Contributing Monkie Shireen Qudosi
Published on October 19, 2009
While most people go into hibernation mode during winter, wanting nothing more than to curl up around a fire with hot coco, there are those of us who start going slightly delirious at the thought of being caged in for the next few months. However, unless you’re in the Arctic, there’s no reason why you have to induce self imprisonment during the season. With a mix of both creative and practical thinking, you can have just as much of a ball during winter as you have during summers by bringing the outdoors in.
And even though we’re penny pinching these days, we can still have a fabulous get together – and with the slightest bit of effort and inventive spirit, we can host a splendid evening boasts of eco-chic brilliance. When thinking of winter, my first thoughts escape straight to a “Winter Wonderland” theme and with a slight obsession for eco-friendly entertaining, I’ve been able to source some charming ideas.
One of the great things about winter is that you can get really creative and free-spirited with the décor. (During what other season would you get away with bringing trees indoors and the decking them with magpie-envying pieces?) When you think of “wonderland”, think odd, magical and strange. Think Alice in Wonderland meets the Snow Queen, where everything is just slightly off the wall, creative and wonderfully mad – with a rich frosty touch.
Setting the Scene
Ambiance is everything. This is especially true if you’re going to host an evening of kaleidoscopic proportion. Think white candles, silver accents, pops of color, reflective surfaces– just about anything that would catch the eye. The great thing about the holiday season is that just about anything goes and the best way to get this is to pay attention to details. Make sure you include lots of accents and clusters of décor pieces.
A quick inexpensive and recyclable option is to top your cake platters with old Christmas tree ornaments. This ensures that you’re using them not just around the holidays, but in a clever festive way that actually gives you the thrill of holiday decorating without sacrificing a tree for it. You can use either tiered cupcake platters or single level ones. Standard cake platters are also great to use as a base for nesting pillars of candles among pine cones and branches from your yard.
Not forgetting our Winter Wonderland theme which embraces creativity, start by breaking convention and bringing in a tree earlier in the year – then turn it upside down. The idea has been popular for a few years now, and it’s both gorgeous and eco-friendly since these trees are of the faux variety.
Another simple idea that heats up the evening was discovered in Sunset Magazine, which suggested that “vases of varying heights [can] contain conifer sprigs in an inch of water.” White votive candles behind each jar adds a mesmerizing glow. This is a much more sustainable décor idea than flowers, since branches can be found in most yards and can last up to a month in an inch of fresh water. The idea makes even more sense when the taken the scarcity of naturally available flowers during the winter, and the high cost of store-bought stems.
No matter how much time and energy you’ve invested in creating a lush atmosphere, there’s one key element that always wins out – and that’s taste! Your party doesn’t have to have a five course meal but it does have to have rich savory foods perfectly paired with a winter setting.
For a beer bottle budget, try either a cheese and bread fondue party and for dessert take the evening outdoors. Set your patio or deck with a couple patio heaters about a half hour before you expect guest to step outdoors – this way by the time you enjoy the next half of your evening, you’re in a nice toasty niche.
Next, have your guests collect twigs from around the yard and bring them back to serve as marshmallow skewers. Pair that with organic chocolate and your classic cup of hot chocolate, and you’re set for the evening.