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Monday, December 9, 2013

Deck the Halls for a Party {Part One: Decor}

This past weekend was a holiday party double header for us. On Friday evening we hosted our own annual holiday party, and on Sunday we hosted DC alums from our alma mater. Guests braved absolutely disgusting winter weather both days, morphing into human ice sculptures to just to join us. I really hope they at least enjoyed themselves once they finally thawed out.

Here are some photos that I managed to snap of our house all party-ready, until I was caught by some of John's coworkers with my camera around my neck, arranging a bucket of beer bottles to be more aesthetically pleasing. I tried to explain to them that I'm a blogger now and have to do this sort of thing for work, but I'm afraid they decided then and there that their colleague is married to a fastidious freak.

You can see in this photo, we set up several drink stations around the house which avoids the inevitable traffic jam at the bar and helps to keep everyone from congregating in one room. I'm of the school of thought that no holiday party can ever have too much booze. If you're hosting, don't forget - as I have in the past - to account for those who don't imbibe! Trust me, if feels awful to offer someone "tap water, or milk." It really goes a long way to have a few yummy non-alocholic drink options available for guests (and perhaps even for yourself--if you're the designated person in charge for the evening, best to avoid getting too sloppy drunk.)

More after the jump...




There's little I love more than a monochromatic Christmas tree. This year's tree is a Douglas fir, and we have almost all silver ornaments on it, with a few colorful ones thrown in mostly because of their sentimental value. The obsessive/controlling nut that I am, I'm really enjoying the current luxury of deciding which ornaments go up. I know someday we'll have kids who will bring home fluorescent macaroni ornaments and we'll add them to our tree lovingly. (Note to future self: shame on you if you ever try to spray paint your kid's handmade art to fit your color scheme! Go watch Interiors again and think about what you've done. ) But for now, I like how this look makes the really special ornaments stick out, like this one that I purchased when I visited Croatia, the birthplace of my grandfather.  

So much of why people love the holidays is because of delicious scents. When hosting, I try to light at least one nicely scented candle. I added this feather wreath to the bathroom for a little understated holiday touch in a room that is oft-forgotten when it comes to holiday decorating.


The smell of white lilies is perfection at this time of year. I have these in our front hall, so you're greeted with a fragrant whiff whenever you walk in the house.


This year we didn't put any lights up outside, just a boxwood wreath on the front door and two boxwood topiaries on either side of the front door. Here's a shot looking out during yesterday's snow storm. Pretty, but treacherous.

If you host a lot of parties, a folding clothing rack is a great investment. This one tucks away under a bed and prevents guests from having to throw their coats on a massive pile on a bed that's impossible to sort through at the end of the night. 

Here's a shot of our mantel. Notice the paperwhites did bloom in time! One of my favorite party guests told me that his grandmother feeds her paperwhites gin to keep them standing up straight. (I think she and I would get along!) Looks like she's not the only one who does this. Brilliant! 

A close-up of the mantel: 

We save a piece of our Christmas stump each year and write a couple words on it to remind us of where we lived and who we celebrated the holidays with. 

One more overall shot for good luck: 

Stay tuned for more on holiday food/drinks tomorrow!