A Casual and Festive Christmas Open House

Host a classic open house with modern menswear touches this Christmas season, complete with easy appetizers, a signature cocktail and a card-making station.

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December 09, 2014
By: Manvi Drona-Hidalgo

Easy Open House

A holiday open house is a stress-free option to holiday entertaining. Guests show up within a four- to five-hour time frame and can stay as long as their schedules allow. Entertaining open house-style also leads to more RSVPs and allows you to spend more time with each individual guest.

Set the Date With Style

Every occasion calls for a proper invitation that not only informs guests of the details but also gets them in the holiday spirit. These sophisticated tartan invites in French green and silver allude to the party's menswear theme.

Bold Buffet Table

A buffet table is the way to go for open house parties. For this look, combine menswear fabrics in tartan and plaid with feminine touches like roses and sparkling accents. Label each dish with a menswear-inspired printable buffet label.

Glittering Backdrop

Sage green sequined stockings provide a sparkling backdrop that reflects light from flickering candles.

Simple Centerpieces

Decorate the table with ornaments in mercury glass footed bowls and clear vases arranged. Tall ceramic vases at the end of the table add height and a pop of red that accents the green sequined stockings.

Cozy Fabrics

A custom tablecloth made using dark-toned wool tartan sets a soft, warm base for the look. To create your own no-sew tablecloth, find a heavy-weight plaid at your fabric store and create a clean edge using an iron and seam tape.

Plaid on Plaid

No need to use matchy-matchy dishware; an assortment of tartans and plaids mixed with neutrals adds to the party's cozy charm. Here, Ralph Lauren salad plates are paired with mint-and-gold dessert plates.

Set the Mood

Place tall tapers at the wall-end of the table, then add small votives around the table to create a festive glow around the flowers and food items. Tip: Always use drip-free tapers.

Such Great Heights

For easy access to food items, place plaid-printed dishes on cake stands around the buffet table.

Party Bites

Plan to serve three to four bite-sized foods that don't require reheating and can be laid out for the entire stretch of the party, like this smoked salmon and cream cheese roll studded with chives. Get the Recipe Here>>

Blackened Tuna With Jasmine Rice

Serve this sushi-inspired appetizer atop crisp cucumber slices. Get the Recipe Here>>

Single-Serving Soups

Serve different winter soups in shot glasses placed on plates for a festive look. 

Carrot Ginger Soup

Serving items in individual containers is a popular trend that also reduces the risk of party spills. This spicy carrot-ginger soup can be served hot or at room temperature. Get the Recipe Here>>

Create a Bar Table

Designating a beverage station is a great way to keep the buffet table less crowded and carry the theme to other areas. To continue the party subtle menswear theme, search your favorite vintage store for a Mad Men-era decanter and vintage ice bucket. Be sure to stock the bar with plenty of cocktail napkins, ice and garnishes.

Stop Spills, Stylishly

Place liquor bottles, ice buckets and decanters atop trays or plates to avoid tablecloth drips.

Signature Cocktail

To correspond with the menswear-inspired decor, serve a simple, retro cocktail made with Irish whiskey, lime juice and, for a modern twist, homemade grapefruit syrup. Get the Recipe Here>>

Stylish Garnish

Adding a garnish to the cocktail doesn't need to be tiresome or tedious. Simply skewer a thin slice of lime and a small piece of grapefruit rind and place in a clear container or a shallow vase. Tip: Make these a day ahead and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Create a Card-Making Station

Keep guests engaged and encourage mingling by planning an activity at the party. Set up a holiday card-making station on a simple fold out or console table. Carry the decor theme to the station by adding coordinating elements. Here, the same pattern is used for the tablecloth that we saw in the napkins on the bufet table.

Starry Night

Decorate the wall with garlands made of star cutouts, which help inspire creativity and ideas for holiday cards.

DIY Paper Bins

Dress up cylinder and square vases or even tin cans with patterned fabric or paper that corresponds with the theme. Fill with rolls of scrapbook paper and card stock.

Double-Duty Party Decor

Place card holders double up as label stands for crafting supplies, adding form and function to the station.

Gather the Supplies

Ensure crafting essentials like glue sticks, scissors, glitter, craft paper, colored card stock, pens and pencils, wrapping paper, fabric scraps, assorted envelopes, stamps and stamp pads, washi tape, clear tape, beads and confetti are available for guests to use.

Look for Unique Accents

Scout out a couple of thrift stores for vintage ornaments and charms to use as card embellishments.