Here's How to Make Small-Scale Holiday Gatherings Feel Extra Special

Emma Bazilian
·3-min read

From House Beautiful

Between limitations to restaurant dining, safety concerns, and the fact that we may or may not have taken up cooking as our pandemic hobby, many of us are dining at more at home than ever before. But when it's time to celebrate a holiday or birthday with just the immediate family or close friends, how do you make it feel more special than a typical weeknight meal? We spoke to entertaining guru Kim Seybert, whose eponymous brand is a decorator go-to for truly stunning table accessories, about how you can elevate at-home occasions this holiday season.

Go all-out with a theme.

Photo credit: Kim Seybert
Photo credit: Kim Seybert

Just because you're not hosting guests this year doesn't mean you shouldn't bother with the usual holiday trimmings—the fact that you're spending more time at home is actually a great reason to really go for it. “The best way to keep things festive is to decorate the house, even if it’s just for you and your family," says Seybert. "I like to decorate the front porch for each of these holidays as well as the family room. I’ll also design a table with these themes. It’s so worth the time and effort to create something special to celebrate!"

A properly set table shouldn't be reserved for company, either, Seybert adds. "Setting the table for dinner a great and easy way to get the kids involved. Plus, it’s a nice excuse for the family to gather, have a conversation, and focus on one another for an hour

Don't get stuck in a rut.

Photo credit: Kim Seybert
Photo credit: Kim Seybert

How do you make dinner at home feel less monotonous? “To keep things interesting, I love playing with colors and finding ways to incorporate touches of the season into my designs," says Seybert. Her recipe for the perfect table: Start with a tablecloth in a fun color or interesting texture, pick up some local flowers or produce from the farm stand to create a centerpiece, and then mix in colored tapers. "Another way to keep things from getting stale is by keeping a variety of vases, candle sticks and knickknacks on hand to use depending on the theme, holiday or color of the table. Having a few things on hand to incorporate into the center of the table instantly make a table feel special" she adds.

Have a few go-to schemes at the ready.

Photo credit: kim seybert
Photo credit: kim seybert

While having a few days to plan ahead is always ideal when entertaining, sometimes you need to throw together a last-minute tablescape. Luckily, "you can always elevate a dinner, even if you don’t have a lot of time," says Seybert. Just take stock of your china cabinet and figure out what works together so you always have a backup plan. "One easy way is to always have a few sets of napkins, placemats and napkin rings handy to quickly put on the table. It’s amazing how that simple step really pulls things together. Add a few candles lit down the center of the table and you're good to go!"

Up the luxe factor.

Photo credit: Kim Seybert
Photo credit: Kim Seybert

Expensive wine might not be an option at dinner party for 20, but when you're hosting just a handful of people, you can splurge a little more. "Serving caviar as a starter with a unique wine or champagne always makes an occasion feel extra special," says Seybert. Your time can go farther, too: "Since gatherings are smaller this season, surprise guests by serving their favorite dish."

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.

You Might Also Like