Holiday Hosting How-Tos
Entertaining has always been part of my life. Growing up, my parents instilled in me a love for the arts and culture. They always encouraged us to be creative and to express ourselves. As a child, I was constantly putting on elaborate productions with my siblings; we would make our own costumes by hand and bring in livestock from our farm to use as props. Our home was always filled with the joyous sounds of music and laughter.
As an adult, I have carried over the values I learned as a child to make my own memories with my family. The holiday season is always my favourite time of year to share traditions and create new ones with those that I love. There’s something about the cold weather that seems to bring people closer together in that way. Unfortunately it can also be one of the most stressful time of year for many of us. We spend so much time running around worrying about lists and getting caught up in preparations that we forget the real reason for celebrating the holidays.
The most important thing to remember about hosting this season is that everyone has a different style. As a German native living in California, I have developed an entertaining style that is a unique blend of European and American customs. On Christmas Eve, for instance, my entire home is illuminated by the soft glow of candles to reflect the German custom of putting candles on trees. We also leave our tree up until after the New Year for the Feast of the Epiphany. To revitalize my décor I use rich reds and majestic golds with fresh pine or noble fur for the Christmas season, and change to cooler colors like silver or blue for the New Year. Use your own tastes and traditions to plan your celebration. If a Currier and Ives Christmas isn’t your idea of the perfect holiday then you shouldn’t try to force it. Planning a holiday celebration that fits your style will make the entire experience less stressful.
My best entertaining advice is to be prepared for anything. My many years of hosting both at home and in my travels have taught me the invaluable lesson of flexibility. Though planning is an imperative part of any great party, you can’t plan for everything. There is one Christmas that will always stand out in my mind. I had everything ready for the evening except the holiday greens that I decorate my home with. My son was gracious enough to gather them for me; however it was not until later that I realized he had retrieved them from the bottom of the Christmas tree. We spent the season with half a Christmas tree that year, but it made a great conversation starter.
If I had to leave one final piece advice for anyone hosting his or her own holiday gathering this season, it would be to slow down and enjoy the company of your friends and family. After all, that is the real reason for the season.
Holiday Tips From Isabelle von Boch
Preparation is the most important part of any celebration. Make sure you have all the ingredients, read your recipes, and be sure to give yourself enough time to get everything ready.
Serve Drinks From Pitchers
Having pre-made cocktails handy means you won’t be spending the evening making drinks.
Try a Buffet Station Instead of a Formal Meal
Serve an array of hors d’oeuvres or assemble a buffet station so that your guests can serve themselves.
Mix and Match
If you’re planning a sit-down dinner, don’t be afraid to add colour and texture with your china. Introduce new patterns and styles for each course to create a unique tablescape.
Remember to Enjoy Yourself
You planned everything perfectly so enjoy your work. If something goes wrong just let it go — it’s likely that no one will even notice.
About Isabelle von Boch
Isabelle von Boch is an eighth generation von Boch family member, and Villeroy & Boch’s premier authority on hosting and decorating. Today, during her international appearances as a Villeroy & Boch spokesperson, she educates and inspires on everything there is to know about how to choose, enjoy and care for your dinnerware, fine china and crystal. When she’s not travelling the world inspiring others as a brand ambassador, she can be found sharing her love of entertaining with guests in her own home. She is an ardent ambassador of good taste, European hospitality, and casual elegance.