It's always so much fun to have a party during the holidays that mixes multi generations in the merriment of the season. The effervescent Sophie Donelson, editor in chief of House Beautiful magazine, has the perfect idea for a fun time for all: a holiday cookie decorating party! She and her family host it in their spacious Jackson Heights, New York apartment where there is plenty of room for the kids to roam. This hostess in the know, sets up a large table so everyone can have access to drinks, food and cookies.
Hope you enjoy her helpful hints for carefree entertaining! Enjoy!
Tell me about the occasion and what you served.
Christmas Eve milk and cookies for the grown ups and kids in my building. I love hosting the neighbors — old and young. I look for “themes” that are fun for both generations. And, sometimes three generations – we had kids age 8 months to 80+ (she won’t tell me how much more!) at our holiday party this year.
On the table: The naughty milk is bourbon milk punch. I went to three parties this year (including one hosted by designer Max Sinsteden) that served this delicious old-school drink – it’s a trend! Grating fresh nutmeg is everything, it smells incredible. There’s regular milk for kids. I put out sugar and gingerbread cookies and the requisite icing and sprinkles for decorating. Then, fresh citrus because it also looks so pretty, especially alongside
The confident holiday hostess Sophie Donelson.
What influences your menu choices when you entertain?
My mood, a new cookbook, or a request from friends! I live in such a great takeout neighborhood, but at the very least, I dedicate time to the table setting, music, and beverages.
Who or what has most inspired your entertaining style?
My hosting is often driven by wanting to use my tabletop finds! I love patterned china because it provides a jumping-off point for everything else: linens, flowers, even music.
Classic Christmas decor: elves and reindeer with glittering sugar cookies. I am really into the variety of citrus fruits combined with evergreens and berries; not only is it easy to do, everything is easy to get.
Has anyone been a strong influence in teaching you the l'art de recevoir?
I’m surrounded by able hosts — every invitation out is an opportunity to learn something new.
Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item that you collect?
My everyday china is Mottahedeh La Famile Vert. I’ve always been drawn to the pattern. I love green and I love the orangey red berry detail. It makes me happy every time I see it. I have too many vintage dessert plates, Wedgwood, hand-painted, pressed glass — whatever catches my fancy. I’m geekily into the 60s and 70s studio pottery,too. And I have a soft spot for the humble grace of Bennington Pottery, I’m a New England girl, what can I say.
The naughty milk is bourbon milk punch. And regular milk for kids.
Next Thursday be sure to checkout a New Year's modern mix with renowned designers Michael Rosenberg and Leonard Kowalski of MR&A.