Nov 4, 2023 - Real Estate

How to host an HGTV-worthy holiday gathering in the Twin Cities

a woman sets a festive dinner 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 Twin Cities readers.

A casual brunch bar offers "precious time together," says Nancy Lindgren.

  • Lindgren β€” whose kids spend Thanksgiving dinner with in-laws β€” says guests still get hungry again for turkey dinner late in the day.

Invite people over to help prep food the day before, suggest Mark and Laura Daly.

  • The Dalys, who've hosted extended-family Thanksgiving dinners for more than 30 years, say: "The preparation is nearly as much fun as the actual holiday, and it allows us to enjoy each other's company, instead of running around the kitchen all day like a turkey with its head cut off."

More tips, from a pro: HGTV designer Jasmine Roth is no stranger to a themed tablescape, so we asked her how to be a host extraordinaire.

πŸ› 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.

πŸ“± 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.

πŸ– 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.

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

citrus themed holiday fireplace
Citrus-themed holiday design by Martha O'Hara Interiors. Photo: Troy Thies Photography

Between the lines: We also asked Kate O'Hara of Minneapolis-based Martha O'Hara Interiors how she prepares for guests. Here's what the firm's CEO tells Axios.

🎨 Choose a theme. It can help you stay focused on a particular color and style for the year, guiding what you pull out from storage or buy.

🧹 Take something away for everything you add. If you're styling your bookshelves, mantel or even adding sofa pillows, the space shouldn't feel more cluttered. It should have as many elements as when you began.

🎊 Lay a custom rug or runner in your entryway or kitchen. These can be one more way to change the mood of a space and bring the holidays to life.


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