The middle of November has already arrived, and it's about time to turn your hostessing preparations from holiday stress into holiday cheer! Thanks to Room & Board, this collective list serves as your tool for out-of-town visitors throughout the season. From sprucing up the apartment with flowers, to serving bites and sips upon their arrival, these stress-free ideas will provide ultimate memories and the utmost holiday comfort. It's all in the details, too, which makes the tasks totally doable and (surprisingly) enjoyable. You might even be lucky enough to treat your home to a Room & Board accessory of your own...Scroll through my hostess list, note the accessories (all made in the United States by artists), and pick your favorite piece for the enter-to-win giveaway, which will arrive just in time for the holidays!
1. Freshen up with florals.
Arranged in the shore rectangle planter, I tend to choose softer floral colors since a) I'm such a matching maniac, and b) The flowers will not overwhelm or clash with merry holiday decor. I have found plump white hydrangeas to work well with any occasion, whether casual or formal.
2. Stock the pantry.
It is never a bad move to restock the pantry for any possible situation. Sweet, salty, crunchy, and smooth. . .I recommend using good bowls for easy clean-up snacks to hold over guests until dinnertime. My go-to stockers, right now, are wasabi peas, dried berries, almonds, and yogurt- or chocolate-covered raisins.
3. Serve a signature drink.
Remember those nostalgic instances while visiting grandparents? Without fail, I was always offered a glass of lemonade. The gesture, while traditional in fashion, expresses ultimate hospitality -- and a reason to toast! Of course, adding liquor is an option, especially depending upon the person and time of his/her arrival. A lovely morning mimosa after an early flight could be the ultimate relief of jet lag, and a cider wouldn't hurt for a colder evening. Whether drinks are placed on the kitchen counter, coffee table, or guest room nightstand, use the ply walnut tray to transfer any glasses and garnishes.
4. Create ample warmth and lighting.
A lamp and a candle do wonders in any setting; they not only physically brighten the room, but they brighten moods and ambiances. I tend to choose a more natural candle scent, such as lavender, for the therapeutic aroma. And a modern, minimalist table lamp would look fabulous in any guest bedroom. To keep guests extra cozy during winter nights, these horizon throws are made of soft, strong wool, which insulates without the bulk.
5. Make the "list."
Rather than being overwhelmed with questions on nearby locations and must-see spots, provide your guests with an easy-to-follow, reliable list for family favorites and new discoveries. Name your favorite nearby local cafés, shops, etc. The "list" will be reused countless times, even if it only took you a few moments to put together. I like to place my list on top of a stack of magazines, which can vary according to your guest. Bon Appetit for relatives...Vanity Fair or InStyle for the girlfriends...pick and choose nighttime reads as your guest would like.
Guess what? If you're on our "list" -- meaning you follow Caramelized and Room & Board on Facebook (or Instagram, if you're feeling fancy) -- you are in the drawing for a Room & Board giveaway. The winner will choose the accessory of her choice from my holiday list, just in time! The entire Caramelized collection is on a Pinterest Board, for easier access. Follow the instructions for your chance to win: