Be Our Guest: Learn How to Host a Holiday Party From the Experts 
Be Our Guest: Learn How to Host a Holiday Party From the Experts 

Be Our Guest: Learn How to Host a Holiday Party From the Experts 

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Become an envied host by taking a page in Michelle Fontelera, Ginger Gaddi, and Rosenthal Tee’s playbook in entertaining

This is an excerpt from MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 Home feature story.

When Christmas and New Year come around, it is impossible to ignore three things: our home, the people, and the parties. 

Amid the holiday season, Filipinos are known to have their hosting and entertaining abilities on overdrive. After all, it is in our culture to open our humble abode to family, friends, and even neighbors, and serve them delicious food whenever there’s a celebration. 

Leading a soirée can involve a fair amount of preparation. While we can’t remove all the work it requires, we did talk to the experts in the industry—from tablescaping to mixology—to tell us how to curate an all-encompassing festive experience that both the host and guests will truly enjoy.

Native Touch

Over the past few years, place setting went from old-fashioned to everyone’s favorite art form called tablescaping. For Michelle Fontelera, founder of Zen Zest fragrances and Casa Juan homeware, tablescaping not only makes food more appetizing, but it also makes everyone get into the appropriate mood for the party. “When you have a festive tablescape, your guests will immediately feel the Christmas spirit because of what they see on your table,” she says. 

Fontelera also believes that you don’t have to look far for inspiration. “I’ve always been obsessed with Filipino art, culture, tradition, and design,” she shares. “This obsession of mine led me to frequent pop-up bazaars that sold Philippine-made products, and I would shop to my heart’s content. With that in mind, I had this bright idea to combine my two passions, which are buying dinnerware and buying Filipino-designed products.”

Petal Pros

Flowers are beautiful in and of themselves, but when they are intentionally incorporated into home décor, the results can be transformative. If you’re looking to take your floral arrangement skills up a notch—from simply unwrapping a store-wrapped bouquet and placing it in a vase to blooming entryways and centerpieces­—here’s a tip: renowned event stylist and florist Ginger Gaddi says it’s all about limiting waste in the process. 

“Number one tip for me is to be sustainable,” she says. “There are a lot of viral design trends, but in a month or two, the décor you just bought won’t be fashionable anymore.” As a creative person who started her business by using DIY tricks and pulling from her own vintage home, it’s all about working with what you have and making the best of it. “You can spray-paint an old vase or liquor bottles with gold, or put a little ribbon on them to add to the Christmas spirit,” she says.

Knowing when to go for fanciful florals or lush greens must also be grounded in the space you are working with: “My core in styling any room is to transform it and its ambiance. So, my perception of styling rules is more guided by rules of interior design, such as the size of the room and the color of the walls. I then choose a floral décor that is cohesive with it.”

Happy Hour

Since holiday parties are known to do some damage in the booze department and give most people a headache the next morning, why not make it worthwhile? Enter the fun and festive cocktails: a conversation starter and an easy way to impress your guests. 

While the world’s best mixologists hone their skills over decades of shaking, stirring, and serving, you won’t need a special degree to become well-versed in all things cocktails—which is what cocktail bar and service Lotus Gin Room aims to teach. 

“A cocktail by virtue is meant to evolve to the current tastes and preferences of the drinker, so that’s why we’ve always given agency to our guests to discover and encounter the flavors that they’re trying to find in each drink we make,” Lotus Gin Room co-founder Rosenthal Tee explains. “Providing our guests with a unique experience of having a hand in the creation of their drink engages them to wonder and learn how they can be creative without the extreme formality of it.” 

For the first-timers in providing cocktail bars at their parties, she advises to serve only one spirit: “Keep one liquor base for all your drinks so that you don’t end up mixing too much. For example, if you’ve decided on a whisky, stick to the whisky sours and highballs.”

Read the full extensive guide in hosting soirées in MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 issue now available in Readly, Magzter, Press Reader, and Zinio.

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