Hi I am Sarah Tucker! I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida with my husband and our two sons in an old colonial home. Celebrations both large and small are my favorite.

This year we are hosting a big Christmas party for JB’s clients in a couple of weeks. I’ve been having fun decorating, searching for ideas, and coming up with a theme. And of course being conscientious of the less fun things about parties — a budget and logistics. Together, with Dogwood Hill, I am sharing some holiday entertaining tips. I’m far from an expert but I do learn something from every party we host. And those lessons learned are what I’m sharing with you here.

1. Pick a theme! This Christmas (and always!), I love blues, ginger jars, toile, and crests. So when I saw this blue toile crest invitation from Dogwood Hill, I fell even more in love with Dogwood Hill. It’s nice to have this beautiful invitation in the back of my mind so while I’m decorating I can create a cohesive look.

2. Repurpose what you already have. I screen shotted their ginger jar mantle card to my sister and best friends and said HOW CUTE IS THIS?! I am planning on dressing up my ginger jars just like this for the party. Sometimes the perfect way to decorate is with what you already have laying around, just add a bow or some fresh clippings.

3. Cheese boards make great appetizers. I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s always a hit. One roll of $1 kraft paper found at the dollar store, a white chalkboard marker to mark the different kinds of cheese, olives, and crackers make a cute and more importantly, delicious, start to the party. Plus, clean up couldn’t be easier!

4. As Kate Spade says, Making others feel at ease is the essence of etiquette, yesterday and today. This is always in the back of my mind while hosting parties. Every party can be saved as long as you make your guests feel welcomed and comfortable. A sincere smile goes a long way! I also would add that I try to make many items self serve so that my guests are in control. That way the most I have to do during the party is pop a bottle of champagne, or grab more crackers, and I can get back to enjoying my guests. Some people are cooks, and while I love to cook for my family, for crowds it takes my stress down to have it catered. I find that if you’re eating and enjoying, your guests are more likely to as well.

5. Flowers go a long way, but don’t have to break the bank. I buy a ton of $3.99 bunches of assorted Eucalyptus at Trader Joe’s and sprinkle it everywhere along with votives. It makes my home smell amazing and creates a romantic look.

I hope a few of these tips help you out while you plan your gatherings this Holiday season! Merry Christmas!

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