By definition, a party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purpose of socializing, conversation, recreation, or as part of a festival or other commemoration of special occasion. When it comes to entertaining, there are so many styles and different ways to approach hosting an event from a simple get-together with friends + family to a formal sit down dinner. This time of year is always known for holiday festivities and dinners bring the ones we love most together. That might just be the reason why we can’t get enough of this season, staying indoors and enjoying delicious foods. We love any form of entertaining but our favorite parties of course include our little peanuts. We will be the first to admit that trying to host a party with kids definitely has it’s challenges, but for sure not a reason to avoid hosting a nice dinner if that’s what you fancy. Just because kids are invited to a party or a dinner doesn’t mean that you have to cater just to them either. This is the perfect time for you to get your adult interaction with your friends so don’t be afraid to eat + drink the things you love! To show you just how to entertain with little peanuts we enlisted the help of talented event designer, Alexis Andra owner of The Shift Creative, to design a uniquely beautiful holiday soirée that included little ones. We love her fresh take on the traditional holiday party setting and we we’ve had the chance to get some great advice + tips on entertaining right from the expert! We hope this feature will inspire you to host more memorable events with your friends + family and of course don’t leave out the kiddos! Let’s dive right in.
WHAT IS YOUR MUST-HAVE TOOL FOR ENTERTAINING?
I always try to incorporate greenery, or florals when I’m entertaining. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but the smallest detail makes the biggest impact! Even adding greenery around your food makes it seem more special, and put together!
THE ENTERTAINING RULE YOU RARELY BREAK?
The entertaining rule I rarely break is plating the food on coordinating serving plates. If your party is potluck style or guests are bringing a side dish I always ask to have them plate it on a white dish so that it goes with the overall vibe, or I replate their item on my own dish!
WHAT IS YOUR ENTERTAINING STYLE?
I am very detail orientated. I will go the extra mile whether its name cards per setting, florals styled on or next to the plate, or color coordinating the drinks to match the table settings. It’s all in the details, and I can’t say it enough! My current favorite color palette is very minimal – white, black, and ivory. I then use that base and bring in pops of color like mustard and indigo, or cranberry like I did for this party.
WHAT IS YOUR STANDARD HOSTESS OUTFIT?
My typical outfit is either dark denim with a fancy shirt, platforms and a statement necklace, or a dress with tights and heeled boots! It really depends on the mood I’m in, and the season!
YOUR SIGNATURE ENTERTAINING DISH
I love me a good meat and cheese board! It is so classic, and you can adjust it according to the seasons!
WHAT’S ON THE MENU FOR THIS PARTY?
For this party, I created a meat and cheese board consisting of salami, procuttio, brie cheese, goat cheese, figs, honey, candied walnuts, pomegranate, and dark chocolate. Adding the pomegranate, candied nuts, and dark chocolate already makes it more of a holiday appetizer. Another appetizer created was bacon wrapped dates drizzled with a brown sugar maple sauce. Seriously to die for! For the entree, we grilled seasoned chicken, and accompanied it with charred lettuce and onions. For dessert, we had the kids decorate sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled either with cinnamon, or crasins and rose merry sprigs. Decorating this way is still fun for the kids, but modern for a dinner party, and allows for more creative decorating ideas.
WHAT ITEMS ARE ALWAYS IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR?
I always have salami in my fridge for a quick sandwich or meat and cheese platter, and I ALWAYS have a chocolate molten cake in my freezer for a quick and YUMMY dessert!
WHAT ARE YOUR ENTERTAINING FEARS?
One entertaining fear is that whatever I am preparing for the meal is going to be dry (typically chicken) so I try to steer away from dishes that might have the problem of drying out or being over cooked.
YOUR TIPS FOR ENTERTAINING WITH ADULTS + KIDS?
I am a firm believer that you CAN have a pretty party with kids! Yes, you heard me right! Decorate your tablescape with all the flowers you had in mind, and even your pretty dishes! If you are worried about things breaking create a separate table or space for the kids, and make it cute for them so they feel apart of the party! Incorporate activities like a DIY wreath station and a DIY cookie bar! This way they have a creative outlet to keep their attention. Additionally, choose a broad range of food that you know both kids and adults will enjoy. Most importantly, be flexible! Spills happen, photos don’t go as you planned, and the list goes on, but try to remember that its about connecting with your guests and doing life with one another through the melt downs and the giggles. Not everything is going to be picture perfect, and thats okay.