenery to create a festive atmosphere. She can often be found using the things she adores about the season to decorate with such as pine branches, ilex berries, and a little bit of silver sparkle.
9) Utilize different tablecloths - Danielle is a huge proponent of tablecloths, “in one fell swoop, they let you change the entire look of the room: starched white hemstitched linens raise the formality stakes, while a print or pattern—animal, ikat, stripe, or otherwise—can take it in any number of different directions.” She changes her tablecloths seasonally typically using a printed damask one in the fall.
10) Keep your pantry stocked with a smorgasbord of nibbles that have a long shelf life - Danielle notes this is key for holiday entertaining because “not only will you never go hungry, you’ll also always be prepared to host unexpected guests for coffee or a cocktail. Some of her favorite snack items to keep on hand are hard cheeses with a long shelf life like Parmesan or Gouda, cherry preserves to serve with cheese, assorted crackers, cheese straws, assorted nuts, dried fruits like figs and apricots, and dark chocolate.