Celebrate in Style! Part 1: Hosting

We’re starting a series to help your holiday season be as fashion-forward as can be. First up: hosting the perfect soiree!

Host. For many, the title comes with an innate dread. Well, we’re here to make your party-planning duties as painless as possible.

1.  Invitations

I’ve long been obsessed with pretty much anything Oscar de la Renta puts his name to; ditto Kelly Wearstler, Deborah Lloyd at Kate Spade, and Derek Blasberg. From Oscar’s inherent elegance and Kelly’s masterful mix of patterns, textures, and shapes, to Kate Spade’s colorful wit and Derek’s no-B.S. attitude, everything they touch is gold. Paperless Post seems to agree, as they asked each to design a collection of seriously stylish stationary for both web and print.


Kate Spade New York‘s dancing feet will have all your guests itching to rock around the Christmas tree, while Kelly Wearstler ‘s design savvy will ensure your champagne toast is the talk of the town. Derek Blasberg‘s packages are sure to be a hit for the white elephant gift exchange, but if you’re needing something a bit more formal, look no further than Oscar de la Renta‘s perfect festive plaid. Personally, I always love a good whiskey-drinking Santa, too.

2.  Food + Drink

Food and, of course, cocktails are essential to any great party. Raise the bar this year with offerings from some of our favorite local businesses.



Up the ante on the traditional cheese plate. Goose the Market always has an excellent selection to choose from. Feeling like getting a little fancy? I’m dying to try the Baked Brie w/ Roasted Cranberry Sauce, from A Couple Cooks.

Popcorn is a Christmas classic. Try any of the seasonal flavors from Just Pop In! (I’m partial to the White Chocolate Peppermint) or create your own tin. FYI: these also make a great gift!

Searching for something sweet? Look no further than Newfangled Confections‘ yummy little treats. Sweet & Spicy Pecans are perfect for munching by the handful, and no one will be able to resist a holiday cookie tray from Circle City Sweets. For a fun little holiday surprise, have your guests roast marshmallows from 240sweet over little candles.

But enough about the food. We know the real star of the holiday party is the booze. Nothing else keeps you quite as warm and toasty. The key here is variety. Invite your guests to BYOB – a selection of favorite cocktail mixes or great new wines keeps everyone happy. Set on DIY? Snag a keg from your favorite local brewery (I’m partial to Sun King, although I wish 3Floyds was closer to Indy!) and whip up a batch of mulled wine. Needing something a little bit, um, harder? Indiana Vodka‘s Chocolate Espresso, Double Vanilla, and Chai Tea are absolutely delicious (and this is coming from a non-vodka drinker).  

3.  Atmosphere

The perfect party has an excellent mix of food, drinks, and personalities, but fancying up your place doesn’t hurt. A couple strands of lights and a little bowl of ornaments on the table is a great, low-cost way to add some cheer to your space, big or small. Make sure excess clutter and easily reached breakables are safely put away, just in case. And make sure to put on a great mix of music. Not into Christmas carols? Not a big deal. A mix of old and new hits is a great way to cater to all music tastes. Take advantage of tools like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes radio to mix and match your playlists. Or, better yet, have a music-savvy friend? Have them bring the tunes! That way, you and your guests can discover something new.

What are your party hosting tips? How do you like to celebrate the season? Sound off in the comments!

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