After a crazy pre-holiday season, it’s a Room at the Beach tradition to gather our store “family” and celebrate another successful year. Each year I try to do something different and interesting to thank everyone for their hard work, and incorporating traditions from other countries is an easy way to give a holiday party a new twist. Even if you don’t have a store or business, the upcoming holidays are a great excuse to gather friends and family. There’s so much talk about back-to-basics, but I believe putting just a little extra thought into entertaining helps show your loved ones how much you appreciate them.
A great idea is to create an environment that encompasses the decor and the food of another country like India, Greece or Mexico. Many cultures embrace holidays in exciting and colorful ways. Going with an international theme makes the preparations fun too – find an ethnic market close to you to discover new spices and ways to prepare food. Many of the shop owners are happy to share their secrets with you if you just ask.
Last year, I threw an India-inspired holiday party, and it was a huge success. Make it easy by buying some ready-made dishes to complement the food you make yourself. To decorate, accent the dining area by wrapping a chandelier with colorful silk fabric, then drape the panels down the center of the table. Inexpensive bangles work as napkin rings on brightly colored napkins, and everyone can take them home as a small gift. Download some music from India to really set the mood and round out the evening by watching a Bollywood movie.
For New Year’s Eve, I’m inspired by a Halloween costume party some friends host every year. We all have so much fun dressing up, so I figured why not expand costume festivities to New Year’s Eve? This year, my party will be black tie with a nod to the roaring ’20s. The food will have the classic touches of the 1920s and for dessert we’re jetting into the 2020s!
I got the idea from the movie “Midnight in Paris,” and I plan to set up my living room to look like the salon of Gertrude Stein which was filled to the brim with famous paintings. To replicate the look, I’m making copies of famous Picasso paintings, and Gershwin will be playing in the background. Who knows who may show up? Personally, I’m hoping Ernest Hemingway will make an appearance!
Thinking about favorite movies is a great way to get ideas rolling. For a casual party, think “Rocky,” sweats and beer! Or be current and do a James Bond “Skyfall” party with a mix of “Diamonds are Forever.”
My friends and extended family mean so much to me and I love celebrating the season with them. Celebrate your special friendships this holiday season and let your ideas and imagination take center stage. The food and decorations will unfold from there.
Photo credit: iStock Photography