Enjoy the Spirit(s) of the Season with a Holiday Bar

Holiday entertaining at home often includes an assortment of beverages, soft and not so soft. You’ll feel like a guest at your own party when you set up a bar where friends can serve themselves. Here are four tips for creating a libation station holiday bar:

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Choose an out-of-the-way spot

This will make sure it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the party. Choose a corner of the room where you expect people to gather, or use your dining room sideboard or kitchen island. Leave enough space so more than one person can be pouring to avoid a line or congestion in the area.

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Stock it with the basics

You can make things easy by serving just soft drinks, beer and wine. If you want to stock a full bar, consider bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vermouth, vodka and whiskey. You’ll also need orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale, tonic, club soda, lemons, limes and olives. And champagne is always a great option. These ingredients will cover the most common mixed drinks. You might also consider adding coffee liqueur or Irish crème. To know how much to purchase, check out this handy drink calculator.

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Create a special holiday drink

For a holiday-theme, choose a beverage such as eggnog, mulled wine or white cranberry “snowflake” martinis. You can make a pitcher ahead of time or fill glasses and display them on a tray, replenishing as needed. Or put out the ingredients and have a recipe card on the bar and invite guests to mix the drink themselves.

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And have the right supplies

Be sure your holiday bar area has sufficient ice, cocktail napkins, one or two towels for spills, corkscrew, shaker, measuring glass and trash container. And you’ll need an assortment of glassware. If you want to streamline things, just set out basic wine and old-fashioned glasses. If you want to do things right, offer champagne, red wine, white wine and highball glasses.

All that’s left is gathering your friends and enjoying the spirit – and spirits – of the season. And always remember to drink responsibly.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? How about two Thanksgiving dinners!! Family gatherings are important and traditional, but a growing trend is hosting a Friendsgiving, a special Thanksgiving-style dinner with your favorite friends. Hold it before Thanksgiving to create a trial run for the big day, or after to make the most of leftovers or serve something completely different. Here are some things to consider before hosting your Friendsgiving:

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Consider potluck

Friendsgiving is the perfect time to hold a potluck, making it easier than Thanksgiving because no one person will be in charge of the entire meal. Assign specific dishes or a category, such as veggies or dessert. Or be bold and enjoy whatever dishes show up in hand.

Set a theme

Another dinner-planning idea is to choose a theme and have guests bring something that fits. For example, set a theme of Italian, Chinese farm-to-table or even deep-fried. This could be a nice break from your Thanksgiving leftovers.

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Think about drinks

If you are serving alcohol, plan how you’ll stock your bar. You can make it easy and serve just wine or beer. Or create a special cocktail for the day, such as a special martini or mixed drinks. Or set out what guests will need for the most common drinks.

Make sure to accommodate special diets

Check in with friends and see if anyone has food allergies or intolerances, or follows a special diet, such as vegan or Paleo. Then make sure you have enough on your menu to fill them up.

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Decide if you want a special décor

Thanksgiving dinner usually includes a special holiday tablescape with a centerpiece, place settings, napkins and place cards. Friendsgiving, however, can be as festive or casual as you wish.

Do you hold Friendsgiving? Share you favorite tips in the comments below!

Choose Your Holiday Style

The holidays are the time to deck the halls. If you were to define your holiday decorating style, what would it be?

Our Creative Director Broc Clark said there are four hot trends when it comes to holiday décor. Take a peek and find the one that speaks to you!

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Opulent Luxe

Rich and luxurious, Opulent Luxe holiday style is a mood that combines plush surfaces with light shiny metallics and heavy embellishment. This style is reminiscent of a Silent Night filled with glitz and glitter.

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Wilderness

This winter wonderland draws its inspiration from the landscape of Northern Michigan. It brings the feeling of nature into your life through materials and shapes. The design includes colors of white, blue, dark green and red.

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Playful and Bright

This holiday style centers on a sense of whimsy with touches that are festive and fun. Unexpected Seuss-ified shapes catch the eye, and colors like apple red, emerald green and crisp white brighten the home.

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Northern Escape

This look brings a sense of serenity to your home with a mood inspired by remote northern landscapes and the natural beauty of winter light. Your home becomes haven against the elements using artisanal touches combined with modern technology for contemporary yet natural mood.