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Hosting the holidays is as easy as you make it, and we’ve narrowed down a few holiday must-haves to help take your home to the “fest” level. This holiday season lean into the details for a simple and intimate gathering. With some strategic planning, a bit of garland and a couple bottles of wine on deck, you’ll be ready to host your loved ones for a stress-free evening sure to impress (even if you only have a microwave).

Hosting the holidays is about cultivating a cozy, festive space in your home to celebrate the people you call home. Humans have a natural tendency to gather together, find companionship and create meaning. So, think about the areas in your home that draw people together and put effort toward enhancing the feel of those spaces. For us at Havenly, there are two areas that come to mind: the kitchen (for good reason) and the living room.Holiday party

Simple Hosting Ideas for the Holidays

The Kitchen

This year, forget the hassle of deciphering vintage recipe cards and pretending like you know how to “julienne” carrots. Opting for an “apps and wine” occasion or just “drinks and dessert” will cut your hustle in half while holding onto the best parts of the holidays. Whatever your level of culinary experience, you’ll be able to easily navigate these recipes and wow your guests with the results.  

Want to do even less? Organize a potluck-style evening or look to your nearest grocery for easy prepared foods and small bites. 

Veto-ing a culinary extravaganza saves time in your schedule and room in your budget, meaning you can put your energy toward sprucing up the rest of your evening. Encourage holiday-esque activities, such as baking cookies or pie, making mulled wine or spiced apple cider. 

If a holiday bake-off is sure to please, the Beech Wood Snowflake Rolling Pin from Crate and Barrel is a must, and pair well with World Market’s Mason Cash Ceramic Mixing Bowls. When the timer’s done, impress your guests with this handmade wooden cake stand. Move the party toward the living room while staying on-brand with Anthropologie’s Zizou Side Plates, subtly detailed with intricate snowflake patterns. Napkins are a must for nomadic guests, and there isn’t a better holiday option out there quite like the Denver Plaid Napkin set from Pottery Barn.

The Living Room

Living room

Whether you’re making the most of a studio apartment or finding yourself tracking down guests in different rooms of the house, it’s safe to say that most will end up in the living room. A crackling fireplace captures the ultimate feel of the holidays, but this isn’t everyone’s reality. Opt for a few candles and seasonally-inspired greenery, such as Pottery Barn’s Lit Juniper Tree set.

Interior decor in the colder months gives a great opportunity to add coziness of your home through texture. The knit fabrics, wool, and faux fur that you’ve been stowing away are finally ready to make an appearance. If your holiday cozy starter pack is lacking, look to these accent pieces for a solution:

  • If there’s one must-have for your living room look, it’s something warm to curl up with. Give your guests the coziness they deserve with Pottery Barn’s Nottingham Plaid Faux Fur Throw. Compliment the look with CB2’s Brown Icelandic Fur pillow.
  • Spice up your usual seating situation with a few seasonal pillows. Whether your style says “cozy and classic” or “hitting the ski lift,” Pottery Barn has several affordable holiday couch pillow options to create warmth in your gathering space. When finding the right mix, try layering different patterns and textures. This creates visual interest, and the softer textures found in many cold-season fabrics (wool, cotton, fur, etc.) make for an even cozier feel when placed together.
  • Center your space in a creative way to draw your guests closer together. Use a wreath around a candle arrangement, popuri or catch-all bowl for an eye-catching centerpiece solution. 

Holidays at home

You don’t need to be an expert chef to impress your guests. Our designers curated the perfect items that will make your holidays feel special. Shop our designer-curated assortment. Find more tips and inspiration on the 3-star chef look here

Words by Morgan Hitz