25 Fun, Festive & Fabulous Ideas to Celebrate the Season

Locals in the know share their FAVORITE TRENDS, TRADITIONS, AND MUST-TRY TIPS to help you make this season spectacular. NO INSTAGRAM FILTER REQUIRED


TRADITION

1
HEAD SOUTH

“One fun thing we do at our house is “Feliz Navidad!” I am from California and my husband is from Texas, and during the holidays we miss good old TEX-MEX because it reminds us of home. I set a colorful table with fruit, candles and “SOUTH OF THE BORDER” plates and linens. I make homemade guac, queso, and margaritas for the adults and tacos with all of the fixings. My family loves the casual vibe, and the departure from the traditional Christmas color scheme and menu.”

CATHERINE TOMPKINS,
OWNER, mylifeinparties.com


TREND

2
GO GLOBAL

“Use travel as inspiration for holiday décor. This year I’m doing my house in deep plums and rich reds, inspired by the MAASAI tribe from a fall trip to TANZANIA. I am weaving elements through beaded napkin rings, feather centerpieces, fringed table runners and throw pillows. Don’t be afraid to mix the exotic with the traditional. It tells a personal story that gets your guests talking.”

SUZANNE EASON,
INTERIOR DESIGNER, plumridgehouse.com


MUST-TRY

3
DRINK UP

“We rented the TIPSEA TRAILER for a Christmas party last December. It absolutely made the party. It arrived right on time, and was beautifully decorated with fresh evergreens and lights. We thought people would pop outside for some fresh air and a cocktail and then head back inside, but instead people congregated outside because the trailer created such a festive and fun vibe.”

ERIKA LUTHY; RENT THE TIPSEA TRAILER FOR YOUR
HOLIDAY EVENT AT tipseatrailer.com


TRADITION

4
TAKE A DIP

“I was raised in Switzerland and love having families over for fondue and raclette. It feels warm and cozy, like we’re in a Swiss chalet. There are so many delicious toppings you can add to the cheese, from paprika to cornichons and pickled onions. A fun way to end the meal is with chocolate fondue…the kids love dipping in pineapple, apples and berries.”

CYNTHIA EVER, PHOTOGRAPHER,
cleverphotos.com


TREND

5
GET A LITTLE RISQUÉ

“We have been getting more and more requests for naughty gingerbread houses. Our motto is ‘business up front, party in the back!’ It’s a really fun showstopper at adult holiday parties. Just prop it against the wall during the day, and the kids will never know what’s in there!”

LISA MARONIAN, OWNER,
sweetlisas.com


MUST-TRY

6
MIX IT UP

“Our holiday version of the MOSCOW MULE is a favorite at OG SOCIAL. Stop in for specials all through December or shake up your own at home. In a shaker, pour .5 oz lime juice and 2 oz of sage vodka. You can make your own sage vodka by combining 24 oz of potato vodka with 1oz of whole sage leaves in a sealed container at room temperature for three days. Shake well, pour into a copper mug with ginger beer and garnish with a cranberry skewer.”

JED SIMON, OWNER,
OG SOCIAL CLUB, ogsocial.com


TRADITION

7
HOP ABOARD

“We never miss a chance to take the kids to the NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN for the HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW. The artistry is incredible and the orchid displays are beautiful. They also do bar-car nights for adults with cocktails, fire pits and live ice sculpture demos.”

KIM SALIB, ARTIST,
kimberlydawn.com; VISIT nybg.org


TREND

8
GET GLOWING

“Holiday makeup this year is all about the glow. Our most popular products are liquid highlighters that have a dewy, luminizing effect over makeup. If you want to go golden, try the Mary-Dew Manizer, or use the Bonnie-Dew Manizer for a champagne shimmer. Dot a bit on your brow bone, the center of your eyelid to really make eyes pop, or your Cupid’s bow for subtle shine that looks pretty at holiday parties.”

JORDANA SHIPMAN,
OWNER, thebalm.com


TRADITION

9
TAKE A BREAK

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t think about Christmas until the day of, but one thing I look forward to all year is our Yankee Swap/White Elephant party. It’s like a Friendsgiving, where a group of us meets between Christmas and New Year’s at the same place every year to celebrate friendship and forget everything for a night. We only have one rule: All gifts must be naughty and inappropriate. We laugh that some of the group’s children have been conceived thanks to the gifts from the Yankee Swap.”

GRAHAM VEYSEY, INTERIOR
DESIGNER AND OWNER, goodbonesdesign.com


MUST-TRY

10
MAKE SCENTS

“I make orange clove pomander balls, which are basically oranges studded with cloves that I arrange as a centerpiece. It looks so pretty and is an easy way to make your own holiday house fragrance. I also love the cider mulling spices from Williams Sonoma. You can use them with cider, which I do a lot around the holidays—I love hot cider made right—and honestly sometimes I just boil it with no intention of drinking it because the house smells so good when I do!”

MELISSA HAWKS, OWNER,
wellappointedhouse.com


TRADITION

11
HOUSE HOP

“Meeting friends for lunch at Elm Street Oyster House, between touring homes on the Greenwich Historical Society’s Antiquarius Holiday House Tour, is one of my favorite traditions. My husband, who wouldn’t miss the House Tour for the world, has the distinct privilege of being the only male present, surrounded by a coterie of vivacious and “no-topic-is-taboo” gal pals. From the best design novelties seen on the house tour, to proffering the must-read books or Netflix of the season, the lively catch-up is a literary and social salon not to be missed.”

ROXANNE VANDERBILT


TREND

12
GIVE STYLISHLY

“Sophisticated stocking stuffers are a popular hostess gift and nice to have on hand if you’re invited to a last-minute party. We help customers curate stockings around a favorite destination like Paris, and slip in items that remind you of the City of Light, such as French soaps, earrings, vintage postcards, our ‘monsieur and madame’ matching glasses, and Sugarfina champagne bears. Popular foodie-themed stockings include olive oil, Belgian chocolate, chic napkins, coasters and a Cafe 47 gift card.”

LISA LORI, OWNER,
theperfectprovenance.com


TRADITION

13
LIGHTEN UP

“Growing up on a Christmas tree farm, my mother always did a small tree in each of our rooms and only put on ornaments that pertained to us. I added to that a little and have let my kids decorate their trees any way they want. Embrace the unexpected elements. I love the idea of a faux pink tree in a girls’ bedroom that you’d never put in the living room. I’ve also been known to put a big inflatable Frosty in the backyard. My kids know I do elegant holiday décor for a living, so throwing in a Home Depot blow-up as a surprise is hilarious.”

MEG CRITCHELL, OWNER,
megcritchellevents.com


MUST-TRY

14
FOCUS ON THE FUN

“For me, having fun during the holidays means freeing up time to spend with my family. I’m all about outsourcing the less enjoyable tasks. Hiring college kids to address holiday cards, string lights, wait in line at the post office and wrap gifts means I get to stay home and bake cookies with my kids and maybe sneak some extra eggnog!”

ANDRA NEWMAN,
COFOUNDER, quadjobs.com


TRADITION

15
HOLD ON

“Our motto is ‘why stop at New Year’s?’ We stretch the holiday season an extra week by celebrating Three Kings’ Day on January 6, which is commonly celebrated in Spain and South America. Following tradition, the kids leave their shoes out overnight, and we fill them with small gifts like chocolates and books; and we do a special ring cake. It gives us a chance to celebrate as a family one last time before the decorations come down.”

SOPHIE BOSCH DE HOOD


MUST-TRY

16
DRINK CREATIVELY

“The Chambong [think champagne shot glass in the shape of, well, a bong] is hilarious and makes any holiday party a lot sillier. They look fun on the table and make a perfect take-home favor for a New Year’s Eve dinner.”

MEREDITH SHAMES


TRADITION

17
SPRITZ IT UP

“Growing up, my mom and our neighbor would block off a day early in December just to make spritz cookies. Each would make the dough ahead of time, and spend the day pressing and decorating them. For a wedding gift, our neighbor gave me my own spritz cookie press so I could continue the tradition. It’s kind of a pain, but if you do it with a friend, it’s so much fun. We drink coffee, chitchat and wrap up extras for friends.”

BROOKE BREMER


MUST-TRY

18
REMEMBER THE FASHION

“I have been hosting events for Joey Wölffer [fashion curator and co-owner of Wölffer Estate Vineyard] for many years, and my favorite ones are always those leading up to the holiday season. Joey arrives in my driveway with her fabulous Styleliner Truck, which is a treasure trove on wheels. Friends love digging through her luxe, modern and vintage designs, including her own line of accessories that reflect her chic, globe-trotting style. Hosting the Styleliner at home makes for a relaxed, festive, social shopping experience. The Wölffer wine doesn’t hurt either!”

MIMI MOULTON


TREND

19
FIND A STAPLE

“I’ve been doing a lot of monochromatic looks in jewel tones and black for the holidays. Combining textures, like lace and leather, and ostrich feathers on silk has an elongating look and is so versatile. My favorite item right now is a fine-silk, all-fringe, cropped jacket in black. You can throw it over anything from an evening gown to jeans. I wore it to a party in the city with a lace embroidered sheer top with wide leg pants.”

KATIE FONG, FASHION DESIGNER
AND OWNER, katiefong.com


MUST-TRY

20
HIT A HIGH NOTE

“All of my holiday parties last year were crazy-fun. The key is to mix in holiday dance songs with a core of fab party songs so it isn’t oversaturated. Here’s a set list that I’m sure I’ll rock this holiday that anyone can download on their iPhone.”

APRIL LARKEN, DJ,
djaprillarken.com

1 Kygo, Miguel – “Remind Me to Forget”
2 Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”
3 Jonas Blue Feat. Dakota – “Fast Car” (Club Mix)
4 The Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
5 Brenda Lee – “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
6 Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”
7 Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa – “One Kiss”
8 Jessie J – “Man with the Bag”
9 Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – “I Like It”
10 The Ronettes – “Frosty the Snowman”
11 Prince – “Erotic City”
12 Jackson 5 – “Up On the House Top”
13 Florence + The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
14 Maroon 5 ft. SZA – “What Lovers Do”
15 Drake – “In My Feelings”
16 Run DMC – “Christmas in Hollis”
17 Mary J. Blige – “Family Affair”
18 Kungs vs Cookin On 3 Burners – “This Girl” (Remix)
19 Chuck Berry – “Run Rudolph Run”
20 50 Cent – “Disco Inferno”


TRADITION

21
SING, SING A SONG

“We started a tradition of gathering friends to sing Christmas carols. My Jewish in-laws, old friends—no matter what denomination or even faith—these are old songs we all know bring us together. Kids get giddy and adults get nostalgic. And the unity of one voice does something to the soul, even when half the room is off- key. Or maybe because they are!”

CLAIRE HAFT, COLUMNIST,
GREENWICH SENTINEL


MUST-TRY

22
TAKE A MINI-TRIP

“I remind clients who host family for the holidays or for other reasons aren’t able to swing the ‘big vacation’ over Christmas and New Year’s that there are great options. Micro-trips are a big thing now, and are so underrated. Forty-eight hours at The White Hart inn in Salisbury, The Troutbeck in Amenia, New York, and Glenmere Mansion in the lower Hudson Valley are enough to give you that holiday getaway feeling without a huge time commitment.”

SUZANNE AARONSON,
OWNER OF TRAVEL ADVISORY SFILES; BOOK THROUGH suzanne@sfiles.com


TRADITION

23
LIGHT IT UP!

“We always make a night out of First Light in Old Greenwich on the first Saturday in December. It never fails to g1et us in the spirit. There’s music, hot cocoa for the kids and wine tasting for the adults, sleigh rides, and other festive activities up and down the main drag. It has that small-town feel that reminds us to slow down, turn off our iPhones, and just enjoy the moment as a family.”

NICOLE ESKANDAR


TRADITION

24
LEND A HAND

“I often find the “thanks” in Thanksgiving can get overshadowed by the “gimmes” of Christmas. Little Wings Foundation, a small nonprofit that I created almost a decade ago, very purposefully hosts a family volunteer day around the holiday season and one other time during the year. It’s an opportunity for us as adults to teach the younger generation what it means to give back, and in the process they can really get involved by packing meals into bags or sorting clothes for those in need. We end up having so much fun in the process, too!”

LINDLEY PLESS, OWNER, PLESS
PRODUCTIONS; FOUNDER,
littlewingsfoundation.org


TREND

25
BRING IN THE BLOOMS

“Alternative color palettes are definitely in for the holidays this year. Navy is an on-trend neutral that dresses up well for seasonal gatherings. Icy whites, some soft greens, and mixed metallics like platinum and bronze, make for an effortlessly cool winter dining table.”

CAITLIN CLONAN, CREATIVE
DIRECTOR, MCARDLE’S
FLORIST & GARDEN CENTER, mcardles.com

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