Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A holiday gathering

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It was a busy weekend, with both a Christmas party we attended, and a holiday gathering that we hosted for my the Atlanta office of my husband's company.

I had a budget for the company party, and I focused most of the budget on the caterer.  The flowers were ‘DIY’, which is not an easy thing for someone like me who has absolutely no skill whatsoever at flower arranging.

Christmas_side hall
I typically go to Costco or Whole Foods when I am putting together simple flower arrangements.  A woman at Costco convinced me to buy several bunches of seasonal greenery for the tables, but I decided they were too fragrant for the tables. I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I ended up putting two in one of the few non-glass containers that I had on hand, and I was pleased with the results – they just popped in the container and spread nicely. My 12 year old daughter made a bow based on instructions from a you tube video, and we were good to go. (Picture taken at night in challenging lighting!)

I also bought some roses to put in a round bowl. Typically I like single color rose arrangements, but I thought that the white and red looked festive. The roses probably got a bit crushed as it took me several rounds to get the stems the right length.

Normally I am not a fan of red, but these reminded me of a candy cane with the crisp white and red combination!

I didn’t have to worry about what to do on the dining room table, as I use a cherished crystal grouping that was passed down from a family member.  The carolers on the sideboard are a family tradition from my husband’s side of the family – they are made by Simpich company of Colorado Springs, however they are no longer made and have become quite the collector item.  I used IKEA white candles this year, and although they burned very quickly, they did not drip at all.  I quickly snapped a picture this morning as my photos from last night were too dark.

We also had seating at the kitchen table. I used a green table cloth I already owned, and popped a few preserved boxwoods into mercury glass vases.  I had battery powered lights on the boxwoods, but the lights only stayed lit for an hour or so.  The gifts are actually Christmas ornaments purchased from a local party/floral supply store, and the little votives are mercury glass – they glowed like little jewels when tealight candles were placed within.  Again, the lighting last night did not allow for good pictures, so I snapped a quick picture this morning, sans tablecloth.

We had an uncharacteristically warm day, so we decided to set the bar up outside.  We had a festive prosecco and pomegranate juice cocktail as the special drink, and a simple selection of wine, beer, sparkling water, and sodas.   Because we had a small group, the bar was self serve, so the caterer set it up the reverse as would typically be done when there is a bartender. The hurricane jars on the side of the bar are from IKEA, and I put fresh cranberries at the base for a bit of color.

The catering lead clipped some sprigs of holly from some of our trees, which was lovely little touch on the table.  

The holiday season is off to a great start!  I love enteraining so early in the season, as it forced me to get decorated in time for the party. Do you have any plans for holiday entertaining?  If you have any good pictures of party bar set ups, I would be very interested in seeing them.  If you go to a party this season and see a good bar, please snap a picture and send it to me!

Small art, perfect for special, one of a kind holiday gifts or hostess gifts!

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  1. Holly,

    Everything looks great as always. We have a little collection of the carolers as well. Just love them. I attended an auction last month where a collection of over 200 of them went one by one, and for a good price. Would love to see all the delicious food at your party! I will see a bar or two over the next few weeks and will keep an eye out for a good one to send you. -Tonya

  2. Cranberries and candles, I'm for it.

  3. Lovely, lovely, lovely! The simplicity of your flowers and table settings compliment your decor perfectly! Wonderful that you were able to set the bar up outside "one more time". I grilled steak in the midst of our first winter snowfall this weekend. It was beautiful!


    1. I like simple even in Christmas decor, much to my kids' chagrin. I do like a lively tree with colorful lights and lots and lots of unmatched, collected ornaments - maybe because of this, I like things to be fairly low key everywhere else! I pulled out more Christmas decorations this year, as we are more comfortable in the house now that we have been here for over a year. I didn't decorate much last year. It feels like we are establishing some new traditions, figuring out where to put things.

  4. You did "wonders" with the fresh greens!! Your table even afterwards is just lovely!! Hope you "put your feet up" afterwards - whew!! franki

  5. how beautiful holly, just like a pro! your dining room table is enchanting, i suddenly find myself wanting to start a crystal collection

  6. Holly-
    You did a beautiful job, and your arrangements looked great. I loved the red and white for Christmas.
    I lov eyour carolers and the crystal.
    Happy Monday.

  7. What a gorgeous dining room table! Love your fresh, traditional style and simple florals - the entire look is perfect!


  8. Beautiful. Elegant and simply decorated. Love the bar outdoors.

  9. Beautiful arrangements, Holly. I do love red during the holidays. Especially holly berries, deep red amaryllis flowers, and classic red tulips. So festive! Let's coordinate a visit when you are in DC! Cheers, Loi

  10. So,Very,Gorgeous,Holy!


  11. beautiful decorations! it must've been a wondeful party!

  12. Like you I'm partial to white flowers, but red adds a nice pop during the holiday season. Because I don't have a butler's pantry or bar area in my house, I typically set up my bar in our mudroom. There's lots of counter space and I use the sink for ice. We had a large party in October and I seriously couldn't get people out of there. People no long congregate in my kitchen. They were packed in there like sardines and seemed to love it. I'm having a few parties in the next few weeks and will send photos of my bar and tables tops.

    BTW, I've recently launched a new blog. Check it out.


    1. I find that the location of the bar(s) really determines much about how the party flows, and where people will gather and congregate! When we had a big party for 150, we put a bar in the living room (because it was raining, otherwise we would have put it on the bluestone patio) and a bar in the outdoor room. Having bars on two ends of the house, with food in the middle, made for a great flow.

      I would love to see a picture of your bar set up in the mudroom!

  13. You did a beautiful job decorating for the party! We are planning our Christmas party that we've hosted for over 10 years! We love it…however, the bar set up always is complicated and I'm so hoping for a warm enough night to be able to put ours outside as well! I love your carolers! I collect them as well…the Dicken's carolers…not sure if they are the same but I sure do love them! Glad you had such a wonderful time and everything looked beautiful!

  14. Looks like lots of fun and you did a great job! I love decorating for parties and going to the yard for evergreen and this time of year the holly berries. This weather has been crazy, but wonderful for being able to go outside!

  15. As much as I love cooking for a party, I have to admit flower arranging is my favourite thing ever.
    I could blow my entire budget at Cut Flower Wholesale.

  16. Beautiful Holly...very elegant. I also love playing florist, and though I do stress over parties once I get into it..theres no stopping me:) Love the orbs on the table, the bar set up and your beautiful rose clusters. Its all very elegant. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.......

  17. It looks fab Holly. Simple and elegant and totally suited to the occasion. I LOVED seeing tiny view of your amazing house. Please show more!! P.S. If you ever have a garage sale, call me first ok? xo Terri

  18. What a lovely event you must have hosted. Your home is gorgeous!

  19. I studied your dining room photo to see what you decided to do about your chandelier. I couldn't even see a hint reflected in the mirror. Do tell! :) I am sure a bare bulb wasn't on display for the company party. :)

    1. No chandelier yet, although my designer and I are actively working on it - looking for an antique right now, and if we can't find a suitable candidate, we will consider new but well designed chandeliers. I will have one in place in early 2013 and will certainly do a post on it! I wish we could have found one in time for the holidays. The lightbulb is still there, but I kept it off, and with the candles flickering and the side lamps on dim, the room had a nice glow. I did tell the group that was sitting in the room that we were working on the chandelier!

  20. Absolutely simple and beautiful, love the all crystal centerpiece Uderstated elegance. My favorite type of decorating,
    Merry Christmas,

  21. I'd love to see any pictures you may accumulate of "real" bars. I find that most "bar" pictures on blogs are so staged and impractical... impractical for both serving or long-term storage. Pretty, but not helpful.

  22. You are so cool ! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject.


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