Our newest series, Hosting at Home, is a place for us to share the creative touches we add to our space when hosting in our own homes as well as tips from us as event planners for how to pull off a similar look or type of event at home. These events are not fancy and super pre-planned like the ones you are used to seeing us do but rather casual and impromptu. The content of these particular blog posts is meant to inspire each of you to invite friends over for a last minute BBQ, to pull out dishes you haven’t used in a while, and to find those random accessories that help make your table look unique. Keep it causal! None of this is sponsored … It’s from the heart and straight to you from our very own homes. Enjoy!

Written by: Tami

This edition of Hosting at Home is one I know you will all be able to relate to right now as you are all most likely hosting and attending holiday parties of all kinds. Last year, I had the opportunity to host our annual family Chanukkah party (for one side of our extremely large family) in my home. What I love most about inviting guests over is getting the chance to try out new recipes and making my table and food presentation look “just so”! I usually get inspired by a theme, color scheme, or the menu itself and then the cooking and decorating take on a life of their own, but sometimes it is my space itself or my current decorations (depending on the holiday) that inspire me.

You may remember this gift wrap from last year’s T Side / L Side Holiday Wrapping post. The one thing I love to do most during the holidays is to come up with a look for the gifts that I give, wrap them with care, and see them all together coordinated nicely in the end. I do have a bit of a thing for coordination! I don’t stop there … The rest of my decor needs to match as well, and if I have people over during that time I like to add touches of the look I have created into my plan for that set up too. Some may think this sounds stressful, but for me having it all go together means I only have to think about one way of doing things for all creative aspects of my life that month or during that time of year.

As it was Chanukkah and Shabbat, Phil and I were able to use many of our beloved gifts we were given for our wedding including our new tree shaped menorah and this gorgeous wood and silver leaf challah plate. Silver chargers made our table look fancy, festive, and ready for the holidays.

These handmade pom poms made an appearance in my decor, atop many of the gifts I handed out last holiday season, and made for really cute napkin rings too! Here’s a tip: It’s always fun to think of other ways to use your decor.

As I mentioned, hosting is a great opportunity to try out new recipes. Last year, we were extremely ambitious and used my grandpa’s recipe to make delicious potato latkes. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but we did spend a lot of time peeling potatoes, and I wouldn’t try this at home unless you have a really good food processor (which luckily I do!).

Our little space was packed full once we made the table big enough for all of our guests to sit, so I set our dinner up buffet style on my favorite West Elm cabinet. I had been looking for an excuse to use this dreidel tray and found it was the perfect place to put my homemade latkes accompanied by all our favorite toppings.

One part of the story I have failed to mention so far is that I was also pregnant last year at this time. In an effort to take a little pressure off of myself, I asked all of our guests to contribute a dish to our dinner and each did so graciously … Kale salad, roasted veggies, traditional Moroccan fish, and more! If you are as particular as me, you can be specific with what you want your guests to bring and place them in your own serving dishes once they arrive.

I did, however, get big time into baking last year in my pregnant state and sent each of my guests home with a special treat complete with tags that matched my decor.

When hosting in your home, do what feels most natural to you while trying to push yourself a little each time to think outside the box. Until next time … Happy Holidays and Happy Hosting from Side by Side Design!

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