holiday entertaining :: christmas at home

The season is here – our halls are decked to the nines with greenery garlands, our tree is filled with our favorite family ornaments that each tell a story (and our tree is just starting to dry out! We got it in late November!), and Ava is excited for Santa’s arrival. The stockings (Aleah handmade) are hung by the chimney with care, dozens and dozens of cookies have been baked, and the champagne is chilling!

We wanted to share some of our favorite effortless ideas for entertaining this holiday season and partnered with Katie Parra Photography to capture some fun and special ideas. With our past Lifestyle by Valley & Co. Blog, each season for nine years we shared recipes and entertaining tips so have to carry on that tradition.

One of our favorite things to do when we welcome guests into our home for the holidays (no matter if it’s our parents, neighbors, or friends), is to greet them with a beverage station – think warm mulled cider where they can help themselves and add a pinch of spices, a bubbly station where they can choose from sage, thyme, cranberries, or figs to punch up their glass of champagne, or even a hot cocoa station where kiddos and adults can jazz up their mug with fresh whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and crushed candy canes or sprinkles.

We also make sure that all of our coziest, prettiest blankets are laundered and stacked in a basket by the fireplace as our gatherings tend to last for hours – we want everyone to feel as warm and welcomed as we can make them!

Finally, dressing up place settings in a simple, yet elegant fashion, is a must. We don’t want our table top to feel overdone or pretentious, but we do want it to feel memorable and totally festive. So we dress up each plate with hemstitch napkins and top them with fresh winter citrus, a hand-written card, or an ornament picked special for each guest.

What are your favorite holiday traditions!

Wishing you and yours a warm and merry holiday!

Aleah, Nick, Ava, & Bennett