How Tos & Expert Tips

Easy Holiday Entertaining Ideas by Melonie Graves

With the holidays fast approaching, ‘tis that time of the year again to gather, drink, and be merry. And if you love hosting family and friends throughout the season, now is the best time to refresh the tricks up your sleeve. We turned to home decorating expert Melonie Graves to let us in on her favorite holiday entertaining tips as she welcomes guests back to her home.

Decorating Tips for Holiday Entertaining

When hosting a holiday celebration, the first thing you need to consider is where you want your guests to stay. Whether outdoors with tent heaters or in the living or dining room, you’ll want to make it welcoming, comfortable, and festive.

Featured: Metallic Nouveau Orb Candles, Set of 3 | Sweet Serenity Glass Votive Holders, Set of 6 | Dolce Marble Cheese Board

Since Melonie’s home has an open concept, she likes to entertain in the kitchen. It has comfortable seating and overlooks her decorated living room which makes it an ideal spot. If you’ll use a similar area, Melonie suggests decorating the main food prep space with small décor pieces like candles. Group them on a tray so they won’t take up much space and can be easily moved as needed.

To display food and drinks, Melonie used the second island in her kitchen. If you have extra space in your kitchen or dining room, you can set up a second table instead to serve as a buffet or bar. Here are Melonie’s holiday entertaining décor ideas to spruce up your tabletops.

Featured: Brushed Brass Serving Trays, Set of 2 | Dolce 3-Tier Marble Serving Stand | Dolce Marble Cheese Board Set | Stipple & Stripe Glass Stemless Flutes, Set of 6 | Tannenbaum Glass Drink Dispenser | Sweet Serenity Glass Votive Holders, Set of 6 | Sweet Serenity Glass Taper Holders, Set of 3 | Outdoor Lit Precious Metals Ornament Garland | Golden Christmas Tabletop Trees, Set of 3

  1. Start with holiday greenery as your base. Use it as the centerpiece for your table or as an accent to your bar or buffet. Melonie used a shimmery eucalyptus garland for this purpose.
  2. Next, customize the foliage with ornaments that fit your home’s decorating theme. Or, follow Melonie’s style and layer a pre-lit ornament garland on top of your greenery. The shiny ornaments and sparkly lights create a festive display for your tabletop.
  3. Then, incorporate varying heights for interest. These could be statement pieces like miniature Christmas trees, gathered branches in a vase, Christmas figures, and other decorative holiday accents. These bring character to the space and can be great conversation starters.
  4. Lastly, set the mood with the warm glow of candlelight. For her display, Melonie chose long taper candles and placed them in clear glass holders. To bring more sparkly detail to her spread, she added glittery gold votive candles and set them in glass holders as well. These elements convey timelessness and elegance in her space.

Holiday Entertaining Essentials

Featured: Brushed Brass Serving Trays, Set of 2 | Dolce 3-Tier Marble Serving Stand | Metallic Nouveau Orb Candles, Set of 3 | Dolce Marble Cheese Board Set | Stipple & Stripe Glass Stemless Flutes, Set of 6 | Tannenbaum Glass Drink Dispenser

Food and drinks are the main attraction in any holiday celebration. Whether you’re serving up cocktails, appetizers, or a main dish, your choice of serveware plays an important role when entertaining. Melonie chose serveware in brass, marble, and clear glass to complement her décor. She also shares four essential things to serve for casual gatherings:

1. A Welcome Drink

Featured: Stipple & Stripe Glass Stemless Flutes, Set of 6 | Brushed Brass Serving Trays, Set of 2

2. Sweet Treats

Featured: Dolce 3-Tier Marble Serving Stand | Stipple & Stripe Glass Stemless Flutes, Set of 6 | Sweet Serenity Glass Votive Holders, Set of 6 | Golden Christmas Tabletop Trees, Set of 3

Set up a platter or a tiered stand filled with enticing sweets. Style a selection of your favorite pastries, cookies, and chocolates for a sweet beginning (and ending) to your celebration.

3. A Charcuterie Board

Featured: Dolce Marble Cheese Board Set

Keep the conversations going with a mix of sweet and savory nibbles. A charcuterie board can be filled with anything from various kinds of cheese to cured meats, pâtés, olives, nuts, fruits, crackers, dips, and jams. Melonie shares an idea on what to put and how to style a holiday charcuterie board:

Melonie’s Holiday-Inspired Wreath Charcuterie Board

What You’ll Need:

  • A round board, platter, or tray
  • Arugula or similar greens
  • Assortment of cheese slices
  • Sugar-frosted cranberries or any dried fruit
  • 2 to 3 ramekins or small bowls
  • A variety of cured meats
  • Sweet treats like chocolate-covered pretzels, candied bacon, or glazed pecans
  • A selection of soft cheeses
  • Crackers
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Honey or any desired dip

How to Make:

  1. Use arugula or mixed greens as the base of the wreath charcuterie. Set these along the edges of your board.
  2. Create a “wreath topper” by forming thin cheese slices into triangles. You can form this into a bow, star, or any shape you’d like. Add color by using fruit such as cranberries.
  3. Fill your ramekins with nuts, olives, and a dip like honey. Place the olives and the nuts on top of the greens. Then, place the dip in the center of the board.
  4. Arrange the other ingredients on top of the greenery, alternating savory and sweet.
  5. Lastly, arrange the crackers in the center of the board, surrounding the dip.

4. A Signature Holiday Drink

Featured: Tannenbaum Glass Drink Dispenser

Apart from your welcome beverage, a great signature drink will make your gatherings extra festive. Whether it’s a Christmas cocktail or a non-alcoholic drink, consider making a big batch to keep it flowing throughout the occasion. Elevate your spread by serving it in a fancy drink dispenser that goes well with the rest of your décor. Melonie shares her signature holiday drink with simple ingredients:

Melonie’s Holiday White Sangria

What You’ll Need:

  • A couple of oranges
  • A couple of pears
  • A couple of apples
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon
  • A bottle of dry white wine (Ideally Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 cups of apple cider
  • 1 cup of ginger ale
  • 1 cup of pear vodka

How to Make:

  1. Dice the oranges, pears, and apples and place them in the drink dispenser.
  2. Add fresh cranberries and some cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon.
  3. Pour a full bottle of dry white wine.
  4. Add in the apple cider, ginger ale, and pear vodka.
  5. Chill for an hour before serving. Serve over ice on wine glasses.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Family and Friends

1. Decorative Candles

  • Featured: Metallic Nouveau Wax Pillar Candles

Featured: Metallic Nouveau Wax Pillar Candles, Set of 3 (Available in Gold and Red) | Metallic Nouveau Orb Candles, Set of 3 | Gilded Tree Glass Cloche Scented Candle

Decorative candles are ideal Christmas presents because you can never go wrong with them. Metallic candles are stylish and functional and fit well with almost any home aesthetic. In addition, scented candles make great hostess gifts, especially those set in elegant glass holders. They’re excellent décor pieces and make any home smell wonderful.

2. A Set of Miniature Christmas Trees

  • Featured: Grove Brush Tree Set in Evergreen, Set of 9

Featured: Grove Brush Tree Set in Evergreen and Sunset, Set of 9

This set of miniature Christmas trees is a fun holiday gifting idea for the young ones (and the young at heart). Apart from adding charm to seasonal décor, these can be used year-round to build magical scenes for playtime with the kids.

3. Christmas Stockings

  • Featured: Cableknit Stockings, Set of 2

Featured: Cableknit Stockings, Set of 2 (In Ivory and Red) | Lodge Faux Fur Stockings in Ivory (Available for Personalization) | Lit Starlight Stocking (Available for Personalization)

Christmas stockings make great holiday gifts for newlywed couples, as well as for those celebrating Christmas for the first time in a new home. Balsam Hill has an assortment of Christmas stockings that are perfect for children of all ages. They’re crafted from chunky knit, velvet, faux fur, and more.

4. A Complete Mini Christmas Tree Decorating Set

  • Featured: 3’ Nordic Frost Decorated Tree Kit

Featured: 3’ Nordic Frost Decorated Tree Kit

This “Christmas tree in a box” has a 3-foot pre-lit tree, a set of red and white glass ornaments, a bunch of berry picks, a tinsel garland, a silver star topper, and a white faux fur tree skirt. This complete DIY set is an ideal Christmas present for college students in dorm rooms or for someone living in a small apartment. This gift is also ideal for decorating a child’s room or a home office.

We hope this holiday entertaining and decorating guide sparked new ideas for your next gatherings with those you hold dear.

Explore more of Melonie Graves’ stylish and creative ideas for the home and beyond by following her on Youtube and Instagram.

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