Are you a hostess who struggles with annual anxiety over holiday entertaining? You’re not alone. Often, our goals are too lofty, especially for the amount of time we allow. That’s why we enlisted experts to help get your home ready for the holidays. We asked local designers and creative professionals what to do when time is short and guests are pulling in the driveway. Whether you are having a few family members over or a grand gathering, heed these secrets of the trade for a quick and effective fluff-up.
EXPERT: JJ Keras
Event planner, lifestyle expert to the media and founder of JJ Keras Consulting
Tip 1: Never underestimate the power of lighting at your gathering. Lighting is great for highlighting two or three elements in your home and hiding parts you don’t want your guests to pick up on. Even one element, such as lighting the bar, can have a great impact.
Tip 2: Scatter votives or glass cylinders on your coffee table or mantel for instant ambiance. (An added bonus is that everyone looks radiant in candlelight!)
EXPERT: Dixie Ryall
Manager of Ménage Fine Stationery & Gifts
Tip 1: Holiday candles are a must! Two of our staff favorites for this season are Forest Fir and Winter by Linnea’s Lights … lovely holiday scents get you into the Christmas spirit!
Tip 2: Have an emergency reserve of versatile, useful gifts ready and wrapped for your favorite hostesses. If you have kept your gift drawer well stocked, and suddenly you have guests on the way, all you have to do is simply unwrap one or two of your hostess items for a quick, fun, happy in your home! Everything from stationery, soaps, vases and holiday gift sets make wonderful choices for this dual-purpose shopping approach!
EXPERT: Kevin Coble
Owner of Le Fleur
Tip 1: It’s better to have one great focal point than to have a little bit here and there, especially when you are starting a new collection.
Tip 2: It’s all in the details! Think about having one color scheme that you can carry throughout your home. Having one color scheme or one theme will help you decide what to buy, especially if you are building a collection.
EXPERT: Baylor L. Stovall
Owner of The Stovall Collection
Tip 1: Nothing welcomes guests into your home more than holiday scents! Light a subtle, holiday-scented candle by your front door a few hours before your party, or have a travel candle and cute box of matches in the guest room for overnight guests!
Tip 2: Make overnight guests feel warm and welcome by putting a fresh, new, cozy throw on the chair or on the end of a guest room bed.
Tip 3: Freshen up the powder room with cute new soaps and extra paper linen holiday towels (much nicer than once used and wrinkled linen, and a spirited way to celebrate the holidays!).
EXPERT: Erick New
Co-owner and director of operations at Garden District
Tip 1: Stop by Garden District and pick up a Feu de Bois (burning wood) candle by Diptyque to help create that warm, holiday ambiance.
Tip 2: Need something for that boring mantel? Garden District has preserved boxwood topiaries in all shapes and sizes.
EXPERTS: Stacy McSpadden and Lana Zepponi
Store manager and interior designer, and vice president of interior design, respectively, at Chestnut Hall
Tip 1: Sprinkling Christmas pillows around the house is a great way to stir up instant holiday cheer. Adding a few, or even just one, to a sofa in the family room, a kitchen banquette or a bed will make a big impact when it comes to Christmas spirit. These festive pillows are available at Chestnut Hall and range in price from $38 to $138.
EXPERT: Rhea Crenshaw
Tip 1: Metallic is all the rage this season, and these ready-made metallic pillows are perfect for sprucing up during the holidays. We love the exposed metal zippers that add extra detail.
More metallic shams with the always-popular coral addition! Add some holiday cheer with this color combination that is sure to wow your guests.
Tip 2: Plaids are also a big fall/winter trend and are so handsome in a guest or boy’s room that might need a little fluffing up before holiday guests arrive. By changing out a duvet and adding a pair of new Euros, your spare room will be in tip-top shape.
EXPERT: Kelly Freeland
Your “itty bitty” deserves the best presentation during the holidays, too! Bella Notte Linens from Itty Bitty Bella add soft, sweet luxury to your home. Custom bedding pieces start at $75.
EXPERTS: Tricia Hunt and Lisa Post Lawhead
Co-owner of Millstone Market & Nursery and manager at Millstone, respectively
Tip 1: Rather than deal with the hassle of stringing lights on your home, hang a beautiful wreath, which can be custom made at Millstone Market & Nursery, on your front door. Then shine a spotlight on it for that extra-special, warm welcome.
Tip 2: Camellias, available at Millstone Market & Nursery, will be blooming for the holidays. Plant one in the garden or place on your porch with another spotlight shining on it.
Tip 3: Burn holiday-scented candles such as Evergreen & Embers and Tree Lot, both available at Millstone Market & Nursery, to delight the nose when guests enter your home.
Memphis has many creative professionals who can guide you through the overwhelming task of making your home party-ready. We hope you enjoyed these tips from some of the city’s best!
Overwhelmed by your holiday to-do list? One way we can help: the SB Guide to Memphis has simplified your shopping list by category and neighborhood.