Holiday Entertaining with CeCe Barfield Thompson

With the holidays just around the corner– I was shocked to find out that Thanksgiving is just one week away– you have likely had holiday entertaining on your mind, especially if you are hosting a gathering at your home. I recently spoke with CeCe Barfield Thompson, a talented interior designer based in New York who happens to have a penchant for parties. An avid entertainer, CeCe is known for creating elegant table settings and events that marry her Southern roots with a sense of New York sophistication. Today, CeCe is sharing her top five tips for hosting a beautiful and memorable holiday event.

1. Getting a cocktail should be easy and accessible for your guests — no one likes to ask for a refill!  Have a bar set up in the room where you are entertaining so that guests can help themselves, or make sure your servers are mindful of keeping everyone’s glasses full.

2. Select music ahead of time that sets a mood conducive to a good time.  Cheerful and upbeat music is perfect for cocktails, followed by more eclectic and international tunes at a lower volume during dinner.  For after-dinner drinks, I always switch to a playlist of disco, Motown and pop that people can sing along to. I like to turn up the volume and keep the party going!

3. Lighting is important as it sets the tone and has the potential to make your guests feel beautiful.  It is important to create even light throughout the room — soft pink bulbs on a dimmer mixed with candlelight are ideal for a dinner party because together they create a subtle glow that makes everyone look their best…particularly when the cameras come out!

4. If you’re in need of an ice-breaker, dinner games are a fabulous way to get the conversation started and engage your guests.  Cards Against Humanity is always a crowd-pleaser, though it may not be the best choice when entertaining your in-laws!  


5. Layer your table.  A good table-scape should be so much more than just linens, china, crystal, and flowers. I love to layer in little silver candy dishes, unexpected objects, colored votives and creative place cards that my guests can take home as little presents.  At Christmas, a vintage ornament tied with beautiful ribbon can hold a card with the guest’s name.  Both Chairish and Etsy are great sources for 1950’s glass ornaments.  

For more of CeCe’s signature entertaining style, be sure to follow her on Instagram.

{Photography Courtesy of CeCe Barfield Thompson}

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