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7 Must-Haves for Holiday Entertaining {& A Giveaway!}

by | Nov 14, 2012 | Holiday Entertaining | 585 comments

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I really enjoy holiday entertaining. Do you? Many years ago, we hosted a big Christmas party in our old house with over 100 of our friends and family. Our 100 year old English Tudor was the perfect home for entertaining. It was big big big, lots of space for people to meander and enjoy getting to know each other.

We had food set up in our dining room, drinks in our kitchen and hors d’oeuvres set up in our living room. The baby grand player piano filled the house with Christmas music and set the festive tone for the party.We even had five bathrooms so no one ever had to wait to use our powder room! We had such fun and remember that party fondly, as it was the last Christmas in our big house!

But you know what?

We’ve hosted parties over the years in our less than charming 800 square foot condo when we were first married (and we just shoved our laundry in the closet to make room for guests to use our one and only bathroom), and our 1200 square foot tiny English cottage and our 2200 square foot home, too. And I remember parties in each of those houses with many of the same fond memories.

No matter what size of home we had or how lovely our home was, or was not, at the time, we always enjoyed inviting people over and providing a nice setting for a holiday party. It wasn’t about showing off our home or impressing people with our party giving skills, it was just fun to treat our guests to a special evening. It is our love language, I guess … we really love to create a comfortable space for people to be together for a party.

Here are my 7  top must-haves for holiday entertaining:
  1. A reasonably clean house so people feel comfortable (for sure in the powder room and party areas of the house!).
  2. Candles for ambience and a fresh, but not overpowering, scent.
  3. Soft but festive music to fill in the lulls in conversation and set the fun tone for the party.
  4. Places for people to sit (even if I have to put pillows on the floor).
  5. Surfaces available to set down drinks or plates.
  6. A few topics of conversation at the ready, in case things seem sluggish or awkwardly quiet.
  7. A manageable plan for preparing and serving food and drinks, so I don’t have to stress out right before or during the party.

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And let’s be honest. If I could have a few more ‘must haves,’ wouldn’t I want a beautiful new KitchenAid stand and hand mixer, a $100 Pottery Barn gift card and a pretty new holiday apron from The Hip Hostess?

Of course I would.

And because I adore YOU all so much, Sandy one of my BFF’s from the awesome blog Reluctant Entertainer and I have put together a fun Holiday Entertaining giveaway for one lucky winner! See that graphic, above? We have awesome prizes from Kitchen Aid and The Hip Hostess and a Pottery Barn gift card (from us!) to give one lucky winner a fun pre-holiday shopping spree so you’ll feel prepared for entertaining.

How do you enter?

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on each of our Holiday Entertaining posts, Reluctant Entertainer and The Inspired Room. And once you’ve done that, you just confirm your entry is recorded by answering the question in our handy dandy Rafflecopter gizmo, below, or on Sandy’s blog, acknowledging that you answered the question on both blogs! That’s it! If this is your first time using Rafflecopter, don’t worry! It’s easy! Just sign in and follow the instructions for each step.

If you want extra chances of winning (you do, right?), you can FOLLOW the Pinterest board Sandy and I set up for Holiday Entertaining and Recipes! We’ll both be adding fun things to the board to inspire you for holiday entertaining, so if you are on Pinterest, you can see all our pins by following the board! You can also LIKE our pages on Facebook and tweet about the giveaway. All those options are in Rafflecopter!!

So, go ahead and start entering with Rafflecopter!


Do you like to entertain around the holidays?
What keeps you from enjoying entertaining, if you don’t like it?

You only need to confirm your entry info in Rafflecopter one time on either blog (not on both blogs.). All entries are collected in Rafflecopter no matter which site you enter on — the only real requirement is that you have left a comment on both blogs! This giveaway is open to citizens with a U.S. address.

Good luck! The giveaway ends this Sunday at 12:01AM and the winner will be announced on both blogs by Tuesday.

Big thanks to KitchenAid and The Hip Hostess for providing prizes for this giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

585 Comments

  1. Theme Builder Layout

    I host a neighbor Christmas party every year and I love it. I mean its a bit stressful but nothing gets your house cleaner than having a party. I agree you need a clean house, good lighting, music and maybe even a fun trivia game.

  2. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE entertaining during the holidays. I love cooking and making my friends and family happy!

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    I am a new reader to your blog – still way behind! Love your thoughts and ideas so much! We love to entertain our family at the holidays! We love to play card games and trivia games. So fun to gather everyone around and visit. I don’t enjoy it when I have had to do all of the preparations myself – I love help!

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    I do enjoy holiday entertaining, but since I still go to my parents’ house I don’t have much occasion (or much pressure) to do it very often.

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    There isn’t anything much better than having family and friends over for a holiday party! What a great giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win! Happy Holidays! :)

  6. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoy hosting holiday get togethers! First…it’s always fun to see friends and family…the house is all done up….also…entertaining forces you to clean! :o)

  7. Theme Builder Layout

    amazing giveaway! We haven’t entertained ever because we’ve been in tiny apartments – next holiday season we’ll be in a house, so we’ll see if we like entertaining then!

  8. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to entertain. We have done cookie exchanges, caroling parties, gingerbread house making parties, pinatas, games, and always, always food to go with each party. What a wonderful way to show friends and family you care.

  9. Theme Builder Layout

    I have always wanted a Kitchen Aid. This would be such an awesome contest to win.

  10. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining around the holidays, but I am better with small groups of people or one or two families at a time. It is harder for me now that Will has gone home to heaven, but I feel God calling me out of my comfort zone to start doing it in small steps this year. Thanks for the opportunity!

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    Through my good fortune, I recently found your blog and can honestly say how inspired I am by all of your wonderful ideas! Entertaining is enjoyable in general, but Holiday entertainment is most magical! Family, good friends, good food, and good conversation warms the heart. Thank you for offering us an opportunity to win your giveaway. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!

  12. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great post!!

    I adore entertaining during the holiday season!! I just wish it wasn’t so hard working around people’s busy schedules. But there is something magical about sharing your home, and your kitchen with beloved friends, during this time of year.

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    Thank you so much! What an awesome giveaway just in time for the holidays!

  14. Theme Builder Layout

    Fabulous giveaway!! I agree, I’m all about holiday entertaining.

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    Awesome giveaway! I do like to entertain, but mostly combined with someone else. It takes some of the stress off of just one person.

  16. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain any time of year, and the holidays are especially fun! The only thing that holds me back is we are new to the area, so don’t know many people to have over yet.

  17. Theme Builder Layout

    I love hosting holiday parties. Happy memories of decorating the tree, marathon cookie baking sessions and visiting with family and friends!

  18. Theme Builder Layout

    How fun! Thank you for sharing with us!

  19. Theme Builder Layout

    Love this giveaway! I love Christmas and having a few people over, not a big party.

  20. Theme Builder Layout

    No, I don’t host. Wish I could, but I just don’t have the time right now in life.

  21. Theme Builder Layout

    Love parties and contests!

  22. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining and this would be amazing to win!

  23. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain at Christmas! Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Theme Builder Layout

    We typically stay at home on Christmas Eve with our Kids and Grandkids. Tamale making/Eating is the course for the evening! I love to decorate for the Holidays! Thanks for the contest Op!

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    To make clean-up easy, I like to make areas for disposing of trash visible (yet somewhat hidden so it’s not out in the open), and clearly designated recycling areas!!!

  26. Theme Builder Layout

    Oh, I remember that lovely party in the big house! And you do have a way about entertaining that makes things lovely and relaxed. I’m sure I could do that too, if I had all those lovely gifts. ;-)

  27. Theme Builder Layout

    I love Christmas! I hope I win the giveaway, thanks for the chance to win!

  28. Theme Builder Layout

    Fabulous giveaway!

  29. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m in my mid 20’s and I’ve always wanted to host my very own Christmas party (like the ones you see in movies haha). After planning our daughter’s first birthday last month I think a casual, festive Christmas party would super fun!

  30. Theme Builder Layout

    Yes!! I LOVE to entertain….especially at the holidays! Christmas time is my favorite time. It’s so much fun to have people come by, relax, eat, chat, and enjoy the festiveness (is that a word?) of my home. I think everyone feels special and loved. And isn’t that what it’s all about? That makes decorating all the more fun for me..
    P.S. I would love the K.A. stand mixer!! And everything else for that matter…teehee! Thank you for your kind generosity!

  31. Theme Builder Layout

    I like to entertain but I must say I like to go to parties more!!

  32. Theme Builder Layout

    Love all things about the holidays!!

  33. Theme Builder Layout

    We usually entertain our family for the holidays. We have Sugar Cookie Decorating contests. Of course, everyone is a winner! :) We also have friends over to play cards. We are more of a laid back…appetizer, card playing kind of household. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! What an awesome give away!! :)

  34. Theme Builder Layout

    GAH! You girls are fantastic. So fantastic. I hope whoever wins feels like the prettiest girl at the party!

  35. Theme Builder Layout

    I absolutely love entertaining! Especially for the holidays! Thank goodness I have your blog for inspiration!!!

  36. Theme Builder Layout

    I love this giveway and I love your blog! :)

  37. Theme Builder Layout

    That enormous wreath is gorgeous!

  38. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t have room to throw partys. I’m more of a party goer. but I would love to once I got a bigger house.

  39. Theme Builder Layout

    Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This party thing where did you store any extra stuff….that one closet or room that gets rid of stuff that you need to remove for a party and to make room for guests!!!!

  40. Theme Builder Layout

    Yes, I do like entertaining during the holidays. The more fun, the better!

  41. Theme Builder Layout

    I love your blog, Melissa! It really does inspire me, and you’re hilarious! (Nice name, too, by the way).
    I wish I liked entertaining, but honestly it kind of stresses me out because I’m not a fancy cook and because of all the cleaning before and after. But you’re right, it should be mostly about being with family and friends. I love the holidays and am very excited to decorate and be with my little family (don’t have much extended family around). Thanks again for your great ideas and this fun giveaway!

  42. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays, especially now that we’ve remodeled our living and dining room area. So much more space for everyone to gather in one large space.

  43. Theme Builder Layout

    Hi: Still fairly new reader to your blog, but I have been here for the majority of your amazing Makeover! I love the beauty of the Stockings on your Mantel photo! Simply Beautiful!
    It’s always great to share the traditions of others; then we all realize that we are after the same feeling — the warmth of family, friends & neighbors gathered & sharing together!
    This giveaway is truly awesome! You both know how to hit the important points — being able to make yummy treats, have some wonderful decorations to bring the feelings together, & bring on the food and friends! K.A. would certainly make things easier, and the other great prizes show how much you know about helping EVERYONE relax & enjoy the get together! Thanks!

  44. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to win! I love cooking for my family during the holidays.

  45. Theme Builder Layout

    The Holidays are the best time of the year.

  46. Theme Builder Layout

    I have learnt the art of entertaining from my mom. She loved a full house and thats the kind of house I grew up in. I think of entertaining and hospitality more as a legacy that I inherited from her :) Today, I love throwing parties. I believe that the presentation of the food you cook is as important as the cooking itself :) On any given day decking up my house to recieve guests makes me very happy :) Thank you for a fabulous Giveaway. Happy Holidays!!

  47. Theme Builder Layout

    what a fun site. i am glad that i have found it. thanks.

  48. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveaway. That red would so match my new kitchen remodel.

  49. Theme Builder Layout

    I’ll be honest, this is my first Christmas that isn’t being run by one family member or another. My mom has always been such a fabulous hostess, that it makes it a bit intimidating to be in charge. Luckily, I have many resources to pull from, as well as fabulous friends to help out! Thanks for the wonderful Giveaway! :)

  50. Theme Builder Layout

    I love hosting a party… But definitely need a clean house first. I have to admit sometimes my perfectionism gets in the way and I get overwhelmed with the prep – but you are right… It isn’t about the house or anything like that… It’s about the relationships! :-)

  51. Theme Builder Layout

    In my mind, I am a born entertainer. One that effortlessly whips together the kind of soiree that folks long remember and leave feeling glad they came. Again, IN MY MIND. The reality is I stink at entertaining. I try hard, usually too hard, and end up too stressed to enjoy any of it leaving me miserable. I just want to strike a balance where I feel comfortable. To me entertaining is truly a talent, like singing. Yes, we can all do it, but that doesn’t mean we are all good at it.

    Thank you for the generous giveaway! Happy holidays!

  52. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining, especially at holiday time. Anything from casual, impromptu get togethers to fancy parties. Bring it on!

  53. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining for the Holiday’s! It is so nice to have a house full of family :)

  54. Theme Builder Layout

    i am not the biggest fan of entertaining. i view my home as my “safe zone” and when people are over, i feel like i have to be “on” in a way, like i have to wear my public mask instead of just being me. i have a chronic illness so in public i often pretend everything is ok just bc of people’s reactions, i don’t feel like i should have to do that in my own home and when i entertain, i feel like i have to. there’s also no where to go when i need to recharge if the people are in my own home.

  55. Theme Builder Layout

    I wish I did like to entertain even though inside I really want to! It’s the stress of cooking and keeping the party going and managing all the people and washing that really wears me out!

  56. Theme Builder Layout

    What an amazing giveaway package!! You’re awesome!!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  57. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining for the holidays! It’s a little stressful getting everything together sometimes, but it’s soo worth it to spend the time with my family and see that they appreciate my efforts!

  58. Theme Builder Layout

    Enjoy reading your blog!

  59. Theme Builder Layout

    Always looking for new entertaining ideas – yea to Pinterest for being a vehicle to find out about blogs like you! Thanks for the great info.

  60. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining, but the preparation can get to me pretty quickly. I have scaled our festivities down to a more casual style. That way I can enjoy!! Thanks so much for a chance to win!

  61. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain….but being recently divorced and with a very very small disposable income, it seems like such a luxury right now.

  62. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t entertain much but in December we travel to nova scotia and celebrate by the seaside.

  63. Theme Builder Layout

    I get way too stressed and overly critical when i have guets over. So i find i avoid it swhich saddens me

  64. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoy entertaining during the holidays, but usually get really stressed out right before the party because I want everything to be perfect! Generally, I do better with last minute gatherings!

  65. Theme Builder Layout

    Love entertaining at holidays but need more stress free ideas. Thanks for your help.

  66. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your ideas! Great inspiration!

  67. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain but especially around this time of year. The thing that puts a slight downer on it is that people will not commit. Most guests won’t give a definite answer or they say yes and then don’t show.

  68. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks Melissa! These are great tips (and encouragement) for the holiday season.

  69. Theme Builder Layout

    My husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time. All of our families will be here. Wish us luck!!!

  70. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining stresses me out. But I love it when my kids and their mates (and now a grandbaby!) come visit.

  71. Theme Builder Layout

    Happy holidays to you!! What a wonderful gift!! My grandson Max will be 18 months at Christmastime and he loves cookies! So there will be lots of baking going on at Grammas!

  72. Theme Builder Layout

    Awesome give away! Spending time with family/friends …..just choose a day & DO IT!

  73. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m having my friends and family over for Thanksgiving this year. Your Seven Must-Haves for entertaining are a great guide. Thank you!

  74. Theme Builder Layout

    We are gearing up for the holidays- the girls & I are planning our crafts & a holiday party. What a fabulous giveaway to help with the entertaining!

  75. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you for the give a way. I would love to me a winer.

  76. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the Holidays and spending time with family and friends is the best! I also love giveaways and what better way to make entertaining easier than the most amzing gifts. Thanks for the chance to win.

  77. Theme Builder Layout

    I like family to come over, and I enjoy a simple, laid-back atmosphere. Food is always a part of the day.

  78. Theme Builder Layout

    Often feeling too busy holds me back but this year the thing that is holding me back this year is the different food requirements of my friends.

  79. Theme Builder Layout

    Holiday-time is a magical time to entertain! – love it.

  80. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the list of must-haves. I would agree. I love to entertain but this year, I feel that the budget is a little tighter and the economy puts me in a no-spend frame of mind. Both you and Sandy share wonderful ideas to help me make do with what I have :)

  81. Theme Builder Layout

    I do not entertain very often because we have no family living in the area and I feel overwhelmed trying to cook and clean – when I barely manage to stay on top of the day to day household chores!

  82. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveaway, Melissa! Thanks to both you girls!

  83. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at the holidays!

  84. Theme Builder Layout

    So excited to have lots of people in and out of my house for the holidays :) It’s always such a happy time!

  85. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway! Perhaps this will help make me a slightly less reluctant entertainer in a slightly more inspired room.

  86. Theme Builder Layout

    I like to entertain around the holidays but I do get worried – as I have three young kids (including infant twins) and I’m always worried things will go wrong because I am so rushed or don’t have the time. Things usually go okay but it requires lists and major late night prepping for me.

  87. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain! The holidays bring out the best in parties.

  88. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining can be oh so stressful. I nice give away would certainly help.

  89. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to host parties at our house! Great giveaway.

  90. Theme Builder Layout

    The holidays are my 2nd favorite time to entertain (BBQ season is our favorite!). I love all of the cozy things to make and everyone is in a good mood over the holidays :)

  91. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain! Getting together with family and friends really makes the holidays special!

  92. Theme Builder Layout

    I love this blog and the holidays!

  93. Theme Builder Layout

    Wow! I entertain very casually. I always wanted a kitchen aid mixer. AWESOME!

  94. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the great giveaway.

  95. Theme Builder Layout

    I love holiday entertaining. We host a Christmas party each year for our church staff. Lots of planning, cleaning, cooking and fun. I look forward each year.

  96. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to entertain during the holidays! We always have a few dinner parties for friends and family and make cookies to send to out of town friends who aren’t around to celebrate with us.

  97. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to win! I love the holidays!

  98. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain but there is always so much pressure for holiday parties! I like to do low-key dinners with friends and I usually host Easter.

  99. Theme Builder Layout

    I do love to entertain in my home, mostly because I just love the sound of children laughing and adults being silly right along with them. Family is so important and I cherish all the moments we have together :)

  100. Theme Builder Layout

    It was always so much fun to decorate our home when the kids were still living at home. This year I’m doing my best to make it look festive once again.

  101. Theme Builder Layout

    Beautiful post today! It reminds everyone what is important at a gathering at any time of year. Thanks!

  102. Theme Builder Layout

    I do love to entertain at the holidays, when the house is filled with our Christmas decorations. But this year, we’re getting ready to move. I’d love to be able to put the winnings to use in a new place!

  103. Theme Builder Layout

    Your post makes me want to plan a holiday party for all of our friends. I haven’t had one in years…maybe it’s time to start doing it again!

  104. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t host anything at my house for the holidays. We usually go to my Aunt’s house for our holiday gatherings. But, this year, I will be helping to host our Thanksgiving at my Mom’s house. I also help to host many of our ladies’ banquets and get-togethers at our church. I usually enjoy it… as long as I have a helper! I don’t think that I’m very creative, but I’m the one that is called upon for heading up our banquets. So, I am forced to stretch myself… :) Thank you for your tips!

  105. Theme Builder Layout

    I always get excited when I check my inbox and see an email update from you!! What a fabulous prize giveaway. Fingers crossed! Keep inspiring!

  106. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway. We are far from family, so holidays are a time for us to be together and enjoy cooking, watching movies, etc.

  107. Theme Builder Layout

    Oh if only I weren’t still in school! Every time November rolls around I want to take a few months off to maximize the holiday cheer! (I entered on the Reluctant Entertainer’s raffle)

  108. Theme Builder Layout

    I have only just begun hosting family gatherings (this is the second year my husband and I have lived together) but we are looking forward to having friends and family over for a small Christmas party! I would love to win since those prizes would make preparations so much easier!

  109. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain. My husband less so but we compromise. We usually host something small at least a couple times through the holiday season.

  110. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway! Thank you so much for the tips you share with us on a regular basis. My house would look so different if I didn’t read “The Inspired Room”. It’s just that – an inspiration!

  111. Theme Builder Layout

    Last year I hosted a cookie swap with some friends, and would love to do it again. This is great inspiration to get it scheduled! :)

  112. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the holidays, family & friends getting together. I have so many projects that were from the inspired room, Melissa you are the best!

  113. Theme Builder Layout

    This is my first year with your blog. I love your house and your dog! Thanks for all the great ideas and giveaways.~

  114. Theme Builder Layout

    I always try to remember too that it’s about the people and the relationships NOT the perfection I can get consumed with. Take a deep breath and ENJOY!

  115. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoy entertaining at the Holidays but the thing that holds me back the most is having $$ to do what I’d like for my guests.

  116. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain around the holidays. I try to keep it simple so it’s not so stressful. It’s always fun to have a house full of friends and family.

  117. Theme Builder Layout

    Love to entertain especially family. I try to have the house clean and welcoming and try not to stress over the rest.

  118. Theme Builder Layout

    Love finding new ideas and reading about Holiday entertaining as we always have a large Christmas get together!

  119. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  120. Theme Builder Layout

    I do Thanksgiving every year for family and I love it! Getting the house clean is the hardest part of all! I do all the cooking and could sure use these giveaways! Thank you!

  121. Theme Builder Layout

    I completely agree that the size of your space should not dictate whether or not you can entertain! I say this as we prepare to move from a small condo to a larger house..

  122. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining!

  123. Theme Builder Layout

    Love the ideas and love entertaining and yes it doesn’t matter the size of your house. I believe it is all about the heart of the home. I love your blog and follow you on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing.

  124. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway! This was an encouraging post for me. We used to throw parties all the time, but as time has gone by, I’ve shied away from them because I don’t think my home is in the best condition or decorated the way I want. I would like to get back in the celebratory groove. Thanks!

  125. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining. What often keeps me from entertaining, though, is keeping the house clean. With four children and two dogs, it’s no easy job!

  126. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining! I’m excited about the holidays!

  127. Theme Builder Layout

    I love this site and definitely awesome gifts. I look forward to future posts.

  128. Theme Builder Layout

    What an amazing giveaway. I love entertaining but sometimes I put it off because all the cleaning and prep work intimidates me. I’d love to get back in the groove. Thanks for the chance to win!

  129. Theme Builder Layout

    I do love parties, but I don’t host too many. My house is not the ideal place to have a party. It’s small. My sister does most of the entertaining when it comes to holiday parties. It’s just more practical. I do love making the food, though. I have no problem doing that. This is a fantastic giveaway! Thank you.

  130. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain. It’s a great way to get to know people but I often put it off because all the cleaning and prep work is a bit intimidating. Wish I could skip that part and get to the party! Thanks for the chance to win!

  131. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway! I was just saying that I want a kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas, so hope I win this one!!

  132. Theme Builder Layout

    What a lovely give-a-way! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  133. Theme Builder Layout

    When my husband and I bought our home the one thing I was most excited about was being able to host people. I think the thing that stops me at times is when I think about the workload that is involved in having a large gathering, it is always worth it so I try to look ahead to all the fun i’ll have with my guests instead.

  134. Theme Builder Layout

    We go to my mom’s on Thanksgiving, with everyone bringing side dishes, and then for the past few years we have hosted a family Christmas morning breakfast at our house. And I would love to entertain more than I do but I am really lacking some self-confidence in that area! And I am dealing with that perfectionism thing (issues from my past that still linger!) and sometimes get a little stressed and overwhelmed with the details but I’m working on that…I really am…and your blog has been helping me tremendously! ~~ Thank you so much for this give-away opportunity!

  135. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at our own home! I know some people find it stressful, but I absolutely LOVE it.

  136. Theme Builder Layout

    So awesome! Thanks for the giveaway.

  137. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE holiday entertaining! Our children, now grown, always bring 2 or 3 extra guests to our holiday meals. We love opening our home to their friends who have no where else to go on the holidays. We’ve had up to 20 people crammed around our dining room table! So festive and so much fun.

    One tip I have is start early in November reviewing your supplies. Check plates, flatware, serving ware, candles, table linens to be sure everything is in good repair and ready for use. I always find I need to replace something and it’s so much easier to do that early than at the last minute!

    Happy entertaining!!!

  138. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to entertain more but have a very small house right now. I do have small groups over and love it!

  139. Theme Builder Layout

    I love holiday entertaining, and am planning my annual cookie exchange, which takes place two weeks from Saturday! I always have it the first weekend in December, but this year, that weekend falls right after Thanksgiving, which is going to take my stress level up a notch. Trying to plan ahead, but we’re going out of town for Thanksgiving which is going to leave little time to prepare! But hey, I work best under pressure. ;-)

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    I don’t know, I’ve honestly never hosted. When I did live at my parents house, I hated when she hosted – it meant cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning for me : )

    I do think I will enjoy hosting one day.

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    I think the key to a great party (and being a great party guest) is being able to put others at ease. The lengths you go to should show others how much you care but not intidimate or seem ridiculous. You want to enjoy each other, not be overwhelmed. My rule is always: for every one food item I make myself, buy or have someone else contribute one. Then you can do a small number of things really well.
    …and a very clean bathroom. :)

  142. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the idea of entertaining, but when it comes down to doing it, my time seems to escape me and I feel like I have to get everything perfect and don’t have time to enjoy my guests. I seem to be cooking still when everyone arrives.

  143. Theme Builder Layout

    I love Christmas and all the celebrating. Love hosting parties!

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    I love opening our home up to other people to come in and enjoy food & fellowship. I’m comfortable with the food, but I’m a true introvert, so the fellowship piece is always a challenge for me. Knowing that I can show love to others helps me overcome my nerves!

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    This is our first year as newlyweds entertaining in our own home. I’m looking forward to it!

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    I love the holidays! Fall is my favorite and then the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas just get’s me in the mood to get together with family and friends, old and new! I have a HUGE family so getting together is different for each side of the family. My husband’s family are more quiet and soft spoken so the time with them is peaceful and serene, nice and sweet. My large family gatherings are a little more LOUD and chaotic and it just sets the tone for Christmas eve. Kids old and young can’t help but get excited. Who doesn’t like good food, fun and festivites?

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    I love to see all of your ideas on your site. It inspires me to do things in my own home. Thanks!

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    Great post and I’m glad you shared that no matter what size home you have, you can entertain successfully. Thanks for the giveaway!

  149. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to win this awesome giveaway!

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    Hi Melissa…Thanks for the introduction to Sandy’s wonderful blog…With you for Inspiration & Sandy for EnCouragement–maybe this Reluctant Entertainer will finally ‘party on’!

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    We are in the middle of redoing our living area, dining room and kitchen. I can not wait unitl it is done b/c I have tons of partys to plan next year. The mixer would look so great in my new kitchen!

  152. Theme Builder Layout

    great post! i love entertaining in my home….and over the years i have realized things don’t have to be perfectly arranged. It’s about the people.

  153. Theme Builder Layout

    We love entertaining and opening our house to family and friends. I love having a clean organized house, even if it only stays that way for a couple days:) We have young kids and love having families over and keeping it kid friendly.

  154. Theme Builder Layout

    I like the idea of entertaining. The reality of it leaves me a bit stressed, but it always works out in the end.

  155. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining, but I need to be better at prepping everything before people arrive. Last Thanksgiving, I barely got to sit down to eat!

  156. Theme Builder Layout

    I love getting together with friends and family, but absolutely hate getting my house ready for company. The perfectionist in me gets very distracted and then nothing gets done as it should. However, I have to keep reminding myself that my guests really don’t care if I cleaned out my refrigerator or buffed the water marks off of my hard wood floor! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    I’m looking forward to my new granddaughters’ first Christmas!

  158. Theme Builder Layout

    Who has started listening to holiday tunes already?!? <<This girl!

  159. Theme Builder Layout

    I want to have a Christmas party but I am scared of all of the work and that no one will come. I am also scared it would be boring.

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    I try to let the holiday goodies that I bake be the dessert I serve. That said, I also have a peanut butter pie recipe that friends freak out over, so sometimes I do that. :)

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    I adore entertaining for the holidays! There’s very little thy compares to a home overflowing with laughter and love. What can make it holiday entertaining challenging is that it’s such a busy time of year for all! I’ve foun that advance planning takes care of that, though. Happy Holidays!

  162. Theme Builder Layout

    I love your site! There’s always lots to see and it truly is inspiring!

  163. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoyed reading your ideas about entertaining. I also love entertaining during the holidays and need inspiration. Thanks!

  164. Theme Builder Layout

    We hosted our first big Thanksgiving last year and it was pretty stressful for me. I need to chill more!

  165. Theme Builder Layout

    I have been wanting a Kitchen Aid mixer for so long!

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    Great ideas, Melissa! I love to entertain, but do it on a much smaller scale. Thanks for the opportunity! ;)

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    WOW… what an amazing give away right here at the holidays!!!! Can’t wait to see some more holiday posts!!!! Thanks, Terri

  168. Theme Builder Layout

    I am so excited about this contest!
    I absolutely love being able to bring the family together and use the cherished family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Nutmeg Balls, Lane Cake, Rum Balls……..

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    Love your blog! so look forward to pictures and ideas! Thanks so much!

  170. Theme Builder Layout

    Love the great ideas! I love to entertain but I am just not creative, so to come to a blog like this and get some ideas and inspiration is wonderful!

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    My boyfriend and I are thinking about hosting our first Christmas party at our small condo for family and friends. I’ve always been nervous about it because of our cramped space. But this year I’m determined to get creative, move furniture, and do whatever it takes! I spend so much time decorating for the holidays…I always regret not having people over to enjoy it with us. This year will be different and your must-haves will be my go to list!

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    This is my favorite time of the year. I begin looking forward to it on Dec. 26th each year. (already waiting for the following year’s holidays to hurry up) The KitchenAide mixer was actually on my Christmas list last year and I didn’t receive one…just rolling that item over to this year’s list. Thanks for the awesome give-a-way opportunity. Blessings to you this Holiday Season.

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    OMG how have I not found this blog before! Love it!

  174. Theme Builder Layout

    I always over-think when entertaining! I’ve come to realize that in order to have fun I need to relax and just go with the flow!

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    This is my favorite time of year we have a party with about 30 people and play games and I always give my guests something to take home with them, it is either, cookies I made, candle or a craft I make for them. I love doing that.

    Cynthia

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    What a great list for entertaining! Thanks for all of your inspirational ideas!

  177. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for all your inspiration! Looking forward to getting our home ready for the holidays!

  178. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your decorating ideas! It inspires me to get busy on my own not so characteristic new home. Thank you! Happy Holidays!

  179. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain but I must admit I do get nervous and stressed ahead of time.

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    I love entertaining, but I’m still trying to master that step of planning the food so I don’t stress out for several days leading up to the event. I’ll get it someday! :)

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    I love entertaining! I wish I did it more – there aren’t enough weekends!

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    I always entertain at my house and love it!

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    Seating is important. I have older parents with arthritis and other health issues and a MIL who has parkinson;s so when I have a gathering seating is very important.

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    I LOVE to entertain around the holidays! I like the cooking, the decorating and the fellowship with family…and not only the winter holidays but Easter, Mothers’ Day and birthdays, as well.

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    I love entertaining during the Holidays, and throughout the year! You’re so right, Melissa, it’s not the size of your home that makes your parties/dinners successful. Making guests feel welcome, relaxed and special will ensure a great evening – and will have people waiting expectantly for their next invitation!
    Love your blog Melissa!

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    With 4 kids and 4 grandkids and 6 dogs between them our house is joyous chaos during the holidays! We could sure use these items this year–thanks for the opportunity!

  187. Theme Builder Layout

    Ohhh the holidays! How I love to entertain with family and friends!

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    YES, I love to entertain, anytime!

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    I would love to win! And i love your blog!

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    I love to entertain during the holidays. Even if it is just having some friends over for apps and drinks. Such a fantastic time of the year to open your home up :) xo Kristin

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    gearing up now for Thanksgiving entertaining! hope to fit a cookie exchange in there before Christmas!

  192. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining but it is so stressful (I can be a perfectionist) that I rarely do it. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

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    Love this comment.

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    I personally do not host any of our family gatherings our home is to small. But, we do go to four different gatherings and we love to try new re pies and old family favorites to take with and share. I have dreamed of owning a kitchen aid mixer for years. Would love to win this give away.

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    thanks for the giveaway! the only thing that keeps me from entertaining is the money it costs and the fact that i am not a cook. two pretty big things, if you ask me!

  196. Theme Builder Layout

    I love hosting get togethers. I love all the fall & winter holidays so I go all out & just have fun.

  197. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining is one of my favorite things during the Christmas season! Such an awesome giveaway!

  198. Theme Builder Layout

    What an awesome giveaway. Thanks. Love to entertain for the holidays and I would look really good in that apron!

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    Oh Pick me! This would be awesome.

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    I love entertaining! I love feeding people lol… You can’t come to my house and not have something to eat. The only thing keeping me back right now from fully enjoying it is the lack of funds since hubs lost his job…. Thankfully my friends and family don’t make it an issue. However, I know I can’t afford to do as much as I like or am accustomed doing.

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    We love to entertain, specially for the Holidays. My family lives about an hour away from us and every time they drop by we enjoy great memories around the kitchen counter!

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    I’m easing into the holidays this year…last year Dave, my husband, died and I didn’t even go through the motions. This year, perhaps a small gathering for the other folks in the valley but it will be a bring a dish to share type gathering.
    We used to host his company’s Christmas party and that was lots of fun…catered because his company paid for it and our big ole farmhouse managed quite nicely.
    One thing I do like even if I’m doing all the food and decorations…having someone to help serve, replenish and clean up; which means I get to have some enjoyment as well.
    Lovely giveaway and I’d be over the moon with the KitchenAide mixer!

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    The only thing keeping us from entertaining this year is that we just moved across the country, but we’re still planning to host some parties with family, and we’re looking forward to it!

  204. Theme Builder Layout

    I guess I can no longer use the excuse of my too small home for not doing any entertaining! Thanks for the tips.

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    Hope everyone has a Blessed Holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!

  206. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, but I’m such a perfectionist I drive myself (and my family) a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy. I also have trouble juggling all the details of preparing dishes to be ready for party time.

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    I don’t usually entertain. My house is small and full of Legos….and I only have one bathroom. I don’t know if this bothers anyone else but it drives me insane.

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    This will be my first year hosting Christmas celebrations at my. House. I love to decorate and bake so I look forward to getting into that over the next few week. feeling apprehensive and nervous though!

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    That would be great!

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    Your home looks lovely! Great tips. Thanks

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    perfect giveaway for the holidays!

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    I love holiday entertaining! My husband and I have started the annual tradition of hosting a big Christmas party, and knowing that people look forward to it really makes me happy! :) Thanks for a great giveaway!

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    Love your blog! Love to entertain for the holidays, we just moved across country and into a smaller condo, so entertaining will be a little different this year but it’s not the size of the place it’s who is there with you to celebrate !

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    I love entertaining over the holidays! We don’t have people to our house every year because we go back home every other year. But there’s nothing like having a big group together at your house for the holidays!

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    This is an awesome giveaway! Thank you for giving me the chance to win!

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    I love to entertain!

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    We always have a huge costume party for our friends around Halloween then reserve Thanksgiving for a family backpacking trip and Christmas for visiting or hosting our far flung family members.

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    Since I usually have Christmas at my house for all my relatives, I would be fantastic to have some new things to make the work easier! Love all the red that makes the season for festive!

  219. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain any time of the year but the holiday season is pretty special.

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    Looking forward to hosting a party with friends this year!

  221. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy having people over! And I can’t wait to get my house ready for Christmas.

  222. Theme Builder Layout

    i usually love entertaining around the holidays, but since we just moved to a new city i don’t know if it will happen this year!

  223. Theme Builder Layout

    I always come here when I need to look at something beautiful! How much better when there’s free stuff ! :)

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    Yes to this!

  225. Theme Builder Layout

    I think the time involved keeps from me entertaining more – I need to get over that and come up with a plan to streamline!

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    omgosh! I’m sitting at my desk CLAPPING away at the excitement. That kitchen aid is amazing!

    Every year for the last 7 years we’ve invited a few of our friends over (anywhere from 30 – 75) and have had a blast. We’re bumping into each other, sitting on top of each other, laughing and singing and caroling and enjoying the Christmas Spirit. We’ve always done an Ornament Exchange Game and a “Musical” present game. I have loved each party and am grateful for the memories.

    This year, at the strangest time of year, we will be moving to Colorado from NY, and won’t have the party, or the friends with us. It’s bitter sweet, but I look forward to new traditions, and new parties and new friends to laugh with and sing with and remember with.

    Thank you so much for your story, and your giveaway! So excited! <3

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    I love to entertain around the holidays and other times of the year, as well. Thanks for the chance to win.

  228. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the Holiday season. It’s the most fun time of the year. Lots of meeting friends and eating!

  229. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the holidays!! It is the best time of year to entertain, though I love to entertain any time of year. I don’t have it down to a science, so I just tend to wing it every time. I love your simple entertaining tips. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

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    What a fabulous give away… just in time for 2012 holidays! Thanks bunches…..

  231. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain but I do get sooo stressed out while preparing for the party.
    Thank goodness you give such great tips to help ease the stress! Once the guests arrive…I relax and have a great time!

  232. Theme Builder Layout

    I wish I loved to entertain but it stresses me out around the holidays!
    Thanks for chance to win!

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    Oh my how awesome. Boy how I could entertain with all of these fantastic appliances. I would be the best hostess. My family and friends wouldn’t know what to think….Thanks girls. This is so great.

  234. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain…the only thing that keeps me from it is my husbands crazy work schedule, but them I find ways to leave him out of it ; D

  235. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain!!!!! but my house is so small, I choose to only do it one time a year for my girls’ birthdays.

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    Oh, I love Christmas ~ the smells, the decorations, family, and the best reason for it all is Jesus. A little baby that came into this world so we would not have to experience death, hate, lonliness……. ever again. Thank you for this incredible opportunity to win.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    I have always enjoyed hosting any party. However, as my daughter has the big house now and the desire to use her hospitality gift I just show up with presents and a couple of dishes. Yes, passing the baton works for me. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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    Fabulous giveaway!

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    My husband and I typically host a holiday party each year. We live in the town where we grew up, and always have such a wonderful time hosting friends who have come home for the holidays! Plus, my house is never cleaner or smells as good as just before a party!

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    great blog

  241. Theme Builder Layout

    I like to entertain but my house is small so I think that is what keeps me from doing it more often.

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    I threw a wonderful tree trimming party for 13 in my studio apartment last year! I can’t wait to do it again.

  243. Theme Builder Layout

    What keeps me from entertaining, is traveling. This holiday, at the very least, I get to sleep in my own bed, in my new house, on Christmas Eve. *sigh*

  244. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to host a Christmas party every year:-) Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!!

  245. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain throughout the year. Its great to be apart of such a great network of friends to bounce ideas of eachother. There are so many great ideas and recipes to try.

  246. Theme Builder Layout

    wow, love the ideas from your home. Always looking for new inspiration.

  247. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining during the holidays. Only thing I dislike is all the cleaning involved. Thank you for giveaway! Happy Holidays!

  248. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to bake and I love my tired kitchen aid…And am still marveling over the tudor. What a lovely home you had and have.

  249. Theme Builder Layout

    Love to entertain I feel really comfortable doing party foods. Don’t do as much entertain as I use to due to lack of friens but do need to start having more sit down meals with extended family.

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    Fab giveaway, need to update and replace all my entertaining pieces and this are perfect

  251. Theme Builder Layout

    Holiday entertaining is so much fun! It is great to spend quality time in the kitchen with family and friends!

  252. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to host, but haven’t recently. Looking forward to our new house with lots of room to host all the time!

  253. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining over the holidays because with the house all decked out it feels more festive and special.

  254. Theme Builder Layout

    I love holiday entreating! I can’t wait do host my own one day. This is an AWESOME giveaway too, thank you so much for the opportunity!

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    Entertaining is so much fun!! I hope I win so I can entertain in style!

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    I’m definately “inspired”!! Lovely!! :)

  257. Theme Builder Layout

    How exciting would it be to win all of these awesome things! Especially in time for all sorts of holiday parties! Great giveaway!

  258. Theme Builder Layout

    Yes!! I love entertaining at home!! I am lucky to get lots of great holiday ideas and inspiration from your 2 posts!!!!!! Great contest!!! Thanks!!!! :)

  259. Theme Builder Layout

    Oh boy, I would have an ispired room if I could win this give away! Thank you for the opportunity!

  260. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having holiday parties all year long!

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    I enjoy practicing what we call radical hospitality at our home. It is a radical concept to many in this day and age to invite others into your home. I find having someone to my house cements the relationship in a unique and loving way. Thanks for the giveaway and the inspiring holiday ideas.

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    Oooohh, I’m getting so excited for holiday entertaining! I hope I win the giveaway. It would make getting ready for the party so much easier! =)

  263. Theme Builder Layout

    Having people over is what makes my house feel like and home … and my must have is a clean space!

  264. Theme Builder Layout

    We host a holiday party every year for our neighbors and I know what you mean about space. It always stresses me out that there isn’t enough, but somehow every year it turns out fine anyway. It’s such a fun time of year! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and chance to win!

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    This is my first time here. :) It’s beautiful. I’ll just poke around a bit, if you don’t mind…

  266. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to win this giveaway. I always host Christmas day at our house along with most of all the other holidays. Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do :)

  267. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveaway! Thanks for pulling this together! :) Would love that Kitchen Aid mixer!!

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    I love entertaining! I am so thankful for all the memories my family has. I’m always looking forward to any reason to get friends and family together.

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    A Kitchen-Aid mixer has been on my wish list FOREVER! I convinced my letter to Santa gets lost every year. Thanks for the chance to win it!

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    I do not have a URL or if I do, I have no idea how to find it! LOL..I am just a follower of your site Melissa and have been for several years…just love to see it when it appears on my computer. The kitchen re-do is wonderful…I bet you are very excited! I am in the midst of some re-doing myself and am getting tired of the drywall dust!! Looking forward to Christmas when it will be all done and I can have the family over for some cheer and great conversation…thanks for the chance to win (hopefully) those great prizes

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    We are rarely home for the holiday as we travel to visit family, but I do love to host when I get the chance!

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    I LOVE to entertain around the holidays and really anytime! However; my husband and I just moved into a tiny apartment where he just started seminary in a brand new city and I am suddenly reluctant to entertain. I think I am nervous that our home is too small and that our few and random new friends wont mix. I need to just give it a try!

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    I like hosting one big dinner during the holidays.. The house cleanup is my least favorite part but it’s worth it to see my family and friends all come together during the holidays. My go-to dessert is a traditional Engligh trifle.

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    Oh how I love to entertain at the holidays. It is always so much fun. That is why I am excited to be entertaining tonight at my home with our Bunco group. A fun time with wonderful women that just love hanging with other women, relaxing over great conversation and having fun playing a game.

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    I enjoy entertaining but with 3 young boys I sometimes panic that our house isn’t “enough”. But once I remember people are there to enjoy us and not our scattered hot wheels cars I’m fine.

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    I love the holidays so much- they seem to slip away so quickly if I’m not careful, so I really love to immerse myself in celebrating and baking special treats and decorating every day! Your home looks beautiful! Thank you for the opportunity to win this amazing package!

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    How lovely that your must-haves are not things!

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    I love to make my Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle! Yum! Thanks for this fabulous give away!

  279. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining small groups of people at a time. Our house isn’t huge, and my husband and I have several different groups of friends, so it helps keep things intimate and fun! This giveaway would definitely make it even better :)

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    We love to host Thanksgiving dinner here, and we have all but three times in 26 years of marriage. We also have friends or family over to help decorate our tree, and we try to have at least one or two small dinner parties during the holidays.

    Thanks,
    Diane

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    I love entertaining family on all the holidays but I don’t entertain more friends and acquaintances because I’m shy and it makes me very nervous. Great giveaway.
    Linda O.

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    I love to entertain but I do worry about the food somewhat. I’m surprised how picky people can be about their food dislikes but I just try to go with it. Probably the EASIEST holiday desert would be Pumpkin Poke Cake but I prefer to take the time to make an assorted amount of cookies.

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    Since I’m an interior decorator, I love any reason to change up the house decor! Christmas parties are my favorite. A warm, glowing fire, candles, treats, family and friends…what could be more wonderful than that? Yes, it can be stressful if you feel rushed or the need to impress someone. But if you can manage to plan ahead and do a bit each day, it becomes a fun way to get in the holiday mood. As for the need to impress anyone, well, that will always get us into trouble! Remembering the reason for the season will help keep it all in perspective. Invite people into our hearts, not just our homes, and we will truly be ‘keeping Christmas’. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

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    You have such beautiful ideas – thanks for sharing!

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    Melissa,
    I very much enjoy reading your blog and seeing all your wonderful decorating ideas. I’m subscriber to both yours and Sandy’s blogs. I’m still working on being able to entertain withour reluctance. Some times are better than others, but I do find I have more fun and enjoy my guess more when I can lighten up a little. I’d guess you’d say I’m still a work in progress.
    Sue in Fl.

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    How fun! (Although I still can not believe the holidays are upon us!) I especially like your qualifying adverb “reasonably” with clean;)

  287. Theme Builder Layout

    Great site! Love your tips and decor concepts. I host Christmas at our home for our family and LOVE to have a house full of people, laughter, and great food!

  288. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, especially during the holidays. My hesitation/stress usually comes from wanting everything to look picture perfect when instead I should be focusing on the people that I am inviting into my home.

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    What a beautiful blog site. Love it.

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    I enjoys both yours and Sandy’d blogs very much. Almost as much as I love to entertain! thanks for the great ideas!
    ~Nancy

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    I love to entertain at the holidays! We always have a brunch early in December and it’s so enjoyable and helps everyone get in the holiday mode!

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    I’m hosting my husband’s office Christmas party. I’d love to win!

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    Your blog is simply my favorite and so aptly named! I am indeed inspired and always end up clicking through to your inspirations and on from there.. :) Entertaining at the holidays makes decorating sooooo much more fun and agree having a deadline of sorts to wrap up all the little projects is rewarding too.

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    My husband and I love to entertain. He is a chef and I love to work on the menu with him and prepare the house for guests. We love to open our home to others :)

  295. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining at the holidays and it usually consists of family parties.

  296. Theme Builder Layout

    Love to entertain! The kids are enjoying it too…love the traditions that we are passing down.

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    I love entertaining for the holidays, too. I would love to win a red Kitchen Aid Mixer. It’s the perfect holiday color.

  298. Theme Builder Layout

    Great holiday entertaining ideas! Would love to win this contest… thanks!

  299. Theme Builder Layout

    Really liked your 7 top must-haves for holiday entertaining!!

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    Hi! I am coming over via RE. I was immediately skeptical by the title of your post because lots of blogs have some pretentious ideas. But I really love your simple but helpful tips. I should have trusted Sandy. Thanks! Can’t wait to get to look around.

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    Some years our family is so busy with outside Christmas activities that I tend to not entertain, adding to the busyness. Our “home” time is for relaxing. But other years I get very excited to share our home with others. We live on 8 1/2 acres of woods 10 miles from town so it can be a place for city dwellers to unwind or enjoy the beauty of winter in nature.

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    Thank you for the fabulous giveaway. I love to entertain during the holidays!

  303. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your site. I check it out often. Love the apron and would enjoy having a mixer! Would make holiday baking a breeze.

  304. Theme Builder Layout

    I’ve found that the older I’ve gotten, the more I enjoy entertaining. The best part is when the guest start arriving, you get to relax and begin enjoying their company.

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    We love entertaining — I guess the only thing that keeps us from enjoying it more is being overly conscience of specialty dietary restrictions of some guests, which is becoming more and more common.
    Fabulous Ideas here and What a GREAT Giveaway!! Thank you! I follow you and Sandy religiously!!
    Happy Holidays!

  306. Theme Builder Layout

    I love baking at Christmas time! And I love being the home that everyone comes to. Thank you for the amazing giveaway. :D

  307. Theme Builder Layout

    We love parties at the holidays! Heck we love parties anytime! :) So great of you to share the love. :)

  308. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining during the holidays! What a fun giveaway!

  309. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays! having family over all the kids ,it just makes me smile!

  310. Theme Builder Layout

    This giveaway looks amazing! Thanks for hosting it.

  311. Theme Builder Layout

    Haven’t entertained much, but would love to!

  312. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, anytime! We’re having a party tomorrow with half of the house unfinished( party scheduled a while back and fixing up of living room not done yet). Oh well, we will have fun anyway!

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    I would love to win this-it would come in handy for our christmas morning breakfast! Thanks!

  314. Theme Builder Layout

    My family and I are moving into our new home on Dec. 21stand I cannot wait to start entertaining for family and our new friends and neighbors. I would also loe a few new items to spruce up the new home! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    We enjoy hosting especially cooking over the fire in fireplace. Last year near Christmas when my in laws came over we threaded marinated shrimp on skewers and placed them over the fire.

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    What a wonderful prize!

  317. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining over the holidays!

  318. Theme Builder Layout

    wow..love this giveaway. Thanks for giving a chance to win these goodies..:)

  319. Theme Builder Layout

    I get very stressed entertaining and have been working on taking it easy and stop worrying. I know I don’t look around other people’s homes and think bad thoughts so why would guests at my home think that. Dim the lights, light the candles and the dust bunnies go away!

    Thanks for the chance at this great giveaway between you and Sandy!

  320. Theme Builder Layout

    When I had the time to host dinners or brunches around the holidays, I really enjoyed it. I have my eyes on that mixer and that gift card. :) and that apron.. and well, they would all be welcomed additions to my arsenal.

  321. Theme Builder Layout

    I’ve never had my own place to entertain in, so I’m really looking forward to buying our first house and having a big holiday party! We are hoping to be in by Christmastime.

  322. Theme Builder Layout

    Have SO MUCH going on for the holidays, it’s way too much fun! Thanks for your helpful ideas and Happy Holidays.

  323. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining and even around the holidays…I just keep it simple and relaxed so as not to get over stressed…this holiday is a bit different as my daughter is going in tomorrow morning for ACL surgery on her knee and will be re-couperating. We almost always celebrate the holidays at my inlaws because my MIL loves to host. They are in Switzerland until the night before TG so I will have to help get things ready and play nurse to my girl….could be interesting, but will be great!

  324. Theme Builder Layout

    I like to entertain, but don’t often do it for two reasons. 1) we live in the middle of no where and people don’t like to travel to our house and 2) it’s not so easy with two little ones. I do however love to bake and cook, so I take those items to other gatherings! (Plus, it means I can cook and not stress the mess!)

  325. Theme Builder Layout

    What I love about holiday entertaining is it means my kids are all home! I try to have things I know each of them like to eat and make them feel special. I don’t spend a lot of time on the house other than trying to make sure it is clean b/c once they all arrive no one would notice anyway!

  326. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway! My boarders love me trying new dessert recipes!

  327. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining around the holidays, and just about anytime of year! I enjoy the challenge of menu planning, bringing different groups of people together, and even the endless days of preparation…the reward being able to participate, and watch it all unfold!

  328. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having family & friends over during the Holidays. I like to keep my house festive and fun so that it is very welcoming. Although when it comes to the big day we always go to family member’s home which is fine with me.

  329. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t enterain at Christmas. I want to but we wont have lots of friends and we have so many family things to attend it seems like just one more thing. Maybe when my kids get older and I can host their friends and parents – I like kids parties better anyway.

  330. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having others over and especially for the holidays!
    Great give-away!!!

    Lynn G.

  331. Theme Builder Layout

    Hope to win!!!

  332. Theme Builder Layout

    What a wonderful giveaway!

  333. Theme Builder Layout

    Your beautiful posts are inspiring me and getting me so excited about the holiday season!

  334. Theme Builder Layout

    I would LOVE a new Kitchaid Mixer…RED, please!!!!

  335. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE ENTERTAINING! :) love the giveaway!

  336. Theme Builder Layout

    I find the most stressful part of entertaining is getting the house in shape, cleaning and then having time to prepare everything! It always turns out fine, and each time becomes easier.

  337. Theme Builder Layout

    I just linked over from Reluctant Entertainer, and I can’t wait to explore your blog! I love to entertain during the holidays and all year, and thanks to Sandy and her blog I am trying to lighten up and not feel like everything has to be “perfect”!

  338. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain all year long, but the holidays make it especially fun. I agree with your entertaining tips. A clean house is key to a good time!

  339. Theme Builder Layout

    Fabulous post, fabulous giveaway! Yay!! I would love to attend one of your parties :)
    I do like to entertain but don’t, ever. I’m not sure why? I am planning my first ever Creative Workshop where I will get to decorate, cook and teach til my hearts content, but I it is not in my home. I think I am always worried about space I guess?
    Blessings to you,
    Sherri

  340. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining for the holidays! My husband and I are still the babies in our families, though, so we don’t often get to host. When we do, though, my ridiculously large Pottery Barn collection comes in handy (I have an addiction!). I hope I win the gift card! :)

  341. Theme Builder Layout

    Holiday parties are the best! I love having people over I like going to paries it all adds to celebrating. If I have too much going on I might carry out part of it and do one homemade thing, keeps it special but easy.

  342. Theme Builder Layout

    Oooh, I’d love a new Kitchen Aid!!

  343. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway…and a great reminder to get back into entertaining. We’ve let it slide the last few years with young children, and I miss it.

  344. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE Holiday entertaining! Enjoying our home filled with soft music, wintry scents, delicious food and all the people we love is a little slice of Heaven!

  345. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you thank you for mentioning the places to sit thing. That’s always the first thing I tell people who ask me for tips (followed closely by food). I am so excited for holiday entertaining!

  346. Theme Builder Layout

    Love entertaining! I’m hosting 3 other families for Thanksgiving as they don’t have any other family close by. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  347. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain around our table, loving relationships, that is what life is about.

  348. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, but haven’t had a holiday party in years. I have very fond memories of my parents annual Christmas Open House. It was such a great time!!

  349. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having guests for the holidays. It is a great time to make your home sparkle and feel warm and friendly. I would love to win the red Kitchen Aid mixer, all my other appliances are red. My son would also like it if I won . He will be the lucky duck that gets my white one. Just can’t justify buying a new one.

  350. Theme Builder Layout

    Such a great giveaway!

  351. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays. We have done neighborhood open houses, church parties, family get togethers.

  352. Theme Builder Layout

    Great gifts! They would certainly make holiday entertaining easier.

  353. Theme Builder Layout

    I find having people over can be stressful worrying about all the details, but I never regret doing it in the end!

  354. Theme Builder Layout

    What an exciting giveaway! Love this post and all your creative ideas – you are the best!!!

  355. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE to entertain during the Holidays. However, it can get stressful.

  356. Theme Builder Layout

    I consider myself the hostess with the mostess since remodeling our whole house :) we entertain frequently. Thanks for the chance at a giveaway!

  357. Theme Builder Layout

    Melissa….GREAT tips!

  358. Theme Builder Layout

    Now that my children are married, I actually find myself entertaining less instead of more, but still enjoy having fun with friends and family when possible. Easy meals and light desserts with football or music. Our ‘Thanksgiving’ will be the Sunday after and be a Tree Trimming party.

  359. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining, but what stresses me out is getting everything ready beforehand. I fret about my house not being clean enough, having a food disaster, making sure everyone has fun, etc. but I am really trying to get past this :)

  360. Theme Builder Layout

    Melissa, these are 7 great tips for entertaining. The 8th should be have fun!

  361. Theme Builder Layout

    What a fabulous giveaway! Thank you! Yes, I love entertaining at the holidays, but when we and most of our friends have little ones, cramming 10 little ones into a very small house just seems not-so-doable at times.

  362. Theme Builder Layout

    I do like to entertain, but in small, manageable groups so that it’s easier to be creative and try new recipes without disastrous results.

  363. Theme Builder Layout

    To win this would be like having Santa back in my life! :)

  364. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to entertain, especially at the holidays! We have a big open house and invite everyone we know! It’s cramped, but fun.

  365. Theme Builder Layout

    we are hosting our small group christmas party this year. always a bunch of fun!

  366. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you for this great giveaway — I like to entertain .. not a big crowd tho but small enough to keep it more personal so everybody can talk with everybody.

  367. Theme Builder Layout

    I usually am to anxious to host parties, but I wouldn’t mind small little get togethers. But my place is usually to small for people to move freely around and I never know how or what to decorate or what to serve. So I usually help cohost at someone else’s place and take care of the desserts.

  368. Theme Builder Layout

    We love having people over, usually for casual gatherings. Thanks for entering me in the drawing!

  369. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoy entertaining at all times of the year! It is a great joy to be able to open my home to family and friends, especially during the Holidays!

  370. Theme Builder Layout

    Love holiday decorating.

  371. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to enjoy entertaining. Family gatherings I can handle but as for having friends over for anything other than the most casual of gatherings – I am at a loss.

  372. Theme Builder Layout

    What a fun giveaway! I wouldl love to host a Christmas gathering.

  373. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the Holidays! The only thing holding me back is our tiny 900 square foot house! We have mostly small gatherings.

  374. Theme Builder Layout

    Just found this blog today! Thanks for all the great tips! Can’t wait to learn even more on here! (Crossing my fingers for the KA Mixer!)

  375. Theme Builder Layout

    I love baking for the holidays! Thanks for the great giveaway!!

  376. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain around the holidays! We are hosting an open house this year with 80 invites!

  377. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining! The key is to just relax and keep it simple.

  378. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks so much for the chance to win an essential part of starting my daughter’s dream to own a cupcakery. We love holiday recipes and cooking for family!

  379. Theme Builder Layout

    I agree! It is the people together that make the holiday! Love the give away! Thanks so much!!!

  380. Theme Builder Layout

    Even with the stress that it inevitably brings, I love entertaining! There’s just something about bringing everyone together for the holidays that brings joy no matter how much prep work it takes!

  381. Theme Builder Layout

    I love this, such great tips for entertaining! Thanks! :)

  382. Theme Builder Layout

    We have our whole family over on Christmas Eve! It’s nice because when it’s over we don’t have to go anywhere.

  383. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining in any space is always fun, but big parties you actually feel prepared for are always a little less stressful (fun new tools don’t hurt either). Great giveaway!

  384. Theme Builder Layout

    I really struggle at the holidays and entertaining is part of it. Some Smarty Pants once told me, “In a crisis we become more of what we are.” So for me, that means that the holidays are when all my issues flare like a Yule Log and I have to pray for insight, the ability to identify and name my distorted thinking, and PEACE on EARTH, at least inside my head. Reading your blog CALMS me and shows me a beautiful path to ENJOYING the holidays, RELAXING about my imperfect home and food and self, and looking for ways to get my focus off myself ;<) Thanks!

  385. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain and having just moved in to a custom-built house that is PERFECT for entertaining, I am SO looking forward to decorating for Christmas and hosting a party. All I need is a kitchenaid mixer to make some awesome cookies! :)

  386. Theme Builder Layout

    wow could I give these items to a friend of mine who is going through chemo….welll I might keep the Pottery Barn card for myself!

  387. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining but live in a new city with not as many friends! Would love to meet more people so I can bring them together for good food!

  388. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining for the holidays. We usually host my families Christmas. Love to have everyone close :)

  389. Theme Builder Layout

    Looks so warm and inviting. I love the Holidays.

  390. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE Christmas get-togethers!

  391. Theme Builder Layout

    I like having people over for dinner on a Sunday afternoon, but don’t really like “holiday” entertaining that much, as I’m not that much in to holiday decorating, [Is that heresy?] and don’t feel like I would meet other people’s expectations. I like to keep things pretty simple.

  392. Theme Builder Layout

    Our home is small but you have inspired me to think about hosting a Christmas or New Years open house. Thank you.

  393. Theme Builder Layout

    Fun Contest! Count me in!!!

  394. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at Christmas, we do a Christmas eve post church get together. It is casual, cocktail filled and oh so fun. Best of all it is appetizers and a pot luck. No stress.

  395. Theme Builder Layout

    What a fantastic giveaway!

  396. Theme Builder Layout

    I enjoy entertaining as long as I have had several days to deep clean and prepare. I care for a lot of unwanted cats; therefore I always have a lot of daily cleaning. Winter months mean more cats inside, more often… during the holiday cooking and baking. I have heavy duty roll around racks with shallow shelves to put baked items on and cover. You learn to be resourceful and creative when you have to combine your loves! =)

  397. Theme Builder Layout

    We love having parties in our home – in fact, just had a wonderful 1st birthday party for our grandbaby last weekend! Next is planning a party for a group of church friends. Would love to win these items to help out!

  398. Theme Builder Layout

    Amazing give-away!!! Thank you so much!

  399. Theme Builder Layout

    We bake lots o goodies for our neighbors to enjoy. This would be awesome to win!

  400. Theme Builder Layout

    Really love this info as we have a small space and love to entertain. I couldn’t agree more. And BTW candles, with dim light, are not only good for ambiance but also to cover a little extra dust, not that I would know of course! :)

  401. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the holidays! Every year we have my husband’s family over for Thanksgiving. We haven’t hosted a Christmas party in awhile, but we love spending time with our families.

    What a great giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to win. :)

  402. Theme Builder Layout

    I neeeeed that kitchen aid stand mixer! Fingers crossed!

  403. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain & love to do so during the holidays. I always have family ChristmS Day even though my mom still hosts the Christmas Eve party at her house. What an exciting giveaway with the holidays coming. Or … any time got that matter:))

  404. Theme Builder Layout

    I love it all! Casual low-key with kids invited and more dressy formal cocktail party. I am so blessed when I see others enjoying themselves in my home.

  405. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having friends/family over. My family are a bunch of wacos lol we can have fun anytime.

  406. Theme Builder Layout

    Love all. Did all except twitting!

  407. Theme Builder Layout

    We’re getting ready to have a big Christmas party at our small house so I really appreciate your tips!

  408. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for a chance to win this great giveaway!

  409. Theme Builder Layout

    This is a great giveaway! Thanks :)

  410. Theme Builder Layout

    Holiday entertaining is one of my favorite things to do! The pretty Christmas decorations are already up–might as well have a party, right? :)

  411. Theme Builder Layout

    I think the only requirements for entertaining are a willing spirit and welcoming attitude – the house doesn’t matter at all (although it should be clean!)

  412. Theme Builder Layout

    The music is definitely essential and all the other ideas are great too!

  413. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining, but don’t have the natural grace for it that some people do. I’m slowly learning to be a good hostess though!

  414. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to host a holiday party, but when my family comes from out of state, it’s a boatload of work from morning till night for a few days. Maybe one day I’ll host the party of my dreams.

  415. Theme Builder Layout

    You are so right about loving to entertain regardless of the size of your home. Its the people, the time together and the memories that matter.

  416. Theme Builder Layout

    awesome giveaway Melissa! off to visit sandy and say hello! i never win anything, but i still have *hope*! love you girl!

  417. Theme Builder Layout

    Great tips! We will be hosting Christmas for my family next year so I bookmarked this page to look back on!

  418. Theme Builder Layout

    Love all the great ideas on your blog.

  419. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays. Awesome give-away.

  420. Theme Builder Layout

    There is something so special about having a holiday filled with family and friends enjoying one another while being surrounded by fabulous food, drinks, music and decor. I look forward to it every year, especially now that my kiddos are older (pre-teens! yikes!) and take pride in their creative contributions of “holiday love.”

    Melissa, I adore your blog. I have found it inspiring on many levels. Thank you and God bless you and yours.

  421. Theme Builder Layout

    Our home is the go to house for family get togethers and I would not have it any other way!

  422. Theme Builder Layout

    It’s a lot of work but I love to entertain–especially this time of year!!

  423. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain at the holidays and don’t let it stress me out. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

  424. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your blog it was one of the first I started following. Christmas day is at our house this year and would love the prizes.

  425. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the great advice and the giveaway.

  426. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your ideas. I’m trying to learn to decorate and entertain. great inspiration

  427. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, especially around the holidays! I especially enjoy finding something special that my 6 yr daughter can help with so she feels special too :)

  428. Theme Builder Layout

    I do love to entertain during the holidays. We don’t do it too often usually because ranch work and marketing our cattle that time of year takes so much time, but when I get the chance it is so enjoyable.

  429. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your blog! So many great ideas!

  430. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at the holidays …it gives me a chance to make all of my favorite recipes.

  431. Theme Builder Layout

    Love to entertain, but sometimes feel like I’m in it alone getting ready. I wish I could be less stressed about everything and enjoy it more.

  432. Theme Builder Layout

    What a fantastic giveaway! You girls are truly wonderful. I do love entertaining at Christmas. Our home is hosting my school’s faculty Christmas party for the zillionth time and we are the spot for my side of the family’s Christmas party. When you love red, you can’t help but decorate and entertain for the holidays.

  433. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t enjoy hosting parties. I wish I did! I just get too stressed about it all. I appreciate your encouragement though!

  434. Theme Builder Layout

    Awesome giveaway! I LOVE decorating and entertaining for the holidays! My cookie exchange has become my most favorite tradition.

  435. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain for the holidays, but I must admit that perfectionism sets in and I am embarrassed to have people over unless my house is perfect and the food is perfect. Sigh. So, I do not entertain as often as I would like.

  436. Theme Builder Layout

    I would love to win – I have a huge family that gets together for the holidays and this would come in handy

  437. Theme Builder Layout

    way too confusing so i just hope I’m eligible. Thanks for the chance.

  438. Theme Builder Layout

    Love to cook for people but fear the house ‘isn’t perfect yet..”

  439. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway!! Keeping my fingers crossed:)

  440. Theme Builder Layout

    We like to be entertained on Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve and Entertaining on Christmas Day. On Christmas we like to stay home and have family over, so the kids can play with their new stuff and we just lounge and enjoy the day and each other.

  441. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveaway. You had some good tips for entertaining also.

  442. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining…great giveaway!

  443. Theme Builder Layout

    Love your planning tips! I am not in a season of life where I can entertain with a lot of gusto, but I always try to keep a clean bathroom! ha ha! :)

  444. Theme Builder Layout

    I AM a reluctant entertainer and hate that! I need to relax and realize everything does not have to be perfect……………it’s all about friends, family and having a great time together!

  445. Theme Builder Layout

    i love entertaining and all of your prizes would make my parties sooo much better.
    thank you for this opportunity.
    i love your ideas!!!

  446. Theme Builder Layout

    I am a reluctant entertainer for sure, and I know that if I won all those goodies I’d be ready to whip up a holiday party! Love your blog; so inspiring!

  447. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having people over especially for the holidays, but it can be overwhelming. Your list sums up the necessities.

  448. Theme Builder Layout

    I do like to have people over, but we are really struggling getting to know people up here. THey call it the “City” Nice where strangers are so kind to the “City Name” Freeze where you all but get frost bite of you suggest getting together! So weird. So in my effort to reach out to our neighbors I will be delivering them a bag of Christmas colored candy – M&M’s or the like.

  449. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE entertaining during the holidays! I just like to have the food at least planned out with everything else I am flexible

  450. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveaway! Thank you.

  451. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to have lots of special times with friends and family during the holidays, food, and fun!

  452. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining, making everything look nice for my guests.

  453. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining during the holidays. The only thing that keeps me from enjoying it is the fact that I have three kids under the age of 5 who go along behind me and undo everything I’ve done. :) I’ve had to learn to let go and be okay with everything not being perfect. :)

  454. Theme Builder Layout

    thanks for the chance to win!

  455. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining is something I used to do regularly and haven’t since I moved into this home. Thanks for the reminder!

  456. Theme Builder Layout

    My 2 favorite things from your list are the clean house and the food plan. I stress out if the house is even a little dirty and I hate being tied to the kitchen. So I always have a food plan that is less of me and more of party. Thanks for the giveaway!

  457. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain at the holidays, but I must admit that I get stressed about it very easily. It’s hard to keep the house clean for guests with little ones running around!

  458. Theme Builder Layout

    I do love having a gathering in our home, but I tend to get too stressed out preparing beforehand–I’m too much of a perfectionist!

  459. Theme Builder Layout

    I always worry that my home is not pretty enough when I entertain, but at the end of every party, I remember that good friends and good food were the only things that mattered!

  460. Theme Builder Layout

    Great list! I stress often over the size of our house and the updates that are needed- yet I never regret opening our home to our friends and family. Funny thing- they don’t care that my bathrooms are circa 1965!

  461. Theme Builder Layout

    This year two big parties one week apart…plus 14 overnight Christmas Eve…I hope I am organized and what doesn’t work don’t get stressed! Enjoy yourself.
    Great Giveaway…thanks for sharing so much of yourself!
    Diana

  462. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain at the holidays because my home is beautifully decorated; I suppose if you go to all that work, it’s fun for others to enjoy it :). The place I get bogged down is cleaning, though, because THIS is when I discover all the dust on baseboards, light fixtures, etc., lol. Spring cleaning in December!

    I’d love to win, Melissa…my stand mixer has bent beaters and I can’t find replacements. I use it anyway, but the racket is something terrible.

    thanks, friend!! :)

  463. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m looking forward to celebrating the holidays with our 2.5 year old granddaughter this year.

  464. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining during the holidays. I am looking forward to to opening our home to friends and family…..making lots of new memories.

  465. Theme Builder Layout

    I am an introvert, so I try to like entertaining, but it exhausts me and I’m happy when everyone leaves at the end of the night/day.

  466. Theme Builder Layout

    I also love making guests feel special! I love that you refer to it as a “love language” – I never thought of it in that way!

  467. Theme Builder Layout

    I need all the entertaining help I can get!

  468. Theme Builder Layout

    WOW – thanks for the lovely giveaway opportunity!

  469. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to have my family for Christmas!!!!

  470. Theme Builder Layout

    Totally amazing giveaway and just in time to help during the holiday season! YOU ROCK!

  471. Theme Builder Layout

    We have family all over the US along with their extended relatives. My daughter and I spend the day making 5 kinds of chocolate candy and share with those nearby, as well as sending packages. It fills the day of celebration without them and we have a great time together.

  472. Theme Builder Layout

    Love the simple ideas, a place to set drinks, I think we so often get caught up in theBIG stuff we forget about simple comforts.

  473. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to spend time with family and friends at Christmas.

  474. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m a pastor’s wife and our home is often a place where our family, church family and friends gather. One thing I’ve never done is host a Christmas Party. I love being hospitable but never feel like I do it as well as I would like. This year I’m going to jump over the hurdle and “do it”. Your blog inspires me to open my home even more, so I’m going to invite our church family to a Christmas Open House in our home! Thanks for your inspiration!

  475. Theme Builder Layout

    I love Holiday entertaining! I love this giveaway and I have wanted a KitchenAid for a long time. I really hope I can win, so awesome! Thank you and your fantastic Blog.
    cjbrick@ymail.com

  476. Theme Builder Layout

    I am an event planner so I love to entertain but I do find my 1300 sf house a challenge – mainly in finding places for everyone to sit. Summer seems to be the best for me as we have a very large outside space making it much easier for entertaining at home during that season.

  477. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for sharing! Entertaining can take some effort, but I always feel it’s worth it to get family and friends together.

  478. Theme Builder Layout

    I love piano music at parties!!

  479. Theme Builder Layout

    Great tips and a great giveaway!!

  480. Theme Builder Layout

    We like to have small groups of family & friends over. With a toddler, getting the house to look reasonably cheerio-free is no small task and usually my biggest stress, but since hubs is the chef in the family, I get to enjoy our company while he impresses with the food :)

  481. Theme Builder Layout

    Its hard for me to enjoy entertaining because of my expectations for my home – i want everything to be perfect! But, our home is usually THE place for many get togethers during the holidays and throughout the year!

  482. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love having people over to my house to entertain!

  483. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at the holidays! So many memories…

  484. Theme Builder Layout

    Love the tips and your blog!

  485. Theme Builder Layout

    Melissa – Love your site!! I do love to entertain – but I always have the last bit of panic, I planned to much, not enough time (no matter how early I start), why did I plan this but in the end all is good and then at the end of the evening glad I did it but then glad it’s over and ready for someone to host the next party. I have found everyone appreciates your effort and attention that you give them – that is most rewarding.

  486. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain! It’s so great to have friends and family over and I love to bake!

  487. Theme Builder Layout

    I absolutely love entertaining at this time of year and it’s a good thing! All five boys have their birthdays in and among Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a constant party here!

  488. Theme Builder Layout

    We usually have more people over during the holidays than any other time of year. It’s fun!!

  489. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining. Although my husband and I are the youngest in our families our house is the general gathering spot for both sides.

  490. Theme Builder Layout

    I always find myself so stressed prior to hosting. But once the party begins, I have a great time. Your tips are very helpful!

  491. Theme Builder Layout

    I commented on Reluctant Entertainer and then ran over here and discovered I like your blog too. I shall follow you after this. I like your list….and love to entertain….sometimes it is spontaneous so being always a bit ready and relaxed to having people see your everyday life is good! Hope I win. I need a mixer and the rest will make my Christmas really special.

  492. Theme Builder Layout

    I REALLY enjoy your blog. Thanks!

  493. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays. I just wish it was a longer season! Between concerts for the kids at both school and church, plus other holiday parties and events, the calendar gets SO FULL!!

  494. Theme Builder Layout

    thank you for the give away

  495. Theme Builder Layout

    Just found this site today. Looking forward to learning from you!

  496. Theme Builder Layout

    We have an annual boys vs girls Trivial Pursuit game during the holidays. It gets pretty competitive!

  497. Theme Builder Layout

    I adore entertaining at the Holdidays,This is my favorite time of the year and it is so much fun to bake and decorate for visits with families and friends !

  498. Theme Builder Layout

    love this site, lots of great ideas and tips. thank you

  499. Theme Builder Layout

    For the holiday season, it used to be about my Dad’s birthday on XMas Eve, but never was a fan of the holidays as I don’t like latkes and never did figure out how to make the mini jelly doughnuts that they do in Israel for the holidays.

  500. Theme Builder Layout

    ‘Manageable’ is the operative word for the plan… a must!

  501. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining any time of year! It’s like one of you said, it’s our love language. What holds me back some times is a lack of energy to make everything perfect, so I appreciate what you said about everything not having to be perfect.

  502. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy holiday entertaining, once the event begins. I get stressed right beforehand, panicking that no one will show up!

  503. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining at any time of the year. However the holidays are always wonderful, more people that you rarely get to see are around. And sometimes if things are 100% sparkling, they are at least clean and tidy.
    I’d rather spend my time with my loved ones then scrubbing the floors! :)

  504. Theme Builder Layout

    love holiday lights and candles :)

  505. Theme Builder Layout

    i love entertaining…..any time, but especially at holidays. we do dessert and coffee parties. so fun.

  506. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, as well!! Not only for the holidays, but year round!! I love to try new recipes, and share them with my friends!

  507. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining in small groups usually with a casual dinner so I can have some special time with my friends and family during what is usually a busy holiday season.

  508. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays– lots of baking, lots of eating, lots of rest. We always make Thanksgiving into a long weekend– Friday is spent relaxing at home, enjoying the bliss after the binge. I completely agree with your post. There are very few requirements for throwing successful parties. We live in a small apartment that’s not quite 800 sq ft, and we have had several successful parties so far. If you’re happy, they’re happy.

  509. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain, hate the cleaning!

  510. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having people over and trying to keep it simple. The focus is on the people, not showing off your stuff. That said, I still like to make it kind of nice with the things I already have.

  511. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m not a big entertainer…although I do help with gatherings at my mom’s house. I don’t like cleaning for everyone to come over, the headache of trying to get everything ready in time and worrying what everyone thinks of my house. lol Thanks for the chance!

  512. Theme Builder Layout

    Wow
    I agree with so many of the comments ! Happy holidays! I love the k I s s method. Keep it simple stupid!

  513. Theme Builder Layout

    I love your blog! So many great ideas…you have been an inspiration for my basement remodel. Thank you for sharing!

  514. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m excited about this giveaway…it’s dreamy! lol :) Thank you. I LOVE hosting. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I love gathering in homes together. Your blog has been one of my TOPS for a few years now. I appreciate how you meet gentle love with quality homemaking. <3

  515. Theme Builder Layout

    I love having people in our home, it is truly what makes the holidays for me. We usually host a family Christmas Eve party, and it has left us with so many beautiful memories. Thanks for the tips!

  516. Theme Builder Layout

    I LOVE entertaining and get giddy thinking about my Christmas party! Love to celebrate!

  517. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining! And I definitely look forward to sprucing up the house and having people over! :)

    Shannon

  518. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the idea for pillows… works in a pinch if you didn’t know that many folks were coming! :)

  519. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t entertain too much, my house just doesn’t have a good layout but we are looking to remodel and open things up a bit and once that happens I plan on hosting a lot more often.

  520. Theme Builder Layout

    Fabulous giveaway!

  521. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining during the holidays. I have been tempted to lose the enjoyment when things don’t get prepared in time or I start wishing I had gotten to more of those decorating want-to-do’s.

  522. Theme Builder Layout

    I just told my husband today that I want to have a big Christmas party this year, but I also knew that it would probably stress me out. I think it’s because I think everything has to be “perfect” – whatever that is. When I just relax and enjoy the people then it’s much more fun.

  523. Theme Builder Layout

    What a lovely gift for the holidays, with such tools I can host parties every day!
    Left comments on both blogs, I guess I am in! :) I love entertaining with family and friends, I love cooking and I always enjoy when my friends “prize” me with empty plates after. :)

  524. Theme Builder Layout

    Love the items. I am taking a year off from my annual holiday desset party, takes a day to bake over 20 desserts, then we mail any cookie or brownie leftovers to our friends in the military overseas.

  525. Theme Builder Layout

    I love entertaining…especially for family. It’s what the holidays are all about!

  526. Theme Builder Layout

    Love what you are doing to help others to have the perfect party. I also love your website. Thanks for the help.

  527. Theme Builder Layout

    Those are great, simple suggestions. Thank you!

  528. Theme Builder Layout

    Yes! We love to entertain! I like to prepare a menu that I can do a little each night the week before so the day of is the final clean and putting things together. Sometimes I even get done before guests arrive and get to sit down and relax for a few minutes. Best thing I’ve done is to select a cut glass pattern that I can pick up at second hand stores, I find them so often I now have beautiful matching dishes to pull out for entertaining.

  529. Theme Builder Layout

    Would love to win the giveaway. Christmas is such a fun time of year.

  530. Theme Builder Layout

    This would be so great to help wow our guests at our house warming party for our new house!

  531. Theme Builder Layout

    What an wonderful holiday giveaway! Thanks so much for a chance at winning! Amy M.

  532. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you for the opportunity to enter your fabulous giveaway! Perfect timing right before the holiday baking kicks off.

  533. Theme Builder Layout

    I just found your blog today. I like to entertain during the fall/winter holidays. I’m looking for new ideas for table decoration and love the jingle bell candles.

  534. Theme Builder Layout

    Very sweet giveaway Melissa! Thank you

  535. Theme Builder Layout

    I promise to entertain if I win!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  536. Theme Builder Layout

    Great prizes.

  537. Theme Builder Layout

    what a great giveaway! you rock!

  538. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain! If only my family lived close so I could actually get the opportunity more often.

  539. Theme Builder Layout

    I don’t mind the entertaining but I don’t like the cleaning before hand to get ready! Especially with four kids! ;)

  540. Theme Builder Layout

    Such a great giveaway!

  541. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain family and friends at this time of year! Hoping to win that KA!

  542. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to have people over! I usually have a big 4th of July party because our house is small and it helps to be outside. I’ll have a small get together around the holidays and we watch Christmas movies.

  543. Theme Builder Layout

    I love the holidays and entertaining friends and family. Thanks for wonderful contest!

  544. Theme Builder Layout

    Great website, and, Wow!–generous giveaway! Thank you!

  545. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveway….I’m not a natural entertainer. But would like to get better at it.

  546. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the consistently helpful and interesting tips!

  547. Theme Builder Layout

    What an exciting giveaway! I fret over every detail when I entertain–I’m working on that!–but I love to do it and people always seem to enjoy themselves so it’s worth it. And I always cook WAY TOO MUCH food. But that’s better than not enough…and party leftovers are always a bonus!

  548. Theme Builder Layout

    Wonderful and inspiring tips for Christmas entertaining! Beautiful decorations!

  549. Theme Builder Layout

    Great giveway! I would love to win. Always enjoy your blog!

  550. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining is becoming a lost art. In our fast paced lives fewer people are willing to take the time. Thank you for inspiring us. It’s always worth the effort and the memories live on forever <3

  551. Theme Builder Layout

    Great site! Love to entertain but need more confidence, I am inspired by this site so I will get some tips and go for it !!!!

  552. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain. The best entertaining advice I’ve recieved is to remember that true hospitality is about your guest feeling comfortable by being warm, welcoming and laid back. Relationships, relationships, relationships. It is not about having everything perfect. Pressure is off = entertaining is fun!

  553. Theme Builder Layout

    I just came across your blog through pinterest and am so glad I found it. It’s a keeper!

  554. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain during the holidays but have a dinky little duplex apartment. Thanks for sharing about your small condo and its challenges. :) I may have to take you up on some of the tips and plan a Christmas party this year! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  555. Theme Builder Layout

    Entertaining is work to me, but I do love being surrounded by those I love!

  556. Theme Builder Layout

    Found you because of the reluctant entertainer! (And stumbled over there because of pinterest :-) ) To your 7 must haves I have one of my own- some games that large OR small groups of people may find enjoyable to play or even just watch. Of course, that depends on the group you are hosting but for our set games are always a hit.

  557. Theme Builder Layout

    What a great giveaway! I’m up for trying rafflecoptor! I just signed up!

  558. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain but haven’t much since my son was born. It’s hard to have parties when you have a toddler and our house is not very large either.

  559. Theme Builder Layout

    We love to entertain, but it gets difficult to do around the holidays with everyone’s busy schedule. Love doing it when it works out though!

  560. Theme Builder Layout

    I haven’t entertained for the holidays since we got marriedmla year. It really scares me to provide foe everyone and make everyone happy. This year, we are staying home for thanksgiving, but traveling for Christmas.

  561. Theme Builder Layout

    I do enjoy entertaining adn am learning the let things that can make it less stressful.

  562. Theme Builder Layout

    I like entertaining but get very stressed out beforehand. I feel like I’m a horrible housekeeper so I worry obessively about how clean the house is.

  563. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain on the holidays!! It is so fun to have your house full of people and cheer and holiday spirit!

  564. Theme Builder Layout

    I have been wanting one of those big stand mixers, and it would be wonderful to win one! Thanks for such a great giveaway!

  565. Theme Builder Layout

    thank you for the giveaway!! such a lovely gesture!!

  566. Theme Builder Layout

    I used to entertain a lot. Health got in the way but this year I am going to start entertaining again. I will go small. Kitchenaid, Potterybarn (from you lovely ladies) and Hip Hostess would certainly help me make the cookies I send to the church, and in decorated tins with Pottery Barn items!! Would also help me stay excited about entertaining, even if I get tired…. and stylish in a great apron! So excited!! Hope I win the giveaway. Thanks for giving me a boost today!!!

  567. Theme Builder Layout

    Fabulous giveaway! xoxo

  568. Theme Builder Layout

    My hospitality hang up is my home. We live in a very small apartment. There is not much room for entertaining. I really desire to entertain and am looking for ways to entertain in a small space! :D

  569. Theme Builder Layout

    Do love the homey warmth of holiday gatherings…have to fight the battle of hectic schedules, long to-do lists, and over-the-top expectations on myself to make things special and meaningful. Thank you for the joint giveaway….I am an avid follower of you and Sandy both!

  570. Theme Builder Layout

    I love hosting, but our house is small so we can only have a few people over. I actually prefer it that way!

  571. Theme Builder Layout

    I used to have a tree in every room of my home and loved it. Now I live in a smaller place and wasn’t as enthused but reading your blog has made me rethink what I’ve been doing. Smaller is no excuse for not decorating LARGE. Thanks for the reminder.

  572. Theme Builder Layout

    We entertain frequently, and our holiday party is something people have commented on for years. Not because it’s big or fancy, but we work really hard to make sure the people are a good “mix” and everyone is comfortable. We sold our own “big house” three years ago and I really wondered if we would ever have the same great holiday feel for our annual party, but it’s been no different! It really is about the people!

  573. Theme Builder Layout

    I like to entertain, but with working full-time and having a toddler, I don’t find a lot of time for cleaning our big house, so I’m reluctant to invite people over for that reason. Consequently we only entertain a couple times a year.

  574. Theme Builder Layout

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  575. Theme Builder Layout

    I’m not very comfortable with the responsibility of entertaining; however, if folks just drop by, I’m a fabulous hostess! If I have time to plan an event, I worry that my house isn’t clean enough or that food I make may not turn out well (I’m not sure why I stress over that–because I’ve never really had any major disasters)…it’s just not worth the anxiety. Could you please add me to your guest list ;)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  576. Theme Builder Layout

    We usually have our holiday parties the week between Christmas and New Years. That seems when the house is the cleanest and everyone’s ready to relax from all of the pre-Christmas events. Thanks for the great website!

  577. Theme Builder Layout

    This year we are in a new home in a new state so entertaining for the Holidays will be different. Only one of our children’s family will be with us, so it will be more low key and less to do. We are looking forward to decorating in this home for the first time. Thank you for this very lovey and generous give away…

  578. Theme Builder Layout

    It’s alot of work just getting the house clean! Holidays are a fun time to get together!

  579. Theme Builder Layout

    I love to entertain…Have my friends over for dinner or just desert and coffee. This time of the year is my favorite and I love learning new ideas all the time. I would love a kitchen mixer…It has been a great dream of mine!!!

  580. Theme Builder Layout

    Love this giveaway. So excited!!

  581. Theme Builder Layout

    Thank you! I would love to win!

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