Nov 4, 2023 - Real Estate

How to host an HGTV-worthy holiday gathering in D.C.

Photo: Courtesy of Mike Radford (Michael Radford Photography)

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

Why it matters: The holidays can bring added stress, and planning is key to easing it (sorry procrastinators).

What they're saying: Skip store-bought decorative arrangements and grab your clippers, says Washington architect and designer Carmel Greer.

  • Unruly branches of evergreens and magnolias from your yard can make a standout tablescape, Greer tells Axios.
  • The celebrated tastemaker uses fruit and antlers to decorate mantels and surfaces for the holidays.
Photo: Courtesy of Carmel Greer

Reader Allison Cunningham, a lobbyist for the American Gas Association, says she loves hosting in her Capitol Hill home. Starting with an empty dishwasher and dividing the to-do list make hosting a breeze, she says.

  • For the tabletop, Cunningham uses seasonal produce like gourds or pumpkins. "Using a pumpkin as a vase for flowers is easy and seasonal — just compost it all when you're done," she says.

Zoom out: 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.

Here's what she says.

🛏 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 for one meal if they're staying an extended period of time.

⏲ 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.


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