The Spirit of Holiday Entertaining

With the holiday season upon us, many are planning special celebrations with family and friends.  Opening your home to share with others is one of the great joys of the season.  However, with so much to do this time of year, sometimes big celebrations can create stress. 

When planning your holiday party, it’s important to minimize the stress so that you can truly enjoy your guest.  You don’t want to run yourself ragged and feel frantic rather than fantastic!  When hosting a holiday celebrations, your spirit will set the mood for a successful celebration.

With these thoughts in mind, today I am sharing ideas that I like to keep in mind when I open my home to share with my family and friends. My hope is that these thoughts will allow you to approach your holiday entertaining with joy and avoid some of the stress that can be overwhelming this time of year. 

  1.  Let Go of Perfection  –   Setting yourself up for perfection will do nothing but create anxiety and stress.  Instead of worrying about creating the “perfect party”, concentrate on the comfort of your guest.  When you put the focus on doing for others, you think less about yourself.  Nothing is more welcoming than a hostess who really cares about the comfort of her guest. 
  2. Set Your Priorities  – Remember often less is more.  Plan for what you know you can handle with grace and ease.  Stick with what you know and are comfortable with.  No need to have a multi-course meal.  Plan a few amazing appetizers instead.  Serving buffet style is simpler than a sit down affair.  Keep it casual and fun!
  3.  Make a list and check it twice!  –  Planning is a key ingredient to successful entertaining.  Begin planning your party preparations as soon as possible.  Try making a manageable daily schedule assigning yourself a small task for each day.  Begin with decorations and nonperishable items that are easy to stock and purchase in advance.  Order items on-line whenever possible to save time.  Shop for grocery items a few days in advance and plan to prepare a few items the night before.  Even better, prepare a few dished you can freeze in advance.   
  4. Delegate Whenever Possible  –  Don’t feel like you have to do every little thing on your own.  Enlist a good friend or your spouse to help.  Consider ordering desserts from a bakery or appetizers from your grocer.  Do not feel like you have to prepare all food items from scratch!
  5. Plan a Beverage Station  –  Consider serving a premixed beverage for your guest like a Sangria or Champagne Punch.  Have these drinks in containers in the frig and ready to go.  Set out glasses and and ice bucket in a convenient location and have guest serve themselves.
  6. Be Ready!  –  Prepare the table and all the decorations the night before.  You can even do fresh flower arrangements a day or two in advance.  Nothing says “Welcome to my home” like having simple fresh flowers and candles burning filling your home with delightful aromas.
  7. Make a time schedule  –  The day of the party, make a time schedule for whatever tasks need to be completed.  Make sure in your schedule you allow yourself some time to relax and refresh!
  8. Relax and Enjoy!  –  Greet your guest with a smile and a hug!  Remember to put the focus on their comfort and enjoy!

True hospitality consists of giving the best of

yourself to your guest.  

–    Eleanor Roosevelt

Wishing you all great joy this holiday season!   –  xxoo Gerri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Countdown to Cozy

While many places in the world are bracing for winter’s chill, in Texas we are just beginning to see subtle changes that some might call fall!  With the recent time change,  darkness descends upon us by six o’clock.  The recent cool front as encouraged my sweet husband to light a fire to take the chill off the house.  With soft, jazz playing in the background the atmosphere is definitely cozy.  The cooler temperatures have inspired me to make some homemade vegetable soup.  It has been simmering on the stove all day and the smells wafting from the kitchen are delightful.  As evening approaches I plan to light some scented candles to complete the cozy setting.  

Gray skies and cooler temperatures definitely inspire cozier times at home.  It’s the time of year to enjoy a crackling fire, grab some comfy pillows, a warm blanket and curl up with a great book. Or perhaps you prefer to spend your evenings snuggled up to someone special and watch a favorite movie together.

I’ve always found the cooler, winter season an excellent time to slow down the busy pace of life and recharge my battery.  The darker days encourage me to “just stay home”  and enjoy a cozy atmosphere, and even crawl in bed a little earlier than usual to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation.

I’m sure that come spring I will be anxious to leave the cooler days behind and enjoy soaking up the warmer rays of the summer sun, but for now,  I am content to light candles and curl up in blankets and enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with this time of year.

So Surround Yourself with Pillows and Blankets and Enjoy the Cozy Days Ahead!

Stay Warm and Cozy – xxoo Gerri

 

A hygge state of mind

It’s a dreary winter day complete with a dense fog that has set in and plans to stay awhile.  So how about seizing the moment with a roaring fire and lighting some delightfully scented candles to enjoy the day.

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Apparently this is a concept that the Danish have mastered. They refer to it as hygge, pronounced hue-gah, which translates to cozy,  although it really means so much more.

Even though there have been several books written on the subject,  I only learned about the Danish word hygge recently.  Apparently, Oxford Dictionaries selected “hygge” as one of their Words of the Year for 2016.  I suppose that is why “hygge” is getting so much attention lately.

You see the Danish have incredibly long, cold winters with very few hours of sunlight. However, they embrace their winters by taking pleasure in ordinary everyday things, like a crackling fire, scented candles and cozy blankets with warm socks.  If I had to endure long, cold winters I’m sure I would be craving these things as well!

 

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From what I’ve come to understand, hygge is really a state of mind;  an attitude full of contentment with life. It’s about savoring the moment, relishing simple everyday life experiences, and enjoying time spent with friends and family.  It’s all about embracing the moment and living in the present.

I don’t think you have to be Danish to have hygge in your life.  Life can be hectic and stressful.  It’s important to find ways to step away from the stress and enjoy simple pleasures in your life.  Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy the moment.  This may mean a quiet evening by the fire or it could be spending time reading a good book, listening to music, or pursuing any activity that brings you joy.  It might mean sharing a meal with close family, or using some alone time to soak in a hot bath, or go for a long walk.

Whatever it is that brings peace into your life, I hope you will take some time to embrace the simple pleasures of everyday moments.

Wishing you a very “hyggelig” (enjoyable) day!   xxoo Gerri

 

 

New Beginnings with Pantone ‘s “Greenery”

It is two weeks into the new year and I am excited about new beginnings and the challenges this year will bring!  Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, “Greenery” expresses this feeling perfectly for me.

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“Greenery symbolizes the reconstruction we see with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”  – Leatrice Eiseman

The year 2016 was a challenging and turbulent year for many of us.  In America, we experienced political upheaval and witnessed horrific violence in our cities and around the world. Personally, I suffered a great loss in my life this year and am eager to move on and restore.  I don’t believe that I am alone in yearning for peace and serenity in this new year. If you desire love and good will towards men, the place to begin is your own home.

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After doing a little research on Pantone’s color “Greenery”, I discovered that green, the color of nature, symbolizes growth, harmony and freshness.  Green offers a great healing power and also produces a calming effect.  Green is associated with tranquility and calmness.  Green not only restores depleted energy, but also cultivates a sense of well-being.  Green promotes a love of nature, as well as a love of family, friends, pets, and the home.  Hmmm, I think I could use these things in my life.  In my opinion Pantone couldn’t have chosen a more perfect color for the new year!

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Now I admit, I am not one to want to include a green velvet sofa in my home.  I probably won’t be painting any rooms green either.  However, adding a little “Greenery” in the form of candles, pillows, ceramics, or plants just might what’s needed to freshen a space and give it new life.

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”  – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Wishing you all much joy, peace, and serenity in 2017!   xxoo Gerri

Gratitude for My Home

If nature is my happy place, then home is my sanctuary!

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On Sunday, temperatures dropped to a chilly 37 degrees.  Since we hadn’t turned the heat on in the house, it was a bit cool inside when we first awoke.  Although it turned out to a be a simply gorgeous day with the sun shining bright, we did light the fire to help take the chill  out of the house.  Our first fire of the season.

There is something about having a fire going that makes you just want to relax and stay close.  We kept the fire going all day, not because it was terribly cold outside, but because it was so nice to have the cozy ambiance of the fire going again. We didn’t leave the house at all, except to walk the dogs of course.  That’s an event that can’t be missed or our schnauzer will definitely let us know about it!

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To me, these are the best kind of days.  The weather was cool, but gorgeous. We puttered around the house, I cooked! and my son stopped by for dinner.  It was a great day to shut out the rest of the world and simply enjoy being at home together.

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These kind of days remind me of why my home is so special to me.  I need that break from the real world to relax and spend time with the people who are most important to me. My home is not a place of grandeur with everything in it’s place, although I do try to keep it tidy.  It ‘s a cozy place to gather with family and friends, to share a meal and conversation, and on a chilly day we can gather around the fire.

This week we will be hosting Thanksgiving in our home.  We will be breaking bread with a collection of family and friends, some that we have known forever,  some that we have yet to meet.  It will not be a quiet day, but a day filled with joy and laughter, sharing and relishing the time we have to spend together.

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In a world filled with stress and negativity, I’m grateful to have the sanctuary of my home to retreat to.  It gives me a place to slow down and savor a quiet day with just my husband. On other days we open our home to share with others and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this.

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It’s easy to allow the stress and negativity to take over your life.  However if you stop and pause and allow yourself to embrace gratitude for your blessings, it does help to relieve the stress and anxiety that we all face in our everyday lives.

I’m wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving and hope that you will face the day with gratitude in you hearts!  xxoo Gerri