I love when StyleBlueprint asks me questions on one of my favorite subjects! Holiday countdown is firmly underway & the clock is tick tick ticking. I start feeling a little tightening in my shoulders thinking about all I have to do too, but then I take a deep sigh & think to myself, it is manageable if I look at why I’m doing what I’m doing. Here’s a few tips to help you find the hohoho instead of bah humbug!

The following excerpt is from Danielle’s conversation with StyleBlueprint as part of the article, “How to Throw a BETTER Holiday Party: Local Experts Offer Advice.” The story was originally posted on the StyleBlueprint blog on November 2, 2016.

A holiday party, as fun as it is, can become a nuisance rather than the festive evening it was intended to be. The holiday season brings work events, family reunions, cocktail soirées, neighborhood functions, fundraisers and a lot more obligatory affairs that can overwhelm one’s social calendar. As guests attend one event after another, how can you, the hostess with the mostess, make your holiday party stand out? We talked to the expert and asked how to throw a better holiday party. Here’s what she had to say.

Atlanta tastemaker Danielle Rollins shares her advice on what to do and what not to do when it comes to creating a meaningful, memorable holiday party. Danielle is an entertaining expert who has written the book on the topic. No really, she literally wrote a wonderful book about entertaining with style, ease and expertise. Danielle’s book, Soirée: Entertaining with Style, invites readers into her world of entertaining, teaching them how to create their own events from invitations to a party timeline.

Now that you’ve just ordered the book online and are about to send out your end-of-the-year event invites, check out what Danielle has to say when it comes to throwing the ultimate holiday party!

Guests attend so many parties during the holiday season. How can someone make their party stand out?
Danielle: I like having a cocktail party during the holidays. A glamour throwback, dress up to the nines, for a little break in the holiday hustle with a glass (or three) of holiday cheer — especially with embroidered cocktail napkins, the “fancy” crystal, silver and plenty of sparkle of course!

Any décor/arrangement ideas besides the classic red and green?
Danielle: While I love the traditional red/green color scheme, I rarely use it. Instead, I decorate using the colors in my house. I buy lush velvet ribbon in a rich persimmon, turquoise or tobacco to accent the greenery and I use plenty of natural elements, pine cones, feathers, pomegranates, clove-studded oranges, big bowls of lemons and such. I did a collaboration with Weston Farms to create my own greenery called “Danielle’s Lark,” which is available to the public this year. It is so beautiful that you don’t need much more! The wreath and greenery combine an exclusive Southern Magnolia, rare ombré Hinoki Cypress and East Coast Native Long Leaf Pine cones. The products from Weston Farms are made fresh and dry beautifully, to be enjoyed for years.”


Danielle’s Lark greenery
Danielle’s Lark greenery from Weston Farms | Image: Danielle Rollins

What if you have a small home? How can your party still be fabulous?
Danielle: Bigger isn’t always better. There’s less to decorate, so go for a concentrated, high-impact look. If you don’t have room for a tree, put one in a terra cotta pot on the tabletop. In my book Soirée: Entertaining with Style, Miles Redd and I hosted a dinner in his mirrored dressing room, using fabric draped over portable Coleman camping tables and mismatched chairs gathered from all over the apartment. There’s always space to create happiness!

What are some great dishes to serve, especially since it seems more and more people have eating restrictions? Any tips on cool ways to serve food for the holidays?
Danielle: I love a good cocktail! It shows some originality and thought was put into a party, as well as the perfect ice breaker. A little goes a long way, so it’s good to have other options to switch to later. I’m partial to a French 75 for the holidays but they pack quite a wallop, so it’s a 1-2 drink at the most, precursor to champagne. And champagne always has the right amount of festive!

A big thank you to Danielle Rollins for sharing her tips about throwing the ultimate holiday party!

Read the entire article “How to Throw a BETTER Holiday Party: Local Experts Offer Advice.”