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Portland Design Build Remodeling Blog

4 Tips for Holiday Entertaining in Portland

The arrival of the holiday season often ushers in fun holiday festivities. Here are 4 tips for holiday entertaining in Portland that can make your holiday parties fun, festive, and memorable.

1. Create Your Own Cookie Party

Everybody loves the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Why not invite friends and neighbors over for an afternoon or evening and allow them to create their own holiday cookies in your kitchen. You can prepare a variety of cookie dough options ahead of time. [Link to cookie recipes?] Then provide guests with a variety of icings, sprinkles, cinnamon hearts, and chocolate chips so that each person can decorate their batch of cookies. Naturally, Pinterest has some great images that you can use as inspiration. Then while the cookies are baking you and your guests can enjoy hot cocoa, spiced apple cider, or even hot German Glüwein (here’s a recipe).

2. Come As Your Favorite Christmas Character

We generally think of Halloween as the holiday for dressing up as a favorite character. And according to Investopedia.com, Americans spend roughly $9 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations. People enjoy dressing up! But why limit the fun to Halloween. You can host a holiday event with a bit of a twist: Invite guests to come dressed as their favorite Christmas Character. You can expect to see anything from Santa to Dickens characters (Scrooge, or Tiny Tim), to wise men, or one of the characters from A Christmas Story or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Here’s a look at some of the options you might consider.

3. Holiday Décor

Decorating your Portland home for the holiday season can add to your enjoyment of holiday entertaining. Here are a few ideas for creating a festive feeling in your home that enhances the atmosphere—whether you’re entertaining or just relaxing with the family.

  • Keep Things Simple: There’s a tendency to go overboard with decorations. That can lead to a cluttered look and feel. You don’t have to put out every holiday decoration every year. Try rotating some of your holiday pieces. Not only does that keep clutter down, but it also allows special pieces (such as family heirlooms) to get the attention they deserve.
  • Think Thematically: Try tying things together with a theme. It could be a color theme (greens and reds or silver and gold). Or the emphasis could be on candles or special lighting. Another option is to have different themes for different rooms, such as candles in the kitchen and dining area and family keepsakes in the family room.
  • Take Away Before You Add: Another way to avoid clutter or overcrowding is to move some existing decorations out before you bring holiday decorations in. And if you’re going to have more people (guests) in your house than normal, you may even want to move out a few pieces of furniture so that there is more room for standing or temporary seating.

4. Focus on Holiday-themed Foods

The holidays are a great time to try out foods (especially desserts!) that are identified with the season. For instance, we may sing the line from We Wish You a Merry Christmas, “Bring us a figgy pudding, and a cup of good cheer . . .” without ever having tasted an actual figgy pudding. You can surprise your guest with this actual recipe (from allrecipes.com) for figgy pudding—a dense, moist cake reminiscent of the Victorian dessert, that is served warm with whipped cream flavored with liqueur. Of course, your holiday desserts aren’t limited to pudding. Good Housekeeping offers up recipes for 50 Beyond Delicious Christmas Desserts that include

  • Decorative Gingerbread Cake
  • Toffee Pudding
  • Eggnog Mouse Snowmen
  • Baked Pears with Cinnamon and Currants
  • Wreath Cake

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