Holiday Entertaining Trends

Hello friends! As a special treat this week we are featuring an article from Planning It All's Amanda Jayne. She is an event planner and blogger extraordinaire from our neighbours to the south! (So please forgive her comments about Thanksgiving... we all know it's already passed...). Without further ado, please enjoy this awesome post by Amanda. It will give you some great ideas for your own upcoming holiday parties!

The holiday season seems to sneak up earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it? I’ve already started planning holiday parties and Christmas brunches - I just can’t afford to wait until Thanksgiving is over because there is so much to do! Although I do compromise with my husband and we don’t play holiday music in the car until December.

If you, too, are starting to plan ahead to Christmas already, here are some trends in holiday entertaining this year. You can incorporate these trends into your plans for small dinner parties at home, your own family holiday gatherings, or even large holiday fetes and events.


DIY Food & Beverage

DIY bars of any kind are very in right now - think Make Your Own Hot Chocolate Bar or a Waffle Bar with Various Toppings. A “make your own” bar is just a deconstructed buffet. Guests like to be able to personalize their food and this is a great way to deal with special diets and tastes. Just make sure you label all of the options - with a cute holiday-themed buffet label!

Local Food & Beverage and Farm to Table

The buy local movement is particularly strong during the holidays and it’s a great way to support your local community and add a focal point to your holiday entertaining. Is there a local winery? Serve local wine with dinner. Is there a local farm? Work items into the menu. Even nonedibles can play a role - if there is a local small business that you’d like to support, see if they have a product you can purchase and give out as favors. Just be sure to let your guests know which products are local - it will be a great conversation starter!

Family Style Meals

While many traditional family holiday dinners are already served family style, this method of service is gaining popularity among larger events as well, such as corporate holiday parties and weddings. There is no better way to encourage conversation between guests than by sharing food from a common platter. It creates a bond and a shared experience, and it reminds guests of being with family.

Gathering in the Kitchen

If you are entertaining at home, you probably already notice that guests gather in the kitchen. As architects and designers have made kitchens more open and accessible in homes, entertaining at home revolves more around the kitchen than the dining room. Play this to your advantage! Personally, I almost always set food on our kitchen island, literally drawing people into the kitchen. For smaller gatherings, pull up stools to the counter or chairs to the kitchen table. You can even add a centerpiece like you would with a dining table, but don’t be overly formal. This trend is tied to the idea of guests being more comfortable in your home.

Cooking Classes

This might be the corporate version of gathering in the kitchen and cooking classes are popular all year long, but Christmas - a season that revolves around delicious food - is the perfect time of year to try a cooking class. Many classes are accessible to novice and more experienced chefs, and many offer the opportunity to collaborate with one another to create a meal (back to that shared experience idea I mentioned above!). Plus, in a month bursting with one holiday party after another, doing something unique like a cooking class is a great way to make your event stand out.


There are always the perennial favorite themes for holiday parties and events - winter wonderland, red and green, classic Christmas - this year I’ve noticed a rise in the cozy theme. Think warm, nostalgic, home-y, familiar.

Those are just a few of the entertaining trends for this holiday season. It’s certainly starting to feel like Christmas!

Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing my post!


Amanda is the editor of, a blog devoted to event planning and entertaining. Amanda is a professional event planner and her day job is managing the events team for a Washington DC-area nonprofit. She also has her own event planning consulting firm, Amanda Jayne Events.  When she’s not planning events, consulting on events, or writing about event planning, Amanda enjoys visiting wineries (she lives in Virginia wine country), decorating her house, cooking and curling up with a good book.

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