Nov 4, 2023 - Real Estate

How to host an HGTV-worthy holiday gathering in Chicago

HGTV's Jasmine Roth sets a festive table.
HGTV's Jasmine Roth sets a festive table. Photo: Courtesy of Mike Radford/Michael Radford Photography

'Tis the season for more people to crowd into your home.

  • Which means you'll be cooking or ordering more meals.

Why it matters: Planning is one big way to soothe the added stress of the holiday season. (Sorry, procrastinators.)

Here are some hosting tips from Axios Chicago readers.

Thrift dinnerware for a more whimsical spread, Uptown host Matthew Loxley tells Axios.

  • "I like serving boudin balls in a set of tarnished silver goblets and using coordinating, patterned side plates rather than matching ones," he says.

Stock guest toiletries. If you're looking to shop locally, Christian McKenzie suggests Black Beauty Collective, a Hyde Park retailer featuring Black-owned products.

Kate Marker, principal designer and owner of Barrington-based Kate Marker Interiors, prioritizes cleaning dishes and cueing up a fun playlist ahead of guests.

  • When expecting overnight guests, she adds flowers to their room and stocks up on their favorite snacks.
  • On decor, she favors scalloped plates, amber-hued glassware, herbs in planters and a burlap table runner.

More pro tips: HGTV's Jasmine Roth designs thoughtful spaces for a living and is no stranger to a themed tablescape, so we asked her how to be a host extraordinaire.

🛏 Be a guest in your own home. If you have a guest room, stay in it for a night before everyone arrives. You might realize you need a phone charger, hooks for towels or a warmer blanket.

📱 Include guests in the plans. Fire up the group chat sooner rather than later to coordinate schedules. Closer to the event, share menu ideas and start a shared grocery list. Guests can add snack requests, or volunteer to take charge of one meal if they're staying an extended period of time.

🌲 Decorate with foliage. You can forage branches from your yard and lay them across the table for a trendy, fuss-free tablescape. Then add cloth napkins and taper candles.

⏲ Cook ahead of time. Pick menu items like make-ahead taquitos or a hearty soup that can easily be warmed in the oven or thrown on the grill so you can enjoy your party. Pre-make a signature cocktail and an easy appetizer that you can set out right before guests arrive.

🖍 Have a kids' activity. You can set up a coloring station at the kids' table, or hand each little one a goody bag. Parents will be relieved, and the kids will be entertained.

🥡 Make to-go boxes. Get some themed Tupperware and pack up leftovers for guests to take home.

harvest themed table settings
A harvest-themed table setting. Photo: Lorielle Sum/Lone Orange Creative, courtesy of Kate Marker Interiors

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