Paige Designs Expert

"A Tale of Two Parties"

Getting together with friends and family is one of the best ways to celebrate the season.
For some, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without an elaborate, multi-course dinner, complete with the good china, the crystal and the champagne. But you can make your guests feel welcome without spending a fortune.
Several local experts offer tips to set the stage for a successful gathering — whether it’s formal or casual.

The experts say:
  • Emailed invitations. Phone calls or in-person invites are also fine.
  • Drinks and appetizers. Mingling is the goal for hosts and guests. Attendees can nibble a variety of dishes as they socialize.

  • Party central. Well-placed decorations define the focal point of your gathering, whether it’s the bar or the kitchen table.

  • Seasonal paper napkins. Even for a casual event, paper napkins printed with seasonal sayings such as “Merry Christmas” or “Cheers!” can add a festive touch.
  • Use what you have! Don’t be afraid to break out the crystal for a casual party, says designer Paige Dick. It makes your guests feel special, and you don’t have to buy plastic.
  • Borrow what you don’t! You may not have a punch bowl, but one of your friends might.

A signature drink or holiday punch can be a great conversation starter. This punch bowl takes center stage along with decorative LED lights, mirrors and sparkling glassware.
“A big part of any holiday décor is fresh garlands. So much of creating that environment is the smell of the holiday.”
— Paige Dick, Paige Designs

For AnyHoliday Party
  • Use lighting to set the mood.
  • Bring in greenery, pine cones and other natural items.
  • Ring in the bling! Add sparkle wherever you can, and don’t be afraid to mix silver and gold.

— Paige Dick
“Use candles or even LED lights. You can get lights in different colors, and arrange them so the lights shine through the greenery.”
— Christin Hilliard, Every Bloomin’ Thing, Cary
“We’re really focusing on canapés this year, these little bite-size things. One bite might be collard greens, cornbread and the cranberry relish. It’s one bite, but it still invokes the sense of the holidays. A decade ago we were doing a lot of family-style sit-down dinners or buffets, but now everyone just wants to chat and catch up.”
— Daniel Whittaker, Green Planet Catering, Cary

An elegantly decorated bar can be the focal point of a cocktail party. While Dick says she prefers a more pared down approach for the rest of the year, the holidays are a great time to amp up the glitter and shine. Garden Supply Co. in Cary provided our elegant wreath and festive evergreen garland.

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