Photo by James Pattyn


Holiday Survival Guide: Party Tricks

Get your place set for celebration with these stylish and clever tips from entertaining expert Ed Lent.

1. Guests seem to mingle by the mantel. So, set a luxurious scene with clusters of shapely glass ornaments and silver home accessories in varying heights and sizes. Finish with a vase filled with fresh cranberries and a pillar candle (pictured above).

2. Set up a self-serve bar in festive red, white and silver. For a glam focal point, coat wreaths with white or silver spray paint. Serve classic martinis, raspberry belinis and vodka cranberry cocktails.

Holiday Party Tricks Bar

3. Dress up a non-working fireplace. Fill with inexpensive with holiday ornaments and then place special baubles on top.


4. Set a fresh scene. Fill assorted vases with greenery and decorate space-saving topiary trees with ornaments.


5. Looking for a new way to serve? Let a mirror do double-duty as a serving tray. For a festive touch, tie cinnamon sticks together with raffia and display on trays and tables. Heat things up by serving mulled cider, specialty coffees and liqueurs.


6. Want an impressive wine bar but short on space? Set up shop by converting a dresser into shelves for stemware, barware and garnishes.


7. Take a fresh look at furniture. Push four dining room chairs together to form benches, allowing guests to sit on either side or cozy up for intimate conversations.


8. Use an antique dresser or sideboard for a dessert bar. Get creative with wrapping paper. It’s cheap, easy and makes clean-up a cinch. Dress up ready-made desserts with fresh raspberries and serve on fine china–like the Vera Wang Wedgwood Grosgrain and Vera Lace dinnerware collections.

HG-Holiday7aFind more ideas and tips in our Holiday Survival Guide:

In-law Etiquette
Turkey Dinner 101
Hilarious (and Helpful!) How to Roast a Turkey Video
Staying Home For The Holidays
How to Host a Kick-Ass Christmas Party
Party Tricks: 8 Décor Ideas
Waistline-friendly Appetizers
Delicious Cocktail Recipes
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Bark Recipe
Our Gift To You: A Free Upgrade To 2life Premium
Tell Them What You Really, Really Want KitchenAid Contest

Image(s): James Pattyn; styling by Ed Lent