With the plan in place and the invitations sent, its time to focus on the atmosphere and creating the feel for your party. Most people decorate for Christmas and this is not a post on how to decorate your house but rather things to consider when decorating if you are also going to be hosting parties this year. A house where Christmas literally exploded, while probably absolutely festive and beautiful, is also not necessarily the most conducive to parties where people will be mingling and socializing.
Oh Christmas Tree
Christmas trees are often a focal point in a home around this time of year. They make beautiful and heartwarming sights when you enter someone’s home. They can also take up a lot of space and get extremely elaborate. Often requiring a furniture shift and rearrangement, they demand space. A few things I would recommend when setting up your tree if you plan to have a party are:
- Placement – find a place where the tree is definitely a focal point but does not interrupt the flow of traffic or conversation. For example, in our home we decided to put the tree in the formal living room. Its what you see immediately when you walk into the home as a warm welcome. However, my husband initially wanted it smack dab in the middle of our entry hall/path into the dinning room. This would force people to walk around and would limit space for presents or would cause more of a traffic jam. While it would definitely make a statement, it might also cause congestion. Putting it in the dead center of the room, while we definitely have the space and the tree would be visible from the street, would act as a huge barricade to conversation. Who wants to talk through a plant, let alone a 7 foot tree. An alternative was what you see in the photos. Its still in the entry but off set and in the living room right at the peninsula halfway. Its centered to the room, is still immediately viewable upon entering but does not constrict traffic flow. Plus, being slightly offset between both areas allows for easy flow of conversation from any seat in the house.
- Furniture Rearrangement – Trees often require a room adjustment when they go up. Rarely do we have “open and free” space for a stately tree. Chairs have to go left, couches against another wall, and so on. However, try to keep all chairs and couches easily accessible. Also, try to find a placement that does not restrict conversation. Having a chair off in the corner away from everyone or with its back to the majority doesn’t bowed well for holiday party conversation. And keeping side tables accessible is equally important. Nothing’s worse than sitting down in a chair with your drink in one hand, yummy goodie plate in the other and no where to set one of them so you can enjoy the other. Believe me, I have had plenty of near miss spills trying to figure that one out. Sometimes a lap is just not enough.
The Center of Attention
At a dinner party, the dining table is the center of attention and so is the center piece. I have seen some amazing intricate designs on center pieces and quite a few that are tall. If it is too tall, you really can’t see everyone. If you can’t see everyone, then conversation is limited. Think about doing a lower center piece that still is beautiful and festive but does not interfere with conversation, line of sight or even eating circumference…your plate setting for each person.
To Clean or Not To Clean
I like to serve on real plates at a dinner party that is sit down. The fact that it is a sit down meal seems to dictate, in my mind anyways, a real plate. Plus I think it adds a personal touch. But if you are not a fan of doing dishes or you are doing more of a serve yourself, buffet or finger foods then decorative paper plates are a great option. And since they come in so many varieties from whimsical, to casual, to formal as well as those that have the look and feel of paper plates to those that I have truly mistaken for real plates, you can’t really go wrong. Ultimately the choice is yours. Just remember while real plates add to the atmosphere, they also come with major clean up. Paper plates may mean easy clean up BUT unless you get a really good deal on them, they cost money, especially if you are looking for the look-like china plates or those with serious durability.
These are just a few things you may want to consider when hosting parties this season. I know they have helped me and are things I keep in mind when I am planning get-togethers.