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

An art print depicting a snowy cityscape helps set the scene (“Manhattan Bridge Snowstorm” by Jason Derck for Minted). 

A tipsy take-home: whiskey-soaked maraschino cherries (“Bokeh Bride” stickers by Andreas Montano for Minted).

Fill glass cylinders with faux snow and glowy fairy lights for an easy and elegant centerpiece idea.

1. Incorporate city-like pattern and texture
• Flocking: Just add faux snow for a wintry city look. It may feel like a throwback detail, but wreaths and trees, thickly crusted with white flocking, can be surprisingly fresh. I even like to use faux snow in terrariums or atop ice in a chilled wine bucket for a wintry effect.
• Marbling: Swirled ribbons of warm grey evoke a feeling of snow melt and feel decidedly modern. Look for marble-patterned gift wrap for a hint of fluid print.
• Stripes: Incorporate linens with graphic lines suggestive of architecture and cityscape contours. I love a tablecloth with simple crisp lines in a punchy red hue or napkins with a hand-hatched pattern (that looks just like ice crystals!), but any structured print can complement a festive vibe.

A tree with feathery branches displays silver ornaments.

Add sparkle with a gold-flecked digital party invitation (“Star Dust” online invitation by Hooray Creative for Minted.

Your child’s letter to Santa can be turned into an art print—such a lovely, modern holiday keepsake.

2. Add sparkle and shine
• Twinkle lights: Twinkle lights add the perfect hint of city flicker. Tuck them in glass jars or on a bar tray for extra glitter against the glassware. And the invite? Go for a special digital invite with a smattering of sparkle. I love this online invitation design by Minted artist Hooray Creative (“Star Dust” online invitation).
• Sugared shimmer: Add a sweet sprinkle of shimmer in the shape of tiny treats. Sugared cranberries get a boost of sparkle and an icy-shine when tossed in sugar. These are super-easy to make (and last for days!). Toss them together and pop a dish on the table or skewer as a cocktail garnish for extra holiday sparkle.
• Glints of silver: In the spirit of “Silver Bells,” I chose silver candlesticks, mini ornaments, silver jingle-bell garlands, and ice buckets for pops of silvery shine; the metallic is a refreshing change from the current all-things-gold craze. 

Add some style to a tray full of spirits (“Making Sprits Bright” art print by Pistols for Minted).

Garnish cocktails with sugared cranberries for a frosty touch.

A typographic art print in a jeweled garnet shade can work year-round.

Crushed Jordan almonds add shine to chocolate bark.

3. Pretty treats and details with polish
• Playful place cards: Since place cards can feel formal, loosen things up with a naughty or nice styling. Arrange a tray with guests names assigned to a naughty or nice butler card. Party-goers can find their card and locate a naughty or nice seat, leaving them with a flexible place assignment and a perfect conversation starter. The gold foil on these adds just the right dose of graphic polish (and you can order as many or few as you need in black and white).
• Toast-worthy art: A bar tray sparkles thanks to a playful print. Add a ‘making spirits bright’ piece to your mixers as a fitting complement to bottles of spirits.
• Festive bites: Add sweets and treats to complement your color or pattern. Silver almond bark (made from swirled white chocolate and crushed silver almonds) is simple to whip up in a hurry. Or for your manhattan-loving friends: Ruby-red tipsy cherries are a crowd-pleasing take home. Sealed with a sticker or a hand-written label, they’re a fab finish to a holiday dinner.

Serve party guests a ruby hued-Christmas cocktail.

Naughty or nice: These place cards add some fun to seat-finding.

Tips and Recipes
• The tipsy cherry gift uses
this recipe
• The sugared cranberries use
this recipe
• Silver almond chocolate bark can be made by swirling 2 colors of heated candy melts (or chocolate bark) on a parchment lined cookie sheet and scattering crushed jordan almonds on the surface while the candy is still warm.

Seville Mosaic” table linen by Red Impressionz for Minted
Plaza” menu card by Kristie Kern for Minted
Hide” napkin by Paper Dahlia for Minted
Rose Colored Glass” flag stickers by Kelli Hall for Minted
Hide” napkin by Paper Dahlia for Minted
Watercolor Flowing” napkins by Melissa Kelman for Minted
Manhattan Bridge Snowstorm” by Jason Derck for Minted
Bokeh Bride” stickers by Adreas Montano for Minted
Vintage metallic mini glass ornaments from Minted
Cherry red 1″ velvet ribbon from Minted
Star Dust” online invitation by Hooray Creative for Minted
Custom “Letter to Santa” letterpress art print 
Making Sprits Bright” art print by Pistols for Minted
Criss Cross Watercolour” napkins by Month of June for Minted
Breton Stripe” fabric by Melissa Selmin for Minted
Always and Always” art print by Baron Art Co. for Minted
Elegant Marble Paper” wrapping paper by Liz Conley for Minted
Modern Classic” stickers by Annie Clark for Minted
NYC Style” foil-pressed place cards by Jana Volfova for Minted
Holly red felt-ball garland

Photos: Morgan Blake

Find more of Kelli on her blog.

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