Planning a holiday party can be daunting, especially if you’re on a budget or have limited time to spare. But event planners to the stars say it’s definitely possible to throw a festive soiree without spending a fortune or stressing yourself out in the process. To inspire you to have fun entertaining at home during the holidays this season, here are expert tips and recipes from celebrity event planners, culinary experts, chefs, and restaurateurs.

Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas cocktail party, or even throwing a New Year’s Eve bash, these inspiring ideas will add that extra oomph to any celebration you plan this season.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

Celebrity event planner & expert tips for throwing a festive soiree

As a home entertaining expert, here are some basic holiday party-planning tips I always like to keep in mind:

  1. Start by making a list of what you need. This will help you stay focused and avoid overspending.
  2. Shop around for the best deals on decorations, food, and drinks.
  3. Consider renting items instead of buying them – this can be a great way to save money.
  4. Get creative with your invitations – there are lots of DIY options that can be both fun and cost-effective. Even using a system like can help you create stylish digital invites.
  5. Plan ahead as much as possible to help minimize last-minute expenses or stress.
  6. And finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! After all, that’s what the holidays are all about.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

As the Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine magazine, Hunter Lewis knows a thing or two about how to host a memorable dinner or event. Here are some of his tips for planning a party:

  • “Keep things simple and don’t feel you have to impress everyone.”
  • High/low pairings (like fried chicken and Champagne)” are always a hit because “they’re unexpected yet comfortable”.
  • “When entertaining, it’s all about prepping ahead – making dishes” before the event.
  • Don’t “get hung up on the menu and the minutiae”. Instead, be “more interested in having a good time”.
  • “Make a statement-making centerpiece dish, like smoked chicken or fish.”
  • For beverages, he recommends always having “cold wines and bubbles” on hand.
  • Plus, “a big tossed salad” and “roasted vegetables” are some of his must-have side dishes.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

Regarded as one of the top Southeast Asian event producers, Nirjary Desai is the Chief Experience Officer and Founder of KIS (cubed) Events, specializing in one-of-a-kind event experiences with a serious wow factor for some of the top brands, celebrities, and personalities across the US and globally (including Audible by Amazon, the Hillary Clinton campaign, The Ritz-Carlton, and Delta Airlines). She has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar India, Grace Ormonde, Huffington Post, Mandala Weddings, and many others.

Here are Nirjary’s tips on throwing a festive holiday party:

“Creating seasonal decor that mirrors the seasons is fun and easy. For example, Fall is one of those seasons that calls to us for exciting and stylish outdoor decorations. We can enjoy the warmth of the fall season with colorful handmade decorations, flowers, and a bountiful harvest. These bountiful fruits and vegetables can make your table eye candy with their rich colors and shapes. A harvest party with warm fall colors can be great fun for all the family members with porch decorations such as fall leaves on the table, fall-colored candles and wreaths, scented flowers, fall-themed tablecloths, and napkins, colored lighting, wall decor, and more. Another great way to celebrate the season is to create an outdoor LED display outdoor. This is a great way to enhance your current outdoor decor and add another layer of color and excitement to your space.”

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

Award-winning chefs share easy-to-make gourmet holiday recipes

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and, of course, fabulous food. If you’re looking to impress your guests with some recipes from the world’s best chefs, look no further. I’ve rounded up a couple of the most mouth-watering holiday recipes from award-winning chefs that are easy to recreate at home. From main courses to desserts, these dishes will have your guests feeling like they’re dining at a five-star restaurant. So get cooking and enjoy a stress-free holiday entertaining season.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

Celebrity Chef Robbie Shoults is the third-generation owner of the Shoults family business, Bear Creek Smokehouse in Marshall, Texas. His ingenious ideas keep the 79-year-old business evolving. He has been featured on Huckabee, The List, WGN’s Lunchbreak, the TODAY show, Rachael Ray, and as a five-time guest judge on The Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, etc. Robbie’s recipes have also been featured in national publications such as Taste of Home, Meat + Poultry, and Yahoo!, to name a few. To inspire you to whip up an easy-to-make comfort food that everyone will love, here’s a casserole recipe that you can assemble ahead of time and bake later.

Bill Dorsey’s Casserole (Serves 12)


  • 1 pound lean ground meat
  • 1 can Spanish rice
  • 1 can Ranch Style beans, drained
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 packet cornbread mix, mixed according to package instructions but not cooked/baked

1. Assemble now, and bake later!

2. in a large skillet, brown the ground meat. Drain off pan juices if desired. To the meat, add Spanish rice, beans, corn, and Rotel tomatoes. Stir to blend all ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread evenly in the pan. Pour the prepared cornbread batter evenly over the meat mixture. Store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cornbread is lightly browned and the meat mixture is bubbly.

Bill Dorsey's Casserole Bear Creek Smokehouse

Below is a delicious dessert recipe idea from Celebrity Chef Jason Smith, whose expert culinary skills quickly made him a Triple Crown winner in the competitive kitchens of Food Network. In less than a year, Jason won Holiday Baking Championship season 3, Holiday Baking Championship Kids vs Adults 2016, and the ultimate title of Next Food Network Star season 13.

He says, “Where people get into real trouble and begin to panic (is planning) the menu! Remember the theme you have selected, sit down and make a simple menu, either for a sit-down dinner or appetizers. No matter what kind of event you are having, planning is the key. When making the menu figure out three or four easy dishes to serve, and pick things that can be prepared a few days ahead and that can be heated up or finished off right before the party, this keeps you and the guest happy. And always choose dishes that don’t take very many ingredients, as these will be budget friendly but also tasty. When it comes to beverages there’s a multitude of things you can do. My favorite is to set up a fix-your-own beverage station or serve-yourself bar. Sometimes guests that are coming will ask what I can bring, this is a good time to ask guests to bring beverages, let them know your theme so they can pick up something fun and festive.”

If you’re looking to even more personalized advice from Chef Jason and his team, check out his innovative company, HUNGRY – the fastest-growing food tech startup in the USA. The virtual service offers an innovative one-hour session with a celebrity chef who will walk you step-by-step through how to make an amazing meal and offer their favorite tips and tricks.

Chef Jason reminds us that, “When it comes to Holiday Entertaining it should be an enjoyable time of the year not stressful, so with that in mind, here are some awesome tips to make your Holiday a hit with family and friends. Let’s set the stage for a successful and joyful event.”

Below is a simple and easy holiday dessert recipe he’s whipped up for you to give a try this holiday season.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas Recipe

Image c/o Chef Jason

Pumpkin Roll Bar (Serves 6-8)


  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 ½-cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups self-rising flour


  • 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, room temp
  • ¼-cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°, and spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl place the butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, water, and spice, and mix till combined.
  3. Stir in the flour, just until mixed in.
  4. In a separate bowl place the filling ingredients and mix them together.
  5. Pour half the pumpkin mix into the bottom of the baking pan, spread out, then place the filling over the batter and spread out, top with the remaining batter and swirl.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 mins, or until there is no jiggle in middle.
  7. Remove and let cool, cut, and serve.
  8. Tip: You can drizzle it with caramel sauce.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

Chef Tiffany Lewis is the founder of Cookies With Tiffany — an acclaimed Seattle-based bakery that ships out-of-this-world cookies nationwide. She’s a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who has done work for Curtis Stone, Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network, and more world-renowned brands. Tiffany has been featured in The Seattle Times, The Zoe Report,, and many other media outlets.

Here’s Tiffany’s advice when it comes to planning your desserts. She says, “If you’re throwing a get-together, don’t forget the importance of mixing up your dessert spread. That can come in the form of different colors, textures, and flavors. For instance, if you have a number of creamy desserts in your spread, add a bowl of crunchy candied nuts! Personally, I like to create a cookie spread that has a mix of my Molasses Cookies (the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove essence is amazing!), Maple Doodles (hello, fall!), and S’more Cookies (that chew from the toasted marshmallow is unforgettable). As the seasons shift, don’t forget to align your spread with the harvest’s bounty — say, Lemon Doodles for a spring soirée. By highlighting a collection of seasonally inspired colors, flavors, and textures, you’ll create an unforgettable tablescape.”

Fast and easy ways to decorate your holiday party

Getting your home holiday-ready for your party doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little bit of planning and some creative flair, you can easily transform your space into a festive and inviting gathering place for family and friends.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas from Celebrity Event Planners

A holiday tablescape is a great way to add some holiday cheer to your dining room or kitchen. Start with a tablecloth or runner in a holiday-inspired color or print, and then layer on some holiday-themed plates, napkins, and glassware. Add seasonal accents like candles, greenery, or berries for a touch of holiday magic. For extra impact, hanging a wreath or garland on the wall or draping it over the mantelpiece is always eye-catching.

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Event Planners, Chefs, and Restaurateurs

If you’re hosting a holiday party, getting creative with your decorations is key to making it feel festive and fun. Hang twinkly lights around the perimeter of the room, or create a unique centerpiece using holiday-themed items like miniature Christmas trees, an enchanting Santa figurine, pinecones, candy canes, or gingerbread houses.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas from Celebrity Event Planners

And, of course, festive fun-filled balloons always bring a sense of joy to any celebration. To make helium balloon inflation fast and easy, use E-Z Safety Seal Balloon Valves from Creative Balloons Manufacturing (which are now available at Walmart stores in the party aisle, and online at These reusable and recyclable self-sealing, pre-strung ribbon valves enable you to quickly inflate, seal, and string a helium-filled latex balloon in just 6 seconds! And since the valves automatically seal the helium in the balloons, you’ll no longer get sore fingers from tying knots in the balloons, nor need to cut and attach ribbon either. This is a must-have time-saving tool for party decorating!

Holiday Entertaining Ideas from Celebrity Event Planners

As you can see, with just a little bit of effort you can easily turn your home into a holiday haven that will get everyone in the spirit of the season. With a dose of creativity and planning, you can easily throw a festive holiday soiree. By following this expert advice, you will be sure to impress your holiday party guests this season.

For more inspiring ideas on how to celebrate the holidays at home, check out the Entertaining section on Inspirations & Celebrations.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas from Celebrity Event Planners

[Disclosure: Affiliate links included]

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