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5 Steps To Decorate And Entertain Like A Pro This Holiday Season

Step 1: Get Inspired

Holiday entertaining is one of my favorites to host. Every year I select a theme for both my Christmas tree and table scape. My theme usually starts with inspiration. It may start with either a simple ornament, napkin ring or even a song on the radio. This year,  I had a longing  for a vintage Christmas vibe with a touch of trendy disco glam. Think of a Norman Rockwell painting   meets Saturday Night Fever.  Next, I always have to give my theme a name and or title. Organic Sparkle is my 2023 design concept holiday theme. 

Step 2: Head Count + Seating

How many? This year I’m planning for Christmas dinner for about 7, yet a good rule is to plan for 2 more. Why? You never want to plan to limit any friend or family that will need space at your table, especially during the holidays. So always, always have extra space at the table if planning a sit down meal.  Always have extra place settings, and extra beverages and food.  As much as I love my theme and holiday decor, I truly love gathering my tribe to create memories and laughter in my home.  Yet, it is important that you actually have the room for everyone to sit. A good guide is 20”-24” per person at the table. Also keep in mind what you are serving and how formal your place setting will be. If you are tight on space, you may want to plan to be a bit less formal. Also plan your menu to support the room on the table. A self-serve buffet is a great solution if your table is narrow and lacks space for large platters. 

Step 3: To Purchase Or Not To Purchase

The best part about a theme/design concept is it will guide you to what not to buy. Yes, you read that correctly. What NOT to buy. Think of your theme as a recipe to your favorite meal. All the ingredients come together to create a beautiful flavor. That is what we are doing for our holiday theme. Gathering elements that all will come together to create a beautiful scene. So how do I create my Organic Sparkle theme from ideas to decor? I start with a mood board. Mood boards are a place to put your inspired images of the overall look you are trying to create in your home. This becomes a tool to refer to when planning your items to purchase. Back to what not to buy. Stick to the plan. I have created a method I use with all my design clients. From kitchen remodels to dinner parties, I teach…The Design Concept Method. The Design Concept Method is a simple question. “Does this item support my theme/design concept? This method will keep any shopaholic on track. We all have gotten caught up in the moment of just buying something because we like it.  We are all guilty of going out shopping, walking into our favorite retail store and purchasing the store's displayed theme. We bring it home… and we tilt our heads and think..”What the hell was I thinking?” We end up with items that look great in the store, but lack the luster we were trying to create. My Design Concept Method stops this from ever happening.  What if you asked yourself a simple question before you purchased anything? “Does this item support my theme?” For me this year, I asked, “Does this item support Organic Sparkle?” Now remember my Organic Sparkle was developed from my inspiration of vintage and trendy glam. I also put together a lovely mood board to help keep me on track to compare my images to the items I’m about to purchase. This Design Concept Method is a tool. It allows for you to commit to your theme and only shop/purchase for that theme. 

Step 4: If You Do Not Have The Dime, Make Sure To Have The Time

Your budget is your main guide to a successful holiday entertaining and decorating. Make a checklist of what you need. This year I started from scratch. It has been a few years since I purchased any major holiday decor. So I knew I needed a budget to keep my purchases on track. From a Christmas tree to table cloth, it's on the list. Then my sourcing of selections begins. I go from inspired images to real items to purchase. I then create a new mood board of items to purchase. I check to see if that board shares the same vibe as my original inspiration board. If yes, then and only then I make a purchase. If not, then out of the cart it goes. If it shares the same vibe then it is supporting the theme! 

Not all budgets allow you to purchase any item that supports the theme.  So go on what I call the “treasure hunt”.  This treasure hunt can be at any budget friendly retailer to a second hand store. The trick is to compare your dream item to a more affordable item that still will create that beautiful look you are trying to achieve. This can actually be really fun. It can also be very frustrating and take up a bit of time. So plan ahead if you are entertaining on a budget. Waiting until the last minute can blow the budget quickly or even worse, purchasing items that kill the vibe and do not support your theme. Make sure to not only budget your funds, but also your time. 

Step 5: Set The Stage

The best part of creating a theme is having it come to life. I recommend starting with a clean palette. Yes, clean your space. Make sure you are organized and prepared for the festivities. I mentioned the budget. Make sure to budget enough time to set your stage. Holidays can be stressful and busy. It takes time to decorate. It may even take longer than most think. Do it in stages. Just like the  shopping list, make a task list. Break up the task list, so you have time to enjoy the process. Bringing your theme to life should be just as enjoyable as experiencing your theme/design concept. 

Have fun this season creating good living in your home!

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