The days are shorter, the holidays are upon us- it’s the Time to be Merry and Bright, right? Unfortunately, with a few days to go…some feel dreary and dull, weary and worn, overwhelmed. Good gatherings, the best parties should be an escape from the daily routine- the ones that take on a Childlike Joy, where the Unexpected, the Amusing and Heartwarming Set the Stage for a departure from Daily Cares. Why bring everyday concerns to a party? Why would you want to mope and cope- when you could take part in light hearted flirting? Or laugh at an outrageous comment delivered with a deadpan look? Or there could be Music or Mingling and Moving about? A good party is a brief Vacation- a departure from the daily cares.
With just a few days to go… here’s a few Merry and Bright Ideas…
- Keep the Food confined to What Folks really want to eat! Fried Chicken beats Caviar any day!
- Guests really do want to know the answer to – ‘What can I bring?’ – let the answer be helpful to the hostess- ‘Bring a couple of bags of Ice’ or ‘Bring your favorite dip or side dish’. Guests really do like to help-
- Why not assign someone the job of collecting coats? Another might stand at the doors with a tray of something to drink. Even glasses of ice water loosen folks up, and start conversation.
- Have guests help unload cars, bring in offerings of food or drink. When you get everyone in on the act- there is a sort of being Merry and Bright that naturally occurs.
A few days ahead, assign someone to plan a short program- ask them to send out a few emails to guests who are natural born leaders or entertainers- that say-
- ‘Tell a funny Christmas story’ ‘Please do a short holiday reading- your choice’. ‘Plan to lead us in a Christmas Carol.’ Believe me, give them a conversation starter or an easy task and most folks will rise to the occasion!
One of my favorite things to do for a party is to add Merry and Bright Party Favors.. maybe a mix of homemade and purchased cookies- Cookies for Santa! With instructions to put them out on Christmas Eve for that Jolly Old Elf- the tags have sweet and goofy messages!
The best parties include guests of all ages. Old folks bring a wealth of wisdom which can easily be turned upside down by an earnest and charming child. Mixing age groups is the best way to ensure the party ends at a reasonable time. Speaking of time…it gets dark early…there’s no reason not to start the party early! Encourage guests to dress in simple, comfortable attire with a festive touch. Red lipstick, a Red ribbon in your hair, a Santa hat, Elf Slippers or Reindeer Antlers guarantee some fun! I know you can do it!
As for home décor- Keep it simple…That old fashion adage- ‘Women who wear black lead colorful lives’ applies… Décor should be as simple as the little Black Dress- with just a touch of color. Here at the Cottage, the color scheme is neutral- Red seems to be a universal way to bring on the festivity- We keep it simple. Two red pillows and big Amaryllis blooms instantly brightened the room! Fresh Poinsettias are an easy inexpensive way to add color too! And a big red bow on a simple evergreen wreath at the door is good looking too.
In fact, Red is a universal color which goes with any décor! Simple décor keeps you sane and guests won’t worry about messing things up or knocking things over. Don’t over-decorate. Keep it Simple. Your guests will bring their own lively shades of color, which is the best way to keep it Easy. Merry. And Bright…
Love y’all, Camellia
*all photographs are obviously mine.