Undecking the Halls


How to keep holiday entertaining simple and chic.

by Christopher Confero  

 

If you’re anything like me, the holidays are always a true hustle and bustle. Not only do I get invited to countless holiday parties, but I also spend my winter months planning my clients’ celebrations that have been in the works since August. By the time December rolls around, I don’t have too many visions of sugarplums dancing around my head. When I finally get in the holiday spirit, I look around my home and ask, “What am I going to do with this place?” Let me talk you through how I entertain during the holidays and celebrate the season in simple yet chic ways while delighting all five senses.

 

1. Sight—If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Every single light in a home should be on a dimmer. Lights on a tree aren’t an exception. Whether you’re decorating an elaborate tree with gobs of family memories or going with a simplistic approach, invest in a simple dimmer for the strands of lights. Designer’s Tip: I always layer and install the larger C-9 bulbs as well as the mini light strands when decorating a home. The larger bulbs act as more of a focal point, like a chandelier would, while the minis add a warming glow.

 

2. Sound—Magic 96.5 starts playing holiday tunes Nov. 1, and personally I think it’s a bit overkill. When I make my personal playlist, one out of every 10 songs will be a current top 40 hit. It breaks up the monotony of all the jingle bells. My personal favorite holiday album is by Diana Krall; it’s jazzy but not overbearing.

 

3. Smell—Some years I don’t bring any live greenery into my home, but I sorely miss the smell that comes with fresh-cut greens. No matter if I make it to the tree lot or not, I always have the crisp pine smell when I light my favorite December scent: Diptyque’s Encorce de Pin. The notes of pine, Japanese cypress, and cedar fill up a space with a sharp and refreshing aroma.

 

4. Taste—I’m not terrible in the kitchen, but a gourmet chef I am not. And let’s get real; if I’m entertaining at my home, the bar is the star of the show. I don’t serve an open bar; instead, I keep things on the light side, and by light, I mean white. My worst nightmare is a red wine spill. I am known for my winter white cosmo and bourbon milk punch. (I’ll post the recipe on my blog, www.christopherconfero.com/blog.) Anything I can make ahead of time in batches and leave out in a beautiful tureen means that I’m not stuck with a shaker in my hand all night.

 

5. Touch—Nothing is worse in the winter months than dry skin. Follow me here—’tis the season for being cozy and getting caught under the mistletoe. Instead of trying to get everyone individual personalized gifts, I make one trip to a store and pick up a handful of small items. This year, I’m thinking Aveda’s travel-size hand lotions and lip balms will do the trick. That should ensure my guests have smooth hands and soft lips. You may want to start thinking of what you are doing New Year’s Eve. See y’all in 2014!

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