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Tips for holiday entertaining: Celebrate the season with ease 

There is nothing like a presentation on holiday entertaining to get you in a festive mood and that is exactly what happened at the Ralph Lauren-inspired seminar today at the Miromar Design Center in Estero.

Designer Kevin Steffanni offered lots of practical tips on entertaining with style and ease. Stress-free with a touch of glam that will make it look as though you have worked for days when in fact you haven't!  Bottom line: Make things special for yourself and share it with others. Use what you love and your guests will love it as well.  Create an experience whether it is for a few people or a huge gathering.

With a gorgeous china cabinet from Ralph Lauren at Webster and Company filled with everything that you need to do the job, the seminar offered these valuable tips that will have you planning a holiday gathering in no time:

  • Send a written invitation (rather than a phone call or email). It is elegant and classy.
  • Plan your table arrangement several days before the event.  Place sticky notes where things go and move them around until you are happy.
  • Use greenery that is in season.  Go to a Christmas tree lot and ask for trimmings. Look in your backyard! Use nature as your backdrop.
  • Make the grocery produce department your main source:  limes, lemons, cranberries, pineapple, oranges, pomegranates. 
  • Prepare what you are most comfortable serving.  Do not try anything new!  Keep it simple.
  • If you are nervous about preparing the food, hire a caterer.
  • My favorite tip:  No red wine.  It does not come out!  Try a signature drink that is your trademark.
  • Serve buffet style with a beautiful display.
  • Make sure the presentation is not flat.  Use items of different heights:  hurricane lamps (place cranberries or coffee beans around the bottom...thank you Martha Stewart!), pineapple, fruits.
  • Serve on cake platters of different heights (find these at tag sales, discount stores).  As someone said today, you can put anything on a cake platter and it looks good!
  • Plates do not have to match.  It is fun to pick up odd dinner plates at flea markets.  Your guests will love it!  Blend old with new.  Expensive with inexpensive.
  • Put silverware in containers for your guests to access easily.  Kevin used antique English biscuit barrels today and they are terrific. I am searching e-bay as we speak!
  • Candles used around food should not be scented.
  • Be sure to have a place for coats and purses.  And let your guests know where to park.  If parking is an issue, hire someone to valet.  The success in the little details!

 Now, go plan a party!


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