Food & Drink

Holiday Hosting

by Anna Gray December 12, 2014
ReadHoliday Hosting

With endless parties to host and attend, the holiday season is not the most relaxing of times when it comes to entertaining. And yet, successful – and definitely fun – gatherings require a dash of spontaneity and a willingness to go with the flow. (On that note: stocking up on plenty of spirits and wine always helps). Here to guide you in the art of casual entertaining are Dan Holzman and Mike Chernow of The Meatball Shop. The duo, along with the design experts at Homepolish, shared their recipes and DIY tips for merry making.

On the menu, courtesy of chef Holzman: a winter salad, braised leeks, parsnip & turnip mash and a cranberry fizz to accompany polenta, veal and chicken meatballs from The Meatball Shop’s to-go catering menu. On the décor front, Homepolish spruced up Holzman’s Williamsburg abode with seasonal foliage, like pine needles, moss and cranberries, that add some winter color (and smell amazing, too).

Here’s how to recreate the dishes and design for your own holiday fete. Or to have the full experience come straight to your home, sign up for our giveaway.

Work magic with functional everyday objects that do double décor duty.

holiday linen napkins

Spruce up your dinner napkins with fresh winter greenery. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Twine Napkin Rings
Tightly roll linen napkins and secure with butcher’s twine. Tuck a sprig of evergreen, a cinnamon stick or any other seasonal garnish that adds a splash of color and fragrance.

pewter julep cup planter

Use a summer staple (the pewter julep cup) and repurpose as the perfect holiday planter. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Julep Cup Planter
Take pewter julep cups or old trophies and create a memorable centerpiece. For succulents and small plants, layer floral foam in the bottom of the cup, cover with live moss and arrange the plants on top, as if they’re flowing over. For taller flowers and plants, pot like usual, layering soil and cover the top with moss. 

glass jar candle holder

Evergreen twigs, cranberries and cinnamon make these glass vessels holiday-ready for your floating candles. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Floating Tea Lights
Fill glass jars or glasses with water, then add cranberries, seasonal plant clippings and a tealight candle to create a holiday-inspired centerpiece. Run as many as you like down the center of the table for a warm ambiance.

fruit DIY placement holders

Use fruit or other fresh produce to anchor your name holders. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Seasonal Place Holders
Craft simple place card holders for parties using toothpicks and fresh produce, such as oranges or pears. (This idea works year-round; try peaches in the summer and squash in the fall). Write the names of your guests on parchment paper, fasten to toothpicks and puncture the fruit.

DIY mantle decor

Paperwhites anchor the mantelpiece and draw the eye up, while tea light candles add pockets of soft light. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Moss Mantel
Use moss (available at most floral shops) to make a base of greenery. Then place candles across the entire mantle to create little pockets of light. It doesn’t have to be perfect; the more randomly placed, the more natural the look. Anchor the mantle with two symmetrical paper white flowers to draw the eye up.

Meatballs! Mash! Fizzes! Freshen up traditional dishes with a few new ingredients.

Meatball Shop cranberry syrup

Homemade cranberry syrup from The Meatball Shop. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Meatball Shop cranberry recipes

Cranberry-based recipes from The Meatball Shop

Meatball Shop salad recipe

A winter salad with radishes, fennel and butter lettuce from The Meatball Shop. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Meatball Shop mash recipe

Root veg are the base of this mash – with sour cream and scallions adding a fresh kick to the traditional dish.

Meatball Shop leeks recipe

Roasted leeks is a healthy option for a holiday dinner. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)

Meatball Shop dishes

A holiday feast courtesy of The Meatball Shop that keeps things light and fresh, including a winter salad, parsnip and turnip mash and, of course, homemade meatballs. (Image by Claire Esparros for Homepolish)


Anna Gray is editor at Homepolish. All photos by Claire Esparros for Homepolish.

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