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How to Host an Elegantly Easy Christmas Dinner Party

December 25, 2018 (Last Updated: July 29, 2019)

Hosting an elegant Christmas dinner party doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few shimmering, colorful, delicious and jolly ideas that will impress any Christmas dinner guest.

A cheese plate with herbed cheese, prosciutto - wrapped asparagus, crackers and deviled eggs, garnished with peppercorns and parsley.

This year, I covered my apartment in dry flowers, eucalyptus and naturally aromatic touches to make my Christmas decor bright and inviting. And for my dinner menu, I kept things nice and easy… but that doesn’t mean I served meals with little care.

The appetizers, 3 courses and cocktail were all given plenty of love, but they were all made ahead of time so my dinner party went nice, smooth and easy. No mixing cocktails in the kitchen, no basting, no garnishing was done after guests arrived.

Here are a few ways to make your Christmas dinner party nice and simple this year.

Floral christmas decorations and trees made of yarn on a mantle.

1. Create an Organically Merry Atmosphere with Simple, Natural Touches

If you want to decorate your tree in a colorfully original way, simply create flower ornaments with dry roses and lavender. It’s so easy and looks absolutely gorgeous.

A hand holding a small bouquet of roses and lavender.

A colorful Christmas tree decorated with flowers and dry orange ornaments.

I also created simple, dry orange and star anise ornaments by slicing oranges nice and thin, baking them and needling a little thread through them. They look like little stained glass windows when hung in front of Christmas lights on your tree! All you need are 5 oranges, a container of star anise and a little bit of time.

A dried orange slice with star anise in the center hanging on a christmas tree.

For my mantle, I used Eucalyptus, dry roses and a little baby’s breath “snow.” I also made these simple, soft yarn trees with just a little bit of glue, yarn, pompoms and paper mâché cones that I found at the craft store. They take only a few minutes to make and look so sweet on a mantle or on a Christmas window sill!

A small christmas tree made of yarn on a mantle decorated with dry roses and eucalyptus.

Floral christmas decorations and trees made of yarn on a mantle.

2. Make a Simple, Yuletide Flower Arrangement for Your Table

I always pick a seasonal flower or leaf to place in my napkins, then a matching centerpiece. With a few candles, your table looks so precious. No need for expensive Christmas napkins, placemats, chargers or seasonal dish-ware. It only takes a few natural touches to make a Christmas dinner table so elegant.

A silver vase with a holly and baby's breath bouquet on a dark wooden table.

I used holly and snowy baby’s breath for my centerpiece and napkins this year. It’s easy to create a bouffant arrangement like this in a small vase. Simply make a little grid with masking tape, and place your baby’s breath, then a few holly leaves into the grid. Simple as pie!

A grid made with masking tape on a vase with baby's breath stuck in the grid.

3. Go Light on the Hors d’oeuvres, but Make Them Special

For a small dinner party, there’s no need to go overboard (and break the bank) with lots of appetizers. If you make a nice, filling diner, a little cheese, crackers and 2 or 3 specially made snacks should tide folks over nicely till dinner time.

A closeup of a deviled egg garnished with pink peppercorns and parsley, surrounded by other deviled eggs and asparagus.

I made a little snack plate of herbed Boursin cheese, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and “holly” deviled eggs. I used pink peppercorns for berries and a little parsley for the leaves.

A cheese plate with herbed cheese, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, crackers and deviled eggs, garnished with holly berries and leaves.

I also made the deviled egg filling the day before and simply stored it in a pastry piping bag with the ends sealed. All I had to do was fill my egg-halves and place my pretty pink pepper corn garnish on them about a half-hour before guests arrived.

4. Serve a Dinner, Dessert and Cocktail That Can (Mostly) Be Made Ahead of Time

It can be very tricky and a bit unnerving to have to waft between the living room and kitchen to check on your recipes while your friends are enjoying their cocktails. It’s best to have everything ready to go right in the oven or heated on the stove when your friends arrive.

French onion soup on a table lit with candles, surrounded by glassware and christmas holly decorations.

I made a beautiful French onion soup for the first course that I simply heated on the stove – and when it was time to serve, I just popped some gruyere right on top, broiled them and served.

French onion soup in a bowl next to a napkin with holly tied in the center.

And for the second course, I made these incredibly simple (and delicious) sage and garlic Cornish game hens. I stuffed them with an Anjou pear, mushroom and red onion stuffing that I made the day before, and simply heated up the extra stuffing right before serving.

Cooked garlic & sage Cornish game hens on a plate, garnished with a few sage leaves and baby's breath.

A pyrex baking dish with stuffing on a table with a lace cloth underneath.

For dessert, I made this incredibly smooth and creamy Grand Marnier flan! It’s best when made the day before anyway, so after dinner, all you have to do is flip and serve. It doesn’t take long to make and it looks so dreamy and pretty when topped with a little whipped cream.

A Grand Marnier Custard on a white plate on a black table.

I made this divine spiced currant and sake “Silent Night” cocktail for my party. It’s a perfectly original, and perfectly simple Christmas signature cocktail!

A hand holding a gold-rimmed glass of a dark cocktail.

Christmas presents wrapped with colorful paper and decorated with baby's breath and lavender, tied with simple string under a Christmas tree.

That’s all there is to throwing an elegantly simple Christmas dinner party! A lovely tree, lovely table, lovely appetizers, dinner, cocktails and dessert with a little holly, jolly flair doesn’t have to be tricky. Just keep things simple, colorful and tasty.

For more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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