My family sometimes teases me that i go over the top – using fun printed tissue paper inside holiday gifts, matching cupcake liners to the occasion or getting out the good dishes for a weeknight dinner. But the truth is, i love adding extra little touches to make things special. I want the experience of a gift or dinner to feel good to those enjoying it. 

I especially love adding extra touches to holiday appetizers and meals. The holiday season is a time to fuss a little more than usual, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, here are four simple tips for dressing up your tables for new year’s gatherings:

1. Make a fun centerpiece. Try filling clear glass bowls with ornaments, bulbs or pinecones. Use bowls in a variety of sizes and shapes and cluster them together on a gold or silver tray. If setting up a buffet table, you could also substitute individual portioned desserts or drinks on the tray.

2. Layer your dishes. If setting a table for a meal or setting food on a buffet table, place a larger dish or charger under a smaller plate. You could even add a placemat under the dishes for even more layers. Mix and match patterns or colors to add some visual interest to your display.

3. Garnish your food. Simple things like sprinkling fresh, chopped parsley makes food feel extra fancy. If serving drinks, rim glasses with colored sugar or margarita salt.  Use orange slices and fresh cranberries as festive cocktail garnishes.

4. Have fun with your food. Cut food into holiday shapes or decorate with the theme or color of the holiday. Check out this recipe for snowman truffles as an example.

These little extras will make your guests feel special and your holidays extra festive.


Bonus tip: Garnish trays or food bowls with fresh cranberries and sprigs of rosemary. The green and red instantly make it feel like the holidays and the rosemary is reminsicent of evergreens.