November 08, 2021
We’ve been saying for months that the holidays are just around the corner, and now everything we love about this joyous time of year is within view! At partager la joie we like to look at the holidays as a single festive season unto themselves—from Thanksgiving prep through New Year’s Day. This is why we’ve decided to create a special holiday blog this year—a new perspective to minimize your stress as you revel in the joy of giving thanks, gathering, and celebrating together during this magical season.
As you’re planning out your festive season, keep stress in check by prioritizing what makes you and your family truly happy and relaxed when you spend time together. The rest, however fun, fancy, or glittery, might not be so important. Holiday time should focus on joy and time spent with loved ones. And let’s face it—our perspectives have evolved over the challenges and learning opportunities of the last two years. What’s really important about holiday time isn’t what we do, but who we do it with. The true beauty of the holidays lies in the connections and love we celebrate together.
That being said, keeping an eye on the big picture doesn’t keep us from sharing how we delight in the details. At partager la joie we get excited by the planning, arrangement, and anticipation. We love how a warm, welcoming, well-designed holiday decor helps us create holiday cheer and memories—baking and preparing holiday meals, sending cards, and picking out just the right gift. These are the living family traditions we look forward to each year.
Spark your holiday joy through extra care for your well-being, keeping yourself both energized and rested during this festive time. In addition to those special splurges—which we all love and need—eat nutritious meals and healthy snacks, exercise, and be mindful of getting enough sleep and taking a few wellness moments to check in with yourself.
A season to give thanks
We look at Thanksgiving as the joyous gateway into the holiday season. Sure, it can be a lot of work, but just ask friends what their favorite holiday is—in our experience, the overwhelming response is Thanksgiving!
At partager la joie, we’re forever in love with Thanksgiving for the way it gives us occasion to pause, gather and reconnect with family and friends, and relish time together over a much-anticipated meal. It’s a moment where we can express our gratitude by giving the gift of ourselves.
Look at it as a celebration to set the tone for the rest of your festive season—make midwinter sparkle no matter your beliefs and which holidays you observe. It's a time to come together and express love and hope while making joyous memories we’ll hold dear in our hearts for years to come.
Make Hosting during the Holidays a Joyful Experience
This is the part where you’re thinking, really?
Now, hosting any gathering involves organization and planning, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been doing it for years. And let’s be honest: planning and hosting an elaborate gathering can be overwhelming! At partager la joie, we’re here to tell you there’s another way. Our mantra is, “It’s all about the joy,” and our goal is to provide inspiration and show you an approach that will transform both the planning process and these special days into joyful experiences for you as the host—and of course, all those who gather around you to share that joy.
First and foremost, relax, envision your gathering, and then implement your design plan. Remember, elegance can be simple, and it's not about perfection—it's about gathering with those you love and celebrating the bounty of that connection. If you’re happy as a host, everyone will naturally share and bask in that feeling. The key to keeping your own stress low and enjoyment high during the event is to take the time beforehand to plan the details.
Just as important—enlist help if you need it. I’ll let you in on a secret: I dislike peeling potatoes (I know—so silly). I’d rather be doing just about anything else. So for Thanksgiving, I get my mashed potatoes and pureed sweet potatoes ready-made from a local market. I’ve let go of the idea of doing everything myself and embraced strategic outsourcing as a holiday survival strategy and you can too!
Sharing the responsibilities and the creative organizational fun with those around you is another way of sharing joy—a food prep day or flower arranging/table design session in advance of the special occassion can be as memorable a way to gather loved ones together as the feast itself.
Hosting is All in the Details—and Here’s How We Do It!
Brainstorm a big-picture game plan
Make some notes on how you’d like your gathering to look and feel, whether it is one dinner or a weekend with guests, and then create a timeline for how you’d like it to unfold. Make a mood board if that helps get your organizational creativity flowing! Who is coming? How would you like your table to look? What will your menu be? Is there a theme you’d like to weave through the elements of this gathering? How would you like the gathering to progress? Outlining an overview before you make detailed plans helps you create a gathering that will suit your personal style.
Plan the details
Think about the last time you attended a gathering that you really enjoyed. What made it so great? A welcoming vibe, making connections, spending time with family and friends? You also may remember a delicious meal, a fantastic cocktail, a beautifully set table, exquisite flowers, and a warm and inviting home. While some of these elements may have fallen into place spontaneously, more than likely there was careful attention to detail behind it all.
This part may feel a little tedious, but if you work through the planning process and pay attention to detail ahead of time, it soon becomes second nature. Once design planning is in place, hosting is as simple as putting your best foot forward and welcoming the spontaneity of shared enjoyment with your guests.
Divide your plan into sections
Block out your event into spatial sections (living space, dining area, guest room, outdoor space, etc.) and time segments for a clear overview of how your gathering will unfold. If you will be hosting overnight, consider breakfast, brunch, and any indoor or outdoor activities you think your group will enjoy.
Get nitty-gritty with the logistics
Here’s where you take a deep-dive into the details of shopping lists, food prep, cooking, and serving for maximum enjoyment on the day itself. Consider your guest list: are there any special dietary needs or restrictions to keep in mind? When will you shop? What can you make or prep ahead, and when will you set the table? What are your seating solutions and layout for the number of guests you’ve invited? List table setting items and serving dishes you’ll need and brainstorm table design and flowers.
Outline how your meal will progress: courses, buffet, plated dinner, or family style? Will you begin with hors d'oeuvres or an apéro? Are you serving soup or another sort of entrée? Will dessert, coffee, and digestives happen at the table or later in front of the fire? (Pro tip—start out with a holiday craft cocktail like our Cranberry Prosecco or an Aperol Spritz! Simply prepare a festive tray, fill your stem glasses, and greet loved ones with a bubbly welcome toast.)
Answering all these questions ahead of time will help you devise a detailed plan that’s tailor-made to fit your entertaining style and minimize any holiday stress.
Overnight guests? No worries…
We’ll show you how to create a welcoming and memorable guest experience. Making your guests feel comfortable is essential to successful hosting. Now, the reality of any well-lived home is that guest space is often multi-purpose space, but keep in mind that if your guest room is organized and ready to accommodate ahead of time, that’s less stress for you to juggle while you’re entertaining.
Create a cozy, welcoming, and restful space your guests can easily make their own. Set the tone with fresh linens, an extra blanket, a small votive of flowers on the nightstand, a pitcher of water, and a drinking glass. Prepare a basket with the necessary essentials for a pleasant, pampered stay, including extra towels and individual-sized toiletries. Small, personalized touches like a welcome gift or curated reading material can go a long way toward making your guest feel welcome and loved.
Look to our holiday epicure for ideas when planning your menu for overnight or multi-day stays.
We’ve gathered both tried-and-true and new faves for your holiday menu planning. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for festive showstoppers, table-brightening sides, brunch comfort, or seasonal sips and sweets.
Overnight French Toast with Pears
Belgian Waffles with Cream
Leek and Mushroom Quiche
Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
Baked Brie with Cranberries
Brussel Sprout, Kale, and Apple Salad
Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Traditional Christmas Punch
Pumpkin Pie Squares
Style a Holiday Home
Smart holiday design
When setting a festive table we like to layer decor elements and update as needed through the festive season to take us from Thanksgiving right through the New Year. If you keep your design neutral and simple from the beginning, this process unfolds effortlessly. Start with a simple, neutral color palette and add layers of texture and color with various tableware and natural elements. We love to mix crisp Belgian linens with olive wood serving boards or woven table accents. Decide whether you’ll be serving on a sideboard or the table itself, and leave room accordingly. Keep arrangements simple and low-profile so that all your guests can see each other when gathered around the table.
Add a touch of fall color at first and use fresh greens, wheat bundles, and pumpkins or gourds in your color palette to add some harvest home to your Thanksgiving table. Then edit out autumn and slip right into December by incorporating some potted winter bulbs, paperwhites, fragrant evergreens, and birch or pepperberry branches.
Make Arrangements Merry
Use a wreath for your centerpiece or create table runners with winter branches like pine, juniper, magnolia, olive, birch, live oak, and holly. Echo these arrangements in garlands around doorways and adorn them with simple holiday ornaments—strings of clear bulbs, or silver keepsakes. Accent them with pinecones and neutral woven ribbons for a classic, understated look that you’ll enjoy right into January. Add ambiance with earthy scented candles.Get creative with your garnish— a turkey or roast can be wreathed in dark greens and finished with cranberries, grapes, dried fruits, and other natural, seasonal elements.
Use a charger plate to anchor your place settings so that each guest’s dinner plate has a set spot at the table. If your group is large, think about making place-cards of some sort: a handwritten card with a seasonal sprig, a small gift, or a personalized cookie for each guest.
Create some winter serenity in your home
Where do you love to gather at this time of year? Keep a basket of warm, luxurious throws in your family living space and another of cozy slippers or woven socks by your entry door. Don’t forget about your outdoor spaces! Fill outdoor urns with tiny pines or cypress trees. Use candles, lamps, and simple strings of lights to add both light and cheer, but don’t go overboard: nothing can compete with a breathtakingly clear winter sky.
Pretty Little Things
It’s gifting season! We’re so excited to share our holiday finds with you. We’ve got your festive season travel plans covered in comfort with our organic cotton travel collection, and we’re well-stocked with cozy loungewear and chic new accessories. Our beautiful accents for your gathering table are in our timeless home collection—and classic favorites for your hosting needs all year round. Browse our wellness essentials for something to lavish on your loved ones—or yourself—and if you’re looking for a touch of personalized curation, let us customize a beautiful wool pouch of your choice with wellness products from our collection. Shop here for that perfectly thoughtful present.
Moments to Remember
We’ve put a lot of emphasis so far on the big festive meals we all look forward to. Now let’s bring on the holiday cheer by planning other seasonal activities that bring people together.
Host a holiday baking day
Don some aprons, sip some eggnog, put on your holiday playlist, and connect through the art of baking. This is one of our favorite holiday traditions: every funny story we share, recipe we try, and cookie we decorate (or nibble!) becomes part of our holiday memories. Turkey-shaped sugar cookies are a great way to get your Thanksgiving game on and warm up for all of the holiday cookie possibilities December offers!*link holiday cookies Host a gingerbread house design contest, or invite friends to contribute their favorite holiday cookie recipe to an afternoon cookie swap. A decorative tin of assorted home baked holiday cookies is one special way to brighten the season for friends and neighbors.
Trim the tree
Make a family expedition of getting your Christmas tree, whether that means hiking into the woods to cut one down, going to the nursery or tree farm to buy a potted or pre-cut tree, or even a foray into the attic to bring the eco-friendly tree out of storage! Then spend an evening decking it out. (Obviously, this is another excuse for eggnog and your holiday playlist!) Bring out your favorite sentimental ornaments and get crafty to make some new ones together, as mementos for this joyous moment.
Meet for a night market
Have you ever visited a European city during the holiday season? The Christmas markets are an unforgettable tradition—a place to sip a hot beverage and support local artisans by buying handmade gifts. Meet with friends for an evening outing, or if there’s no holiday market nearby, take advantage of your outdoor fireplace and heaters to host your own holiday market-style gathering over steaming cups of mulled wine or Christmas punch, holiday music, roasted chestnuts and other warming snacks, and an abundance of good cheer. Children can participate too; plan a craft day where they make homemade ornaments, gifts, or snacks and that they can sell, trade, or give from makeshift market “stalls” in the garden!
Take it outside
It’s the time of year when we tend to want to burrow into our blankets, but outdoor activities with family and friends help everyone stay healthier, more cheerful, and more energized. Plan a sledding or ski day, a walk in the woods, even a picnic (with plenty of soup and hot drinks in thermoses) if weather permits. Celebrate Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, by reconnecting with nature. The best part about getting out in brisk weather? Bringing all those rosy cheeks inside and getting cozy afterward, over cocoa and boardgames or a movie!
A little “me” time
Taking good care of yourself during the holiday season is as essential as watching out for those around you who might need a little extra TLC. Keeping a healthy balance is all about eating well despite the occasional indulgences, getting good sleep and exercise, and setting aside some time for yourself. If you’re feeling tired or stressed, give yourself permission to check out for an hour or two. Read, catch up on a show you like, or take a nap or a hot bath. Practice yoga to focus on your mind and body, and take a brisk walk to boost your energy.
It’s Time for a Toast
However you choose to celebrate the turning of the year, it’s a moment to reflect on regeneration and resolutions, on what we want to keep, going forward, and what we want to let go as we begin a new chapter in 2022. Take the time throughout the festive season to journal on these themes; your notes will guide you in the coming year. This season is a moment to take stock of what we’re grateful for. It’s a moment to share our hopes and wishes for the future, and above all, express our love for those who give us joy.
Happy Holidays 🤍
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