Even if holiday celebrations are more intimate this year thanks to social distancing, they can still feel special and exciting. That’s why we've put together some of the best tips to make holiday entertaining for your nearest and dearest easy.

By Julia Malacoff
Dec 01, 2020 @ 8:00 am
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How to Plan a Chic Holiday Night In
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| Credit: Getty Images

For many, celebrating the holidays is synonymous with cozy, celebratory evenings at home. But before your guests arrive — whether they’re “arriving” from just a couple rooms over or further afield — it's important to plan ahead. Even if holiday celebrations are more intimate this year thanks to social distancing, they can still feel special and exciting. That’s why we've put together some of the best tips to make holiday entertaining for your nearest and dearest easy. 

1. Send virtual invites — even if all your guests live in the same house.

“Create a themed invitation via Paperless Post and make it funny,” recommends Liz Caan, an interior designer and decorating expert. You can also send digital invites to anyone joining you virtually. “Invite family members from across the country to join in via Zoom on a big toast to the season,” Caan says. “You could ship them a bottle of champagne in advance and all pop the cork together.” 

2. Put some old favorites on the menu.

“Make a few of your tried-and-true favorite recipes that will help everyone feel nostalgic and cozy if they aren’t able to make it home for this holiday season,” suggests Debbie Matenopoulos, cookbook author and TV personality. Ideally, focus on recipes that are friend or family favorites.

3. Make your charcuterie board 2020-friendly.

cheese-cones
Credit: Society Social

No dinner party is complete without a meat and cheese spread. “To avoid multiple hands on a collective board in the age of COVID, opt for individual charcuterie cones, mini boards, or boxes,” suggests Roxy Te, founder of Society Social. This means less hovering over the same space and food. 

4. Ask guests to dress to theme.

Wearing a caftan and sparkly earrings to celebrate the holidays feels perfectly on point for 2020, Te says. “And since we're all so used to loungewear this year, tell your guests to bring their favorite pair of slippers. They'll feel right at home!” 

5. Go all in on holiday decorations. 

pom-bells
Credit: Society Social

“I plan to decorate more heavily around the house this year because we aren’t traveling,” Caan says. Make this year memorable in a good way by going above and beyond with your festive decor. You’ll be able to enjoy it all season long, and it makes the setup for holiday celebrations that much easier. 

6. Find little ways to make the evening feel special.

Caan suggests adding little surprises or gifts to each place setting, for instance. Another fun idea: “I’m thinking of moving things around by having a tree on the patio as well so we can turn on the lights, light up a fire, and have dessert outside (if it’s not too cold).” 

7. Rent some extra fancy table settings. 

If you want to spruce up your holiday tablescapes, Hestia Harlow is taking no-muss-no-fuss to a whole new level, says NBC Today Show lifestyle contributor Jill Martin. “You pick your theme, number of people, and price point and they send you everything you need to set the perfect table: plates, forks, cups, decoration, placemats. And they take the details and nuance super seriously.” Everything you need arrives on your doorstep, and after your celebration, you send it all back. 

8. Watch a midnight movie.

Consider capping your night off with a classic holiday movie (or one of Netflix’s so-bad-it’s-good alternatives), Caan recommends. Add some festive popcorn to the mix for even more holiday cheer.  

9. Give guests a chic and sentimental send-off.

cork-safe
Credit: Society Social

“Our champagne cork safes make for the perfect affordable party favor,” Te says. “If you popped a bottle (or two) during your party, store the cork in this handcrafted ‘safe’ with the details of your toast-worthy moment inside. Or better yet, have your guests save it for a future special occasion, perhaps a toast to the end of 2020? It's been a long year!”