Holiday Party Ideas

Ideas to make your table ready for the holiday party season.

From the Garden to the Table
Party ideas from some of Dallas’ most discriminating entertainers.

Proof positive: seminars can be fun. When D Home joined the Dallas Arboretum to present a winter workshop, we asked four of the best entertaining gurus in Dallas to share their latest ideas, colors, and themes – and they dazzled the crowd. Not to worry; we took notes. Read on for easy, original suggestions that will make your holidays bright.


SMELL GOOD: Add a variety of herbs and branches to your holiday arrangements. They are long-lasting and many add a wonderful fragrance.

Becky Winn’s Herbs, Branches, & Holiday Greens:

Becky Winn is a Dallas treasure: part storyteller, part garden maven, and owner of the
landscape and design firm Whimsical Gardens. She also contributes to D Home on a regular basis. Her philosophy is simple: make the ordinary extraordinary.

Comb your own backyard for plant and floral material.

Trim your own holly branches and add them to your floral arrangements. Their bright red berries are perfect for holiday decorating, and they’re free.

For a beautiful effect, mist glittery gold or silver spray paint over the backsides of your holly leaves. (Also works well with live oak, yaupon holly, or magnolia leaves.)

Herbs also are great holiday plant material: rosemary and lavender give your bouquets variety and a nice aroma.

Flowers age at varying rates. Give your flower arrangement a longer life by changing out water daily, particularly if the bouquet is composed of more than one species. For single-species arrangements, you can change the water two or three times a week for freshness.


THE RIGHT TOUCH: Snowflake ornaments add a festive touch to the back of every chair.

Kimberly Schlegel’s Unforgettable Parties:

Kimberly Schlegel has established herself as one of Dallas most savvy entertainers and is author of the newly published coffee table book The Pleasure of Your Company. Her forte: creating original, memorable parties with lots of little touches.

Treat your friends to a Snowflake Brunch, setting a table with elements such as all-white linens, frosted glass china with silver beads, or crystal with silver-scrolled edging. Where appropriate, dust fruits or breads with coconut or powdered sugar.

Guests love mementos. Brooches are trendy now; attach a snowflake-shaped pin to each place card to accessorize the snowflake theme.

Hire an event photographer and send your guests a framed picture of the party as an after-gift.

Instead of a dinner, invite your friends to a holiday dessert buffet that starts around 9 p.m. Schlegel says it’s the perfect event for your guests crowded holiday schedules. After making the rounds, they end up at your house and relax; and with just desserts, it’s easier on you.


NOT JUST FOR JUICE: Vase of oranges topped with an arrangement of chocolate cosmos, chocolate mint, millet, and pin-cushion  protea in a bark-covered plastic container.

Glenn Schnetzinger’s Floral Extravaganza:

After training under European florists for almost a decade, Dallas own Glenn Schnetzinger has a flair for signature arrangements.  His original, floral creations have been displayed at the Oscars and a Presidential Inauguration.

Schnetzinger’s spectacular floral designs go beyond just flowers: Spanish moss, wheat stalks, and tiny pumpkin branches add texture and depth, perfect for seasonal arrangements. 

Continue to pick up your favorite flower species: just be sure to choose them in golden, orange, and burnt-red hues for your autumn displays.

Casablanca lilies and Star of Bethlehem (both white flowers) reflect the holiday season and bloom slowly over time.  If you’re hosting a party one week, followed by another party the next, use primarily holly, pine, and cedar greenery for longer-lasting bouquets.  The greens will hold up. Just replace the flowers the morning of your second party.

Combine a variety of fruits with flowers for a dynamic arrangement: Schnetzinger filled a large vase with oranges – accenting his chocolate-citrus buffet table – then topped the vase with a floral display.

For a sleek, modern approach, square vases with short-stemmed roses create clean, minimalistic designs.


HOLIDAY DELIGHT: Berries with honey-champagne syrup.

Scott Simons Culinary Creations: 

Scott Simons is Dallas expert on the most up-to-date culinary creations.  His lifelong passion for excellence has led him to a marketing career with Whole Foods Market.

Keep your holiday menu from becoming monotonous – provide your guests with new favorites by incorporating time-honored dishes with fresh ideas and recipes.

To save time in the kitchen, prepare your signature items and have the rest catered. Many places will even deliver right to your door, freeing up your time the day of the event.

Keep appetizers and holiday beverages on hand for drop-in guests. Serve your guests a pomegranate mimosa or sparkling cranberry Italian soda, new on the market, in addition to the traditional eggnog, which now comes in soy. Chocolate-coated almonds complement almost any menu and are beautiful when displayed on silver or crystal. Top brie with sweet preserves and toasted almonds for an elegant appetizer that’s quick and easy.


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