How to host the ultimate holiday soirée
Credit: Erin Sousa

How to host the ultimate holiday soirée

‘Tis the season for entertaining! Decking the halls with a festive feel for your holiday event is a fun part of making special holiday memories.

Click through for my tips for how to create the perfect holiday tablescape (dinner included!)...

Location, location, location
Credit: Erin Sousa

Location, location, location

If you aren’t into hosting your holiday soirée at home (or don’t have the space), look into private dining options, such as the Shangri-La’s private dining rooms at Market by Jean-Georges. While the table, chairs and menu and are included, you're welcome to bring in all of your decor and florals to decorate exactly to your taste.

Deck out the table
Credit: Erin Sousa

Deck out the table

The holidays are the perfect time to break out the good table linens. Laying a neutral linen (I prefer white as a canvas) not only protects your table, but makes the meal feel special. If you don’t own one, look to big-box stores for inexpensive options or just rent one (bonus: you can return it dirty!).

The perfect place setting
Credit: Erin Sousa

The perfect place setting

Just like the linens, the good china and silverware shakes off its dust for festive meals. It’s never too late to start your collectionand these dinner plates and cutlery from The Cross are a perfect place to start. If you’re holding the meal at a restaurant, like Market, you can go with the supplied place settings and glasses.

Lighting matters
Credit: Erin Sousa

Lighting matters

Get a little sparkly and set the mood with your lighting. Keep the lights dim (or off completely!) and eat by candlelight or close to a roaring fire. Lay string lights across your tabletop (look for the battery-operated variety) and, of course, candles are an essential. Putting tea lights in pretty holders (like these ones from The Cross) and incorporating tapered candlesticks to add height, are lovely options.

Don’t forget the wine
Credit: Erin Sousa

Don’t forget the wine

Wine is an important addition to any meal, but especially during the holidays—and making sure you have plenty on hand to offer guests is essential. Many restaurants offer corkage options so you can bring your own bottles, but you should inquire at the time you make your reservation. If you’re eating turkey, serve white wine with the meal; red can be a richer choice that also works with turkey, and it also pairs well with lamb or pork.

For the foodies
Credit: Erin Sousa

For the foodies

The holidays are about breaking bread with loved ones, so why not simplify and forego the cooking and the cleaning? Restaurants like Market offer family-style dining options, available for private dining parties. Go for a classic entrée, such as turkey with foie gras and chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce and sage vin blanc. Or try something non-traditional, like porchetta, roasted apples and grainy mustard. At Market, all family-style dining packages include pumpkin soup to start, and to finish, a decadent eggnog cheesecake with gingerbread crumb.

Festive florals
Credit: Erin Sousa

Festive florals

Greenery and fresh floral (these are by Celsia Floral) is a decadent edition to your decor, and adding it to your table in vases, laying greenery down the length of the table like a garland or even incorporating a sprig into your place setting are all ways to include a fresh festive feel.

Parting gifts
Credit: Erin Sousa

Parting gifts

It’s a nice touch to place a pretty wrapped memento at your guests’ place settingit adds to the decor element of the table and replaces the traditional cracker with something they might actually use. Finding a gift at your seat definitely sets the tone, and having guests open it before the meal is a fun way to kick off your festive meal.

Photographed, styled and produced by Erin Sousa at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver’s Private Dining Rooms at Market by Jean-Georges. Decor items and floral provided by The Cross Decor and Design and Celsia Floral.