Last Minute Decorating and Hosting Tips for the Holiday Season!

Host a Fabulous Party in a Short Amount of Time
Posted: December 22, 2016 by Laura Quinn

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far!  As the big day draws closer and closer, I thought I would share with you some quick last minute tips on how to make your house look festive for the holidays (without breaking the bank), and hosting tips for a quick and easy impromptu get together with friends.

I recently just hosted my friends annual Secret Santa Holiday Party.  Although my house is on the smaller side, it’s great to fill it with friends around the holidays to give it that added cozy feeling.  This year for the holidays I used mainly paper décor to add a more playful, less serious Christmas vibe.  I purchased strands of paper ornaments, and banners as well as paper snowmen and a Santa Claus from Target. I also supplied paper props for photos to use and post to social media. If you are super artistic and have some extra time, I would recommend making your own paper décor!  There are tons of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest that are simple and absolutely adorable. 


Also, this year I found tons of goodies from Goodwill.  Not everyone is a thrift store junkie like me, but if you love taking strolls down memory lane looking at all the old trinkets, I highly recommending finding actual vintage décor at your local Goodwill.  I found some great vintage ornaments, glasses, and plate sets!  My favorite find was both sets of the Santa nesting dolls! 



As far as the exterior of your home, a quick, easy, not super physically demanding decoration is a bow. That’s right… just a bow can add a real festive vibe to your home!  Tie them on all your exterior lights and turn them on every night!  Pretty simple, right?  I purchased my bows at Hobby Lobby and they were 50% off!   I like to go a little more out for decorating my home, but honestly the bows are the stars.  I decided to hang wreaths from all my windows this year, and add the simple window candles inside.  I also hung the main wreath on the front door to stand out and be the main focal point.  For Christmas lights, I prefer the old fashion c-9 bulbs from Christmas Vacation.  They were simple to put up, I used gutter clips that snapped into place, and only two strands of lights.  Last but not least I found the cutest sign to again place emphasis on the front door with the main wreath. 


With my home looking festive, it was time to create some awesome appetizers for my friends.  This year I chose dishes to prep and make ahead of time so I could enjoy myself with my friends and not be stuck in the kitchen.  The first appetizer I prepared was a simple cheese ball.  I substituted the cream cheese with Neufchatel cheese to cut back on the calories, but not lose the flavor.  I also prepared bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  These bad boys were a major hit and simple to make and prepare way ahead of time.  Finally, the last two appetizers were a veggie platter, and shrimp cocktail, which I purchased ready to go from the grocer. 

While my friends arrived, we snacked on the appetizers and played some great games.  One of our all-time favorite games is “Heads Up” which we all have on our phones.  We played the holiday version to get us even more in the spirit of Christmas.  While we played I literally had the turkey baking in the oven.  All the sides I made were prepared way beforehand and in warmers until it was time to eat.  It’s all about the prep work when hosting.  By preparing easy dishes ahead of time, all that was left was to make sure the turkey was done. I chose to bake turkey tenderloins to also cut back on the baking time. 




So overall, the party was a success.  I hope I was able to inspire you host your own holiday party and decorate your home to the fullest this season.  If not this year, there’s always next year! Thanks for reading! 


Appetizer Recipes below: 

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts INGREDIENTS: 1 (8 ounce) cans water chestnuts, drained 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup brown sugar 8 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise  


  1. Marinate the water chestnuts in soy sauce for 1 hour.
  2. Drain
  3. Roll each chestnut in the brown sugar.
  4. Wrap each chestnut with a piece of bacon.
  5. Secure with a toothpick.
  6. Arrange on a cake rack in a shallow baking pan.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Drain on paper towels.
NOTE: This can be prepared ahead of time and stored in refrigerator until ready to bake. Recipe from:   

Cheese Ball INGREDIENTS: 5 ounces dried beef, chopped 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 sweet onion, chopped  

  1. In a medium bowl, combine dried beef, cream cheese, and diced onion.
  2. Mix well and roll into a ball.
  3. Refrigerate then serve.
Recipe from:  My Brother-in-law

Written by Scott Keressi, Marketing Specialist, Coldwell Banker Heritage

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