Holiday Entertaining, Presented by Starbucks
Battle of the Baristas
Get your guests’ creative juices flowing by inviting them to dream up a unique cocktail or decadent coffee drink, then set out all the ingredients for them: flavored syrups or juices, peppermint, gingerbread, caramel, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, even chopped up bonbons. Or, create your own mystery beverage and have other guests sample it, then write down their guesses of the ingredients. The winner gets a bottle of wine, a bag of holiday coffee or a Starbucks Card.
Party fun that Pops
Bring a bit of merry old England to your party with crackers—which guests can pop open to find little, Mardi-Gras style trinkets. Arrange the crackers in vases, around your centerpieces or even in the houseplants for an extra bit of shimmer.
Simple but Simple Decor
Sometimes, less is more—a lot more—when it comes to holiday decorating. A giant bow on your front door, or on a lamppost, is easier to set up than twinkle lights and can look even more stylish.
Comfort Food with Panache
Put out delicious foods that let your guests indulge—but without making them play a balancing act. Think about classic one-dish options such as baked apples that are almost—but not quite—too gorgeous to eat.
Bring a bit of rustic elegance to your table if your guests will be sitting down. Set a pine cone next to each plate, with a classic gift tag attached for the guest’s name. Gift tags also work beautifully for identifying a guest’s wine glass or coffee mug.
Create easy pieces of winter wonderland potpourri for any space at your party: small baskets filled with fresh pine needles, ornaments made with clove-studded oranges, or glass jars filled with coffee beans, and a white candle taper planted inside.
Want to amp up the cozy factor—and get everyone to stop crowding the kitchen? Light up your summer firepit on the patio so that guests can safely roast marshmallows and bask under the moonglow, sipping hot cocoa or whipped-cream-topped coffee drinks.
Start a String-Along
Giant bowls of popcorn are more than just a perfect finger food: Set out some needles and gold or silver thread, along with a bowl of cranberries, and you can invite your guests to string a popcorn garland, either to hang on your tree or to take home.
- Elegant holiday party decorations don’t have to come festooned in traditional red and green. Here are some simple ways to create an authentic, timeless and organic mood for your gathering:
- Think icicles. Keep the color template limited to shimmery whites and silver, so it’s easy for everything to match. Dangle clear and silver strands of beads, or even miniature disco balls, from your light fixtures for a sparkling icicle look.
- Create a glow. You can never go wrong with rows of votive candles. Set them in simple crystal or highball glasses to let their light shine through—and then line them up safely away from where people will be reaching for food or drinks.
- Add a little forest magic. Scatter acorns, cinnamon sticks tied with white bows, and star anise amid the votives to add an earthy sophistication. They’ll also give off some delicate scents.
Dress up a Classic Accessory
Keep the mood light and take the pressure off your guests to dress formally: Invite them to wear their most colorful—or just craziest—winter sweater that they have tucked away in the closet. Or, tell them to come in basic black, and then set by the door a basket of Santa hats, for anyone who wants to top off the look.
Favors with Flavor and Flair
Give your guests a little something to savor after the party has ended: a bundle of cookies—try packaging them in Chinese takeout containers—a snowflake-shaped cookie cutter or ornament, or a bag of coffee topped with a bow. Another great send-off: A Starbucks Card, which will extend your good cheer throughout the season.