Throwing a holiday party but don’t know where to start? Don’t stress; use these three simple steps to create the perfect seasonal bash:

Settle on a theme or color scheme

A theme or color choice keeps your decorations coordinated – think Santa’s Workshop rather than the Island of Misfit Toys. If you’re stuck for ideas, possible themes include:

  • Faith: Decorate with religious accents. Angel figurines aren’t just for the tree – they look great on countertops, coffee tables and fireplace mantles.
  • Winter wonderland: Go for anything snow related – snowmen figures, snowflake ornaments and fake snow on the ground.

Otherwise, choose a seasonally appropriate color scheme:

  • Red and green are always appropriate for the winter holidays. To make your party look more sophisticated, opt for rich, muted tones rather than bright colors. Olive, pine, juniper, brick, cranberry, poinsettia and wine are all great choices.
  • Gold and white are a little less traditional but just as glamorous. In fact, they give your party a luxurious, almost royal feel.
  • Silver and blue are often associated with Hanukkah, but like the Christmas tree, they’ve spread to a wider cultural acceptance. When paired together, they create an glittery coolness that mimics a cave of ice.

Set the table

Your table is one of the few places where it’s okay to deviate from your theme. Doing so introduces a bit of variety and keeps your party from coming across as too manufactured. A dinnerware set with gold accents is always a great choice no matter what colors you have elsewhere. Don’t forget the placemat!

“Impress your guests by setting the table like Martha Stewart.”

If you’re planning a dinner, impress your guests by setting the table like Martha Stewart. Start with a charger under your dinner plate and, depending on the menu, topping with salad plate or soup bowl. If you’re serving both, place the soup bowl on top of the dinner plate, and put the salad plate at the top left of the setting. Arrange your forks on the left, with the salad fork on the far side. Knives and spoons go on the right – knife closest to the plate, spoon on the outer edge. Finish by placing drinking glasses at the top right of the place setting.

Otherwise, if you’re only serving light refreshments, use seasonal decorative bowls to hold snacks and drinks. Regardless of which option you go with, be sure to set the stage with a table cloth and seal the deal with a beautiful seasonal decor centerpiece.

Add lighting

Lights put the finishing touches to your holiday decorations. Candles, lanterns and light strands are great choices, so picking one above the other really depends on your taste. You can also combine all three if you so choose, scattering your home with gorgeous lanterns and candle holders while stringing lights across the walls and shelves.