Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Thomas O'Brien

Here are some surprisingly simple holiday entertaining ideas from Target's "vintage modern" design guru, Thomas O'Brien:

Make the holidays into a design season
Turn the holidays into a whole design season that you can enjoy. I start unpacking winter things around Thanksgiving. I keep adding and accumulating pieces through Christmas, and then I slowly put them away again in January. Family mementos and ornaments become a set of ingredients that you can decorate with year after year. It’s a special tradition.

Create a Christmas pantry
I set up a few areas in my house as open pantries for Christmas with winter-themed dishes, mugs, glasses and linens. You can keep stacks of tableware on your kitchen island and ready in a bar area or on a dining room table. Stock up on candlesticks and votives to dress up any dinner or informal party. Find a dedicated space and display these items as your holiday home idea.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
The holidays aren’t about just entertaining and big parties. I use my holiday dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all season long. Just one unique set of bowls or small plates will get used over and over again, all during the season, all day long. I have favorite tumblers that I use over the holidays, decorated with reindeers and ice skaters.

Sweet things
I am not really one who keeps all that many sweets around my house, but at holiday time there are always gifts of candy, cake, cookies, fruit and other treats to share. Take these desserts out of their packages and put them out in your nicest small bowls or plates. It’s old-fashioned hospitality, and everyone loves to snack over the holidays.

Vintage modern entertaining
I always like to add in unmatched pieces of vintage glassware, silver and china over the holidays. At parties, I put out mixed sets of all kinds of glasses, which look great on a buffet or bar and also help guests identify which glass is theirs. It’s fun to set up a little retro buffet for kids, too. My goddaughter always drinks out of vintage Flintstones glasses when she comes to visit over the holidays. That connects my childhood memories to hers.

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