Holidays in a Hurry

Sssssstill stuck at the office?  Tell me you haven’t had a chance to finish your shopping…let alone even take a moment to get inspired and map out every last detail of your impending holiday get-together…as you had once hoped?
Here are a few simple ways to pull off the HoliDaze in a Hurry!
Make your way to any local Christmas Tree stand (seemingly around every corner?) and pick-up a mini tree to place in a prominent location: next to the front door, the bar cart, on the buffet for major drama.  No need to bother with all sorts of ornaments, choose a few spools of ribbon in colors that work with your home and tie petite bows on a handful of branches.  Why bother yourself tangled lights, broken heirlooms or storage!  (Yea, yea, the fabulous white columned home also adds to the perfection…)
1.  Find yourself a delicious holiday scented candle.  I adore Illume’s Balsam and Cedar.  The holiday scent is a lovely welcome as guests arrive.
2.  Forget stocking the bar…offer a single alcoholic beverage along with some sparking water and lime slices.  I recently made a pitcher of a Cranberry – Pear Bellini that was divine.  I kept the pitcher chilled by keeping it nestled in a large bowl of ice between pours.  (Here, I rimmed my flutes in red sanding sugar.  Dip and spin the rims in lime juice then dab in granulated sugar.  Stay away from green or blue – they stain ladies’ lips!)
3.  No time to work on setting out a variety of hors d’oeuvres?  My go-to quick gourmetish snack is fresh popped popcorn topped with butter, a hint of truffle oil, finely chopped rosemary, cracked pepper,  sea salt, and shavings of parmigiano reggiano.
4.  We all wish we could whip up a fantastic five course meal, clearly this time we need to keep it simple.  I often turn to Ina in times of need.  A one-pot entree such as her weeknight bolognese or easy parmesan risotto are simple crowd pleasers that are surely elegant enough for a holiday or celebration.  Add a salad of mixed greens, stilton crumbles, fresh honeycomb (a recent obsession) and a light  balsamic dressing and this once-daunting meal can be checked off the list!
5.  Think of a few unexpected touches like putting mints in the restroom.  Make sure you take them out of the container and display them in a beautiful petite bowl or salt cellar for an elegant presentation.
6.  Who doesn’t love Oreos!  Display dozens of the crunchy cookies arranged as a tower on a petite cake plate and serve with ice cold milk as a playful, fuss-free alternative to an expected dessert.
7.  Find yourself a wreath that can be used from year to year and hang in the center of a window, framed in a mirror or over a piece of art.  Use command hooks and ribbons to hang.  
Don’t forget the seasonal background music!  I am loving Zooey Deschanel’s album, A Very She & Him Christmas or the always dreamy Michael Bublés’ most recent holiday album, Christmas.
And one additional tip – keep the shopping to a minimum – nearly each of these items can be found at Target for a bit of a one-stop-shop!  

Your festive féte awaits!