Invite your favourite hosts into your home, and let Debbie Travis, Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman and Savoir Faire host Nik Manojlovich make this holiday season one to remember. From great kid-friendly activities and party planning tips to entertaining techniques, there’s something for everyone.
Festive Decor is a Family Affair With Debbie Travis
According to Debbie Travis, host of Debbie Travis’ Facelift, holiday decorating should include the whole family. Travis offers two suggestions to get everyone involved with fun, festive décor.
· Let the kids help set the scene for a dramatic Christmas party with an idea that’s both playful and sophisticated. Rent a helium canister from a balloon or party store, purchase several bags of shimmery, pearly white balloons and silver 1/4-inch ribbon. The kids will have fun blowing up the balloons, while you cut 2-3 foot lengths of ribbon. Tie the ribbon to the balloons and let them float to the ceiling, with the end of the ribbons falling just above the head of the tallest guest. The balloons take on a life of their own, swaying and dancing along the ceiling in the candlelight.
· Start an annual tradition of making tree ornaments. This project is sure to be a hit with parents and kids alike. Buy plain Styrofoam balls, white downy feathers, glue, string and pins at a craft store. Pin a loop of string onto each Styrofoam ball and dump all the feathers into an empty shoebox. Now comes the fun part – cover each ball with white glue, then dip and roll the balls through the feathers. Travis admits that you will have feathers everywhere, but more important, you will also have a room filled with laughter.
Debbie Travis’ Facelift combines reality television with innovative design, as Travis conspires with spouses, colleagues and family members to renovate and redecorate the spaces of unsuspecting, absent homeowners.
Tips for a Seasonal Soirée from Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman
Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman, hosts of Design Rivals on HGTV, like to ring in the holiday season in high style — complete with decadent catering and valet parking. But for a swanky soirée that won’t blow the budget, the Steven and Chirs share these ideas that will make your event memorable.
· Make a great first impression. Find a book on calligraphy, or even a Web site devoted to beautiful script work, and try handwriting an invitation. Practice makes perfect! Take this idea one step further, and glue the invites onto champagne bottles (or a bottle of homemade wine) and hand-deliver them to your chosen guests.
· Design signature cocktails. If you are wondering what’s hot on the bar scene, round up a few friends for a night of "research" on the town. Or brush up on your bartending skills with a book on mixing decadent drinks. Create colour-themed cocktails to complement your party’s décor scheme, or experiment with different concoctions and name them after the personalities of your guests. Hot mulled cider is always a welcome addition to your drink offerings — and it makes your home smell wonderful!
· Nothing says "festive" like flowers. Don’t restrict yourself to the dining room centrepiece. Flowers should be everywhere — even in the most unexpected places, such as the powder room. Try small clusters arranged on windowsills, mantelpieces and on each step up the staircase.
· Document the night. This is the time to pull out the digital camera you received last Christmas. Take candid photos of your guests having a wonderful time, and send your friends digital copies. Gather your friends together for a group shot — this will make a charming and personal holiday greeting card — or better still, use the festive photo as your invitation for next year’s soirée!
Celebrate the Joy of Giving with a Little Savoir Faire
Nik Manojlovich celebrates the holiday season with the spirit of giving. Manojlovich offers simple, heartfelt ideas that are bound to put everybody in the holiday spirit.
If the seasonal spirit inspires you to do something a little sneaky, Manojlovich suggests adding a surprise decorative touch to a friend or family member’s home. While they are out running holiday errands, hang a fresh wreath on their front door, or decorate outdoor planter boxes and urns with evergreen boughs, curly willow or crimson dogwood branches.
After working independently to share the seasonal spirit, a festive project with family and friends is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and spread some holiday cheer. Manojlovich offers the following suggestions for fun, informal gatherings.
· Host a holiday cookie party. Ask guests to bring a recipe and ingredients for several dozen of their favourite types of cookies. Trade cookies with the other guests and package an assortment into a decorative tin as a gift for a friend with a sweet tooth.
· Invite friends over to create handmade greeting cards. Visit an art supply or craft shop and stock up on unusual papers, ribbons, coloured and metallic pens and pencils and use your imagination to create your own interpretation of a winter wonderland.
· Remember those who are less fortunate over the holidays. Reconnect with the true spirit of the season and invite your party guests to bring non-perishables to donate to your local food bank. Women’s and homeless shelters will benefit from a clothing drive, while nursing homes will appreciate a gift of books.