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Bronson van Wyck's Top 10 Tips for Holiday Entertaining

From Bloody Mary baskets to lobster trees, try these design pro's tips for holiday entertaining.

By Jenny Berg December 10, 2014, 7:15 AM EST

Photo: Hannah Thomson

New York-based designer Bronson van Wyck has styled events for clients such as Bergdorf Goodman and Friends of the High Line. This time of year, he's busy putting together festive gatherings for social and corporate events alike as well as curating the Holiday Workshop seasonal pop-up at the St. Regis New York. Here, van Wyck shares his top 10 tips for holiday entertaining. Though these tips are primarily geared toward home entertainers, they can be easily replicated for events held at offices or event spaces.

1. For hostess gifts, I love to give the host a Bloody Mary basket complete with everything you need to whip up a strong one the morning after. Don’t forget to include your favorite vodka and pickled garnishes with a bottle of your favorite mix—mine is Arrowhead Farms Hellfire Bloody Mary. There is no better way to start Christmas morning.

2. There are seven colors in the rainbow, so don’t feel limited to red, green, or white when it comes to Christmas lights. I love to use deep blues, ambers, and golds to really give your tree a unique glow. My tree at the Holiday Workshop is a dazzling red.

3. The holidays are truly a season for punches and cider. I like to keep a big batch in the fridge so whenever an impromptu guest arrives, it’s always ready to heat up and add a shot or three of brandy. Mulled cider is also a great hostess gift when packaged in large oversize sun tea jars.

4. No matter how large or how intimate the party, always prepare in advance so you can enjoy the moment and spend time with your guests. Invest in a bartender so you don’t spend all night making drinks.

5. If you're hosting a holiday party at your home, use natural textures to dress up the living area. Organic elements like wreaths and garland are also a good way to add a festive and fragrant touch. Juniper smells divine!

6. When decorating at home, don’t forget the mistletoe at the door—the holidays are all about love and maybe a little mischief.

7.  The holidays are a great time to highlight family traditions. Whether it’s a tartan from your clan or a family collection of bells that come out each season, incorporate your memories into your decorations.

8. It’s always fun to use Christmas trees in a nontraditional way— this year I have done a tree entirely in lobsters. To truly take it to another level, hang your tree upside down or mount it on the wall. It will be a fun surprise for your guests, and it frees up space.

9.  When hosting an at-home holiday party, always make room for the impromptu late-night dance party. Your favorite chairs might take up too much space, so try to move out any cumbersome furniture beforehand.

10. Take tired ornaments or holiday accessories and gold gild them. A little shine will 'luxe' up your space and transform the object into something entirely new and special.

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