Designing the Perfect Festive Celebration at Home: Experts Share Their Favorite Holiday Party Ideas

‘Tis the season for spending time with loved ones, and there’s no better time than now to plan a memorable holiday celebration. Whether you’re looking for ideas to breathe new life into annual traditions, or to elevate your get-togethers, there’s sure to be one (or a couple) guaranteed to spread holiday cheer.

We turned to party planning experts from Indianapolis IN, to Toronto, ON, for fun and festive holiday party ideas that’ll be sure to “wow” your guests. From elegant accessories to stunning tablescape ideas, these expert-approved tips will make prepping for your holiday celebrations as fun as throwing them. 

1) Set the scene

Dressing up your home for holiday entertaining is not always the flowers, table settings, or food that sticks with people – it’s the feeling and vibe of the night. I would focus and set a goal for how you want your guests to feel during your party and plan accordingly. For example, if your theme is about ‘togetherness,’ ask your guests to come prepared to share a story or memory of their favorite holiday tradition. You could also play a game where guests have to answer personal questions about one another. This way, you and your guests get a chance to get to know each other even more. –AE Events

2) Use statement pieces for a stunning display

Instead of buying lots of holiday decor, invest in just a few statement pieces. Maybe they are large nutcrackers or stand-out pieces that showcase your style and grab the attention of your guests as they walk into your home. Investing in key statement pieces holds true for any season of decor. –Blue Llama Events

3) Add a personalized touch with custom decor pieces

This holiday season, elevate your party decor with personalized pieces. From custom Christmas coasters for your home bar to eye-catching New Year’s Eve cocktail napkins to accent your glass of champagne, you’ll love the way a personalized touch takes your holiday hosting to the next level. –For Your Party

4) Give your holiday celebration a vintage touch

With the holidays fast approaching, go hunting in your Grandma’s or Great Aunt Mary’s basement and haul out that forgotten, underappreciated China and those gorgeous crystal pieces to evoke memories of past gatherings. Start with what you’ve got and then mismatch your flatware to create a table that will be a conversation starter for the entire family. –Dish and Decor Vintage Rental

5) Take inspiration from your location

My number one holiday decor tip is to consider the details of your party location when you select your decor. In other words, choose wisely your fabric colors and textures so that you don’t end up with a mismatched assortment of decor. Then, select your finishes, such as gold and silver, so that they harmonize with the environment. Lastly, consider scale, so your tablescape isn’t dwarfed by a huge room or overwhelmed by a small one. –Just 4 Fun Party Rentals

6) Repurpose old decor with simple upgrades

When decorating your home for the holidays, don’t feel pressured to overspend and buy new – pull out and reuse last year’s decor instead. Simplify and clean up your colors with whites and natural tones versus the dark and warmth of traditional for a fresh look on a festive holiday spread. Bringing a new spin on the traditional celebration brings one more year to those “old decorations.” –Andrea Lyn Events

7) Bring the outdoors in with pine cones or pine tree branches

Holiday decor doesn’t have to be complicated. Have a farmhouse-style holiday aesthetic? Bring the outdoors in with pine cones or pine tree branches in a vase mixed with your favorite holiday bauble ornaments or some battery-powered lights for that extra pop of color. –Front Range Event Rental

8) Weave fresh greenery into your decor

Given that holiday parties are in the winter, most festivities occur indoors, making it a great opportunity to bring the season and the outdoors inside for your guests to enjoy. Fresh seasonal greenery like magnolia or pine always adds a fun flair (and scent) to tables, banisters, fireplaces, and door fronts. Fruits like apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, and even vegetables like kale can add some fun to your tables and decor. Bringing the outdoors in brings a freshness to your home decor and, if it’s edible, something for your guests to take home and enjoy as well. –Mango Muse Events

9) Add a classic look by accenting with faux pearl strands

Elevate your holiday decor in a simple yet elegant way by accenting with faux pearl strands. Drape them from your garland, use them as filler in the vases of your floral arrangements, tie them around your napkins, and of course, wear them while hosting your gatherings. Pearls are a classic and timeless, yet unique, addition to your decorations this holiday season. –Novel Party Planning

10) Adorn your home with seasonal cuttings for a fresh scent and look

Creating the setting for that perfect family celebration begins by gathering natural elements: birch branches, berries, pine cones, and fresh pine. Anything hand-crafted will also make your decor creative and unique. You could also add soft-white pin lighting to bring a sparkle to your warm decor. Softly scented ivory candles in every room will complete the glow-filled atmosphere. –Party Planners LA

11) Use traditional decor pieces as a centerpiece

Display your miniature nativity scene as your centerpiece. Use seeded eucalyptus or festive garland greens as a runner that leads to the scene. Adorn with glass votives and pinecones to create a rustic feel reminiscent of the manger. –JDC Events

12) Mix and match colors for a unique and festive touch

Make this year’s holiday season more festive by mixing colors. Choose a main color or colors from your tablescape and then incorporate those colors into your home décor as accent colors. By using this method, you can celebrate the season as well as decorate your home. –Simply Radiant Events

13) Revisit the classics with seasonal accents

Classic Christmas decorating never goes out of style for me, and one of the things that makes it unique is the sentimental pieces we unbox once a year. It doesn’t have to be trendy; in fact, a wise Grinch once said that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, that perhaps it means a little bit more. Rediscovering those seasonal collections, memories, and mementos from the Christmas past is what makes holiday decorating fun. –Larsen Events

14) Add a touch of winter greenery with natural elements

To spruce up your home for the holiday season, try bringing the natural elements indoors – pine needles, eucalyptus, and rosemary all look great and smell even better. Check your local farm stand for fresh herbs, and add a sprig to your place settings on top of a menu or napkin for your dinner party. You can also use tall sprigs of herbs in cocktails as a stir stick. Create a runner for your mantle out of real or faux pine leaves, and weave in some twinkle lights, ornaments, and pinecones. You can even add a little glitter if you like extra sparkle. –Little Miss Party Planner

15) Create a unique winter scene that coordinates with your tableware

When I’m setting my dining table for entertaining during the holidays, I like to use these Spode dishes I’ve collected for 20 years. Then, I like to create a winter scene down the table that coordinates with my dishes. I really enjoy the juxtaposition between a sequined runner and glitter trees with cotton trees, greenery, and natural wood. I think it makes it so much more interesting. –EveryDay is a HollyDay

16) Mix metals for an elegant yet bold look

This year for table settings, let’s step out of the box. No green, red or white. Let’s go with elegant gold, silver, black, and leopard print (yes, you can mix metals!).This year will be challenging obtaining certain items, so plan ahead. Use all your resources from Dollar Tree to Amazon. To take a boring tablescape from plain to sophisticated, use small candelabras along with fresh florals to make an impact statement. Then, be sure to keep your design simple, and don’t get bogged down in the details. Add decorative table linings; for example, instead of traditional table lining, look for velvets, satin, or prints.Lastly, enjoy your design and time with family. –Byrd Nest Events and Design

17) Create an unforgettable table setting by starting with the top and working down to the bottom

When setting the table, think of the overall experience for your guests. We like to think from top to bottom, as the guest’s eye will follow that pattern. Top: consider adding greenery or twig berries to your chandelier – you can even use items found in your neighborhood. On the table: think about ambient lightings – such as candlelight to set the perfect environment. We love keeping classic with various shades of green and red. And keep it personal – with place cards that include recipes from your family to theirs. –Sarabeth Events

18) Opt for a holiday-themed look

This year we are planning tables that say, “let’s celebrate.” Festive holiday-themed linens, gold flatware, and charger plates to match. Adding lots of candlelight also creates the perfect mood for your celebration. –Willie Fun Events

19) Aim for luxury and warmth

When creating your holiday tablescape, aim for luxury and warmth. A table that invites people in to hug them but still gives them a dining experience. Pulling pieces from around the home that are tied to family memories or statement pieces brings a table to life. –Vida Events

20) Make your table setting the focal point of the season

Decorating the holiday table is a must since it’s the place where everyone gathers, so make sure it is the focal point of the season. Beautiful centerpieces, furniture, table settings, and accents can take your holiday decorating to the next level. –Milieu Décor

21) Incorporate a king’s table for extra space 

When looking for a dramatic look for the holidays or a private event at your house, rent an additional table of the same size to create a “King’s Table.” The depth doubles your table space, allowing you to have more room to add decor and all the beautiful dining ware like chargers, china, glassware, napkins, flatware, favors, name cards, and accents. –Kita Events NW

22) Create a timeless holiday-inspired table display 

The holidays always seem so magical this time of year. A Christmas Santa Nutcracker table display makes every house feel so festive. This table setting brings all the magic of Christmas. I use Spode dishes, Santa Nutcrackers, and a live Christmas wreath that brings out that wonderful smell of Christmas; adding a little pre-lit Christmas tree ties the whole table together. –CK Loves Events

23) Jazz up your traditional holiday table setting with the latest tabletop trends

Linens in velvet, satin, or sparkle can create a beautiful backdrop for your family china. Accent your table with eye-catching decor, like colored glassware or statement flatware. –Total Events

24) Upcycle household items for a one-of-a-kind festive display

We love to design with things we already have around the house. Nearly everyone has an old decorative mirror hanging on the wall that you can repurpose into a unique serving piece. We love to use them to arrange veggies, charcuterie, cheese, and fruit. You can also mix in a bowl of old Christmas ornaments, a Santa, or a mason jar with some candy canes for a festive touch. If you have a long narrow mirror, placing it down the length of your table makes a great base for candles, a little greenery, or family heirlooms, and the reflection of battery-operated fairy lights will twinkle. Turning some vintage wine glasses upside down with a votive or LED candle makes unique and easy candlesticks, and filling mason jars with tinsel, or small Christmas balls adds an extra decorative element. And, don’t forget to set the stage with scent. A pot of simmering water with orange, cinnamon sticks, cloves, or star anise makes the whole house smell like the holidays. –Special Moments Events Planning

2020 - What can I say, it’s been different. A mysterious virus has taken the country by storm. Businesses are closed and people are stuck in their homes. My state has been going through a different phase. One moment it is open, and then the next it is closed. Because of the closures there has been palpable silent over my business. My phone stopped ringing and the referrals stop coming. No weddings, baby showers, graduations, or parties. So, all I have is time to sit and think how can I pivot my business in a time of crises. 

I am an Event Planning and Décor production professional. However, I was doing it as a side job while working my 9 to 5 in banking. January 13th, I was laid off my job. I was devastated. I had given that company five years of my life. So I thought, “I will never be laid off again!” Since that day, Byrd Nest Events & Design has been my passion project.

I have been following a certain designer on Instagram for some time named Jawanna Little of Oniee Events. I love her work because it’s fresh and different. I was encouraged to enroll in her program with The Luxe Curators Design School. I wanted to freshen up my design skills. I am now one of the first students in her program. It is a six-month program that stresses floral design and business. In the class, I learned to process flowers, how to order them, and how to design them. As part of the floral portion of the program, the final project is to produce a style shoot. Also, as part of the assignment, I was to submit my floral work and design to be published in a magazine. 

I was tasked with obtaining a venue and vendors to product my style shoot. It was also my responsibility to correspond, create timelines, coordinate with vendors, and design. Of course, when I heard the assignment, fear immediately set in. How am I going to pull this off? Then I thought, “Dummy, you’re an event planner; put those skills into motion.” I posted on Facebook inquiring if any vendors would be interested in collaborating. I coordinated with thirteen vendors to produce my greatest achievement to date. I submitted my photos to MunaLuchi Bridal, and they immediately accepted the images! 

To say I am over the moon is an understatement!

If it had not been for my planning background and the support of my instructor and family, I am not sure how well it would have turned out. The quote I live by and that motivates me to do my best is by Benjamin Franklin, “Fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Byrd Nest Floral and Design produces spectacular events that push boundaries and highlight client’s unique personalities. Nicole shares, “We believe in creating a total client experience. Everyone should have the same customer experience no matter what the budget is. We love showing you how to have your ‘Rainbows and Unicorns’.”

Read Entire ManuLuchi Bridal Interview Here

We say, why not? We love when brides push the boundaries and represent their unique style on their wedding day. Today’s styled shoot shows how to rock edgy, black wedding attire and how to use black as a unifying color in your wedding decor. (It’s a color that literally goes with everything!) Plus, there is plenty of inspiration for an intimate party or wedding.

Read Entire ManuLuchi Bridal Article Here

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