During the holidays, we enjoy inviting family and friends over, playing holiday classics on the radio, and celebrating with good food and wine. Mixing modern glam with rustic charm adds warmth, whimsy, and elegance to your holiday party. To help you entertain at home this holiday season, our Home Entertaining Guide shares tips on how to host a rustic glam holiday party.
Rustic Glam Holiday Party Guide
Reminiscing about old times, playing games in front of a roaring fire, and sharing joyful moments around the Christmas tree – those are a few of the things we love about home entertaining during the holidays. Turn on a little holiday music, light some scented candles, and get ready to have fun!
Holiday Party Menu Ideas
When planning a rustic glam holiday party (during Happy Hour), plan a tasty menu based on finger-foods. Bite-sized samplings offer guests an array of goodies to choose from while encouraging them to mix and mingle (rather than take a seat). In addition, appetizers and bite-sized treats are easier for guests enjoy (while standing or socializing), as they don’t require a fork and knife.
Since guests will show up throughout the course of the holiday party, it’s best to start with antipasto and cold foods first. One of our favorite appetizers to serve at a holiday party is Caprese Skewers. These easy-to-make appetizers include olive oil and herb-marinated mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes served on a festive toothpick (like these sparkling Glitter Star Party Picks). For a hint of sweetness, these can be dipped into a Balsamic Syrup or glaze.
A beautiful cheese, fruit, and cured meat plate is always appetizing. The ideal Gourmet Cheese Plate offers a mixture of sweet, savory, and salty foods. Try using at least 3-4 different types of cheese – such as a Soft Creamed Brie, Herb Brie, Gouda, and Danish Blue Cheese. To make life easier for your guests, pre-label each cheese with name tags (like these adorable vintage-inspired erasable chalkboard stickers). Include cured meats (like prosciutto or salami) and a mix of fresh fruits – such as red grapes, blackberries, and strawberries.
Plus, a few extra goodies on the plate (like Greek kalamata olives, mixed fancy nuts, and gourmet crackers – like delicious Apple Walnut Crisps or Toasted Sourdough Baguettes) add variety, texture, and flavor. For the final touch – sprigs of Rosemary add natural color and rustic elegance to your Cheese Plate.
To keep things tidy, place the crackers in individual bowls next to the Cheese Plate. In addition, a bowl filled with toothpicks makes it easy for guests to pick-up the olives and meats, rather than using their fingers.
Have a few hot appetizers (such as our favorite Christmas Crescent Rolls made with Artichoke Jalapeno Dip, Roasted Veggies, and Turkey) warming in the oven while guests arrive. As the party nears its half-way point, bring out a couple plates of hot foods to replenish the buffet table, and to offer guests something different to try. Guests will be delighted to see new dishes on the table, especially if they’ve been at the party since it started.
Every holiday party needs a “Tower of Treats” as we like to call it. A 3-tiered, galvanized metal stand saves space on the buffet table while exuding an industrial look. This type of stand enables you to display a variety of delectable desserts and bite-sized sweets, making it ultra-functional.
Opt for an assortment of desserts – such as the conversation-worthy milk chocolate-dipped Oreos (hand-painted with cute Christmas designs) we got from local Carmel chocolatier – Pieces of Heaven, home-made Chocolate Chip cookies (from Mom, of course) and everyone’s favorite bite-sized desserts – Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes. You’ll be sure to please your guests with an array like this – whether they love sugar cookies or gourmet chocolates.
Holiday Party Tablescape Ideas
For a country chic vibe, stick with simple natural elements to add a rustic decor look. Fresh garland, dried berries, and mistletoe dress up any table for the holidays, bringing a festive touch and adding a cozy feeling.
For a bit of glam, spray-paint pinecones with metallic gold spray paint. If you can’t find pinecones in a nearby craft store, take a walk in the woods and pick-up some pinecones off the ground (like we did!).
For the centerpiece on the table, opt for a luxe-looking vase (such as a tall modern white ceramic vase with a metallic gold polka dot pattern). Fill the vase with lush greenery, metallic accents (from the market or craft store), and bold, elegant fresh blooms (like white lilies).
When it comes to serving platters and trays, for a rustic glam holiday party, it’s best to use vintage-inspired pieces. A white ceramic scalloped cake stand, a galvanized metal tiered stand, shabby chic dishes – these all add a country vibe to your tablescape.
Sprinkle the table with candle votives for a flicker of light to give your rustic glam holiday party a magical ambiance.
Holiday Party Beverage Ideas
If you’re hosting a rustic glam holiday party during Happy Hour (from 4-6pm), it’s best to serve an assortment of different wine varietals. Set-up a DIY Bar by featuring wine bottles on a table, kitchen island, or breakfast bar (as shown above), a wine bottle opener, and glasses.
A few popular types of wine to offer are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rose, and Merlot. To keep the red and white wines separate, we used a vintage-inspired copper caddy to store the red wines, and a modern stainless steel wine bucket to chill the whites. For more wine pairing ideas, check out these winemaker tips on Inspirations & Celebrations.
For guests who enjoy liquor, it’s advisable to have a bottle of Vodka on hand, just in case. You can also serve a Signature Cocktail (such as a pre-made Pomegranate Margarita) if you know your guests prefer hard alcohol over wine. This is why it helps to know your guests’ drinking preferences in advance of the party.
For those who aren’t drinking alcohol, offer them ice-chilled flavored sparkling water or hot cocoa. These are both tasty beverage ideas that still feel celebratory and fun. Plus, you’ll be prepared if kids show up to the party.
Holiday Party Entertainment
As the party starts to wind-down a bit, invite guests to gather by the fireplace to relax and play games. Raucously silly card games, such as the infamously hilarious Cards Against Humanity, are always a crowd-pleaser at parties. Not only are games just fun, they make it easier for new guests (who don’t know many people at the party) to break the ice with other folks. Plus, a good laugh always leaves everyone feeling jolly at the end of the party.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays, remember to put on a smile, grab a glass of wine, and toast to good times with great people. For more home entertaining tips and ideas, check out the Entertaining Section on Inspirations & Celebrations. Cheers to making magical moments and joyful memories this holiday season!
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