Here at Cicada, we love styling clothes, but when it comes to styling our homes, we are clueless! Therefore, for this weeks blog post, we have enlisted Sarah Smythe, the owner of Lagniappe here in Oxford and of the mother store in Greenville, MS. She is giving us (and you!) the lowdown on how she creates the perfect Holiday Home just in time for the most important Entertaining time of the year. And don’t forget to check out the delicious Peppermint-Mocha Prosecco Float recipe from our favorite cocktail maven Melissa Townsend of @deltadrinks (be sure to follow her for continual cocktail inspiration!). Lastly, check out the Spotify link at the end of this post to access Sarah’s favorite Holiday dinner party playlist!
Welcoming guests starts the minute they arrive, and I like for my front porch to be as inviting as my living room!
Christmas in Mississippi allows for some highs and lows in temperatures, so often you are able to create a cozy space for your guests and enjoy being outside. My front porch is the perfect place to cozy up with hot cocoa, cookies, a throw, and some of the season’s best magazines.I love being in my living room year round, but at Christmas I never want to leave! I used real garland on the fireplace and potted paperwhites in the modern muse vases by Jonathan Adler. Fresh cut tulips in tiny clear vases added to the organic look I was going for.
Paperwhite tip: Buy from local nursery in larger pots and divide them into smaller portions so you can have them in more places. Use your own container. It is more unique and blends in better with your home than the store bought ones.
The mantle is anchored with antlers in the center from my brother’s Delta hunts. I whitewashed them and dipped them in gold making them a bit more glamourous, but they still remind me of home during the holidays.For the past several years, I have been placing my Christmas tree in a large footed urn. It is my favorite décor trick of the season and gets the most buzz from my visitors. No tree stand required and way prettier! It also allows you to buy a smaller tree which saves you some money and you can treat yourself for your own present under the tree!
A hostess MUST is a well-stocked bar! I collect vintage glasses from thrift stores and antique shops. I like to display these on my bar cart instead of hiding them behind a cabinet door. I leave all fancy cocktail recipes to my friend Melissa Townsend of @deltadrinks which require a bit more time but are worth all the effort in the end! See photo and recipe below for one of her best Christmas concoctions.
Peppermint-Mocha Prosecco Float
A boozy, fizzy dessert drink from Melissa Townsend’s 12 Cocktails of Christmas @deltadrinks on Instagram.
2 scoops Blue Bell Peppermint Bark ice cream
3/4 ounce Kahlua
3/4 ounce white cream de cocoa
3/4 ounce white cream de menthe
Prosecco, chilled, to top
Drizzle liqueurs over ice cream and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a candy cane. Cheers!
Bar note: Stock your friends booze. It will make them feel more at home, and they can help themselves to their go to drink of choice.
Between work, holiday dinners, and family time, I have to remind myself to slow down. I want to have time for some elaborate spread but most often my schedule doesn’t allow so I keep appetizers really simple with a nice wine, delicious cheese and gourmet crackers. No prep time and not messy which allows me to focus on the main course.When it comes time to set the table, I consider my guests and choose my china accordingly. If they are more casual so is my table setting.
I used Gien Solange china for a more casual yet elegant look. The hand painted deer plates are layered on top of a metal charger, and the napkins have a sprig of evergreen tied with twine.To make this tablescape a bit more dressy, I added a silk ribbon tie and Christmas wreath to the back of each chair. Minimal effort but it significantly added to the overall look of the room. For my more elegant evenings, I love to bring out the fine china and my Annie Glass collection.
I love a lively dinner conversation so placing the wine chiller on the table allows us to keep our seats and not go back and forth to the kitchen.
Mixing china keeps your table interesting. Keep your colors similar and mix away. In this table set for two, I have over five different brands of china, but they all work beautifully together. Mixing is great for when your china collection is incomplete or still growing. Don’t be afraid to try something different each time.Not all Christmas tables are red and green! As a matter of fact, I am not a red person year round so I don’t have much of it in my repertoire. Use what you have for a beautiful table despite the color. I love blue and white and this tablescape feels chinoiserie chic!The flowers were the easiest part and required little arranging. The blue and white china compote incorporated a traditional Christmas flower, the white Amaryllis. I surrounded the base of the amaryllis with white cast pomegranate vases that held a single tulip stem. Each glass hibiscus vase held a single type of flower in my colors. I used blue delphinium and white lilies. The house smelled divine!
Flower Tip: Pull the red stamen off of the lilies as they open up. It is prettier without them and the dust of red stamen will stain anything it touches, so I pull them out ASAP!
Setting this table felt like a fairytale. Anna Weatherly scalloped chargers in vibrant hues were the perfect base for the Herend Queen Victoria plates and like any good hostess, I know my limits. I outsourced the delicious and delicate macaroons to The Cakery. The colors were a perfect match for the plates and the perfect treat. In this case, we had dessert first!Each place setting had a glitter frosted house that I have collected over the years.
Starting a collection is the best way to pull off a gorgeous tablescape. Glasses, china, linens, and unique décor will up your game when it comes to setting the perfect table.
P.S. Every party must have some music! Here is our favorite playlist to top off your holiday dinner party: