2016 Holiday Cocktail Party Playlist

While you’re opening gifts, frosting cookies, and mixing eggnog, cue up some holiday cheer with our annual Yuletide playlist. This year’s compilation includes a nice mix of genres to encourage good cheer, mingling, and merriment. The playlist features songs from one of my favorite Seattle bands, Deep Sea Diver, as well as classics from Run-DMC. Enjoy!

Listen to my 2016 Holiday Playlist right here (total listening time: 1hr 5min).

Photo: Cover image via Anthropologie

 

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Holiday Party Inspiration: Christmastime in the City

I love Bing Crosby’s “Silver Bells”—the song never fails to get me in a holiday mood. The tune also got me dreaming of a “Christmastime in the city”-themed holiday gathering, complete with all of the sights and sounds of a bustling city in the wintertime. I love the way the city sparkles in the winter, with glints of silvery chrome, glistening pavement, and even the swirling rivulets of melting show. To create an urban, wintry party look, I paired cement-gray–toned neutrals with accents of deep cranberry and bright ruby, and added a small dose of playful touches (like “naughty” and “nice” place cards) to complement the polished vibe.



“Naughty” and “nice” place cards create a playful dinner-party vibe; we used pieces of obsidian and selenite as place card holders.

Want to pull together your own city-inspired soirée? Check out my tips below

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Throw a Kids’ Friendsgiving Party

Written by Alicia Johnson and Betsey Hodge of  Happy Wish Company

Planning a playdate soon and not quite sure what to do with the kiddos? We’re serving up a big ole’ slice of thanks with this fun Friendsgiving playdate party! When we saw this “A Slice of Thanks” invitation, we knew it would be perfect for our playdate—it’s the perfect opportunity for your children to express how thankful they are for all the sweet little friends in their lives. Keep reading for all of our decor and activity ideas to keep the kids busy and having fun!

Friendsgiving Party Ideas

For the party backdrop, we spelled out “Friendsgiving” in gold foil balloons and layered in a tissue tassel garland in brown, tan, peach, and mint. We filled glass milk bottles with apple cider and used twine to tie on straws. We added tissue tassels to the back of each chair, which adds the perfect pop of color.

Friendsgiving Party Ideas

DIY Flower Arrangement
Make this Friendsgiving playdate a memorable one by setting up an interactive kids’ table decorated just for them! Start with fresh flowers, since they always add color and life to any tablescape. You might even be able to save these centerpieces for your Thanksgiving dinner. Here is a very simple centerpiece DIY that everyone can do.

1. Purchase fall-looking flowers. Here we used kale, hypericum (red berries), safflower (orange), and thistles (purple).

2. Line wooden flower boxes with wet oasis floral foam.

3. Trim flower stems and insert into foam.

Keep reading for more of our fun kids’ Friendsgiving ideas

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Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails: The Drowned Rat

The final installment in our series of horror movie-inspired Halloween cocktails: The Drowned Rat. Inspired by the classic 1971 horror flick Willard, this fiendish cocktail is a fitting tribute to the furry stars of the film, resembling a rat that encounters a grisly end at the bottom of a cup of sewer sludge. But this macabre trick is an actual treat—the libation features hints of chocolate and creamy stout beer. And the rat tail? A simple roasted beet.


More Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails:
• The Spider Bite (inspired by Arachnophobia)
The Eel Charmer (inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) 


drowned rat halloween cocktail by kelli hall for minted, guiness float with roasted beet rat tail
roasted beet rat tail garnish for halloween cocktail Roasted beet tails make the perfect rat-rump garnish.

drowned rat halloween cocktail by kelli hall for minted, guiness float with roasted beet rat tail

Click through for the recipe for The Drowned Rat

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Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails: The Eel Charmer

Taking cues from my favorite classic horror movies, I’ve whipped up three Halloween concoctions that are guaranteed to make your skin crawl. First up, an homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the form of a life-giving citrus elixir: The Eel Charmer. The recipe includes a hefty dose of zingy orange and a potent shot of bourbon to invigorate—all in the spirit of De Niro’s life-giving eel bath from the 1994 film.

eel charmer frankenstien-inspired halloween cocktail by kelli hall eel charmer frankenstien-inspired halloween cocktail by kelli hall eel charmer frankenstien-inspired halloween cocktail by kelli hall An orange peel eel is surprisingly simple to pull off.

Keep reading for the recipe for The Eel Charmer

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Free Printable: Halloween Potions Drink Labels

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  alice & lois

Are you hosting a Halloween party this month? We have the perfect printable for you, whether you’re throwing a spooky soirée for grown-ups or a monster mash for the kids. Print them out and turn your party drinks into Halloween potions: orange juice becomes Witch’s Brew while pink lemonade transforms into The Magic Spell. And for the adults? We love turning our favorite fall sangria into a Spider’s Elixir. Really, the creepy concoctions are endless!

Halloween Potions Free Printable | alice & lois for minted Halloween Potions Free Printable | alice & lois for minted

Click through for the free Halloween drink printable

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Halloween Party Idea: Kittens and Candy

My four-year-old was bawling in the Halloween section of Target the other day—not because I wouldn’t buy candy but because the talking skull was terrifying (don’t get me started on the witches being sold at Costco!). With him in mind, I’ve kept these Halloween party ideas super kid-friendly by focusing on the fun stuff around Halloween, like kittens and candy. Here’s how to throw a similar low-key, not-spooky Halloween bash.

kid's halloween party halloween party ideas

Click through for more on throwing a kittens-and-candy-themed Halloween party

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Holiday Decorating Inspiration: Into the Woods

Now that it’s officially fall, I’ve been dreaming up all things autumnal. This tabletop look features deep berry and bordeaux tones mixed with woodsy details like faux bois and dappled doe fur. Add to the mix different textures like faux burnout velvet and seasonal fruits and berries and you’ve got yourself an earthy, autumnal spread that’s perfect for this year’s Thanksgiving feast or your next dinner party.


FOR MORE HOLIDAY DECORATING INSPIRATION:

thanksgiving flowers for minted by kelli hall This deep berry-toned centerpiece includes dahlias and kangaroo paw.

thanksgiving table top by kelli hall

IT’S ALL IN THE MIX
Fall is all about warmth—translate that coziness to your dinner table by mixing and matching different patterns. Aim to combine pieces that create richly layered colors, depths, and feel. I chose a berry shade of the “Soft Florals” fabric to evoke the feeling of a carpet of fallen leaves, then complemented it with a trompe l’oeil doe print. I like to experiment with the vibe by tossing the fabrics on the table for a layered effect and then stripping them away if it starts to look too busy. And, speaking of busy: To balance some of the jewel-like colors, I’ve paired them with a neutral, gravelly grey. I’ve also kept the menus and place cards relatively simple to act as a bold counterpoint to the energy of the patterned fabrics.

thanksgiving linen A simple folded linen for the bread bowl.

thanksgiving take home boxes by kelli hall Boxes and stickers make pretty takeaways for leftovers.

Keep reading for more fall decorating inspiration

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DIY: Stork Labels for a Baby Shower

Written by Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

I’m all about taking a store-bought item and DIY-ing it into a totally new project. That’s exactly what I did with today’s DIY stork labels: I found these adorable stork cake toppers at the cake-decorating store and fell in love. Aren’t they cute? But instead of using them to top a cake, I bought a bunch and styled this flock of storks as food and drink labels for a baby shower. I love the playful touch they add to the table!

DIY Baby Shower Food Labels | Minted DIY Baby Shower Food Labels | Minted

Click through for the step-by-step instructions … 

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Party Idea: Build-Your-Own Balloon Bar

A few weeks ago, I had balloons blown up for a get-together. At the end of the night, I sent all the kids home with a balloon of their own and they were thrilled. It dawned on me that balloons make the perfect party favors which means that a balloon bar is definitely in my future. Here are details on setting up your own:

kid's party favor ideas

Click through for details on setting up your own balloon bar

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