Creating a Warm and Welcoming Home for Christmas

Entertaining expert Camille Styles will demonstrate easy to make treats and share tips on how you can decorate your home with sparkle and warmth for Christmas.
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Article Summary: 
Entertaining expert Camille Styles will demonstrate easy to make treats and share tips on how you can decorate your home with sparkle and warmth for Christmas.
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Camille says she associates winter with romance.  That’s because Adam proposed before Christmas 5 years ago and a few days after the engagement, they hopped on a flight to England to meet his British family.  Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, Camille and Adam prepare their home for the upcoming Christmas celebrations.  Camille has always loved beautiful things.  “I cooked and entertained all my friends through college,” she says.  After interning for a public relations firm in New York after graduation, she stumbled into the world of event planning.  Soon after that, Camille moved to Austin and got her first job at a catering company which specialized in planning private and corporate events.

In 2009, Camille started her own company and started blogging on the side as a creative outlet.  “I just wanted a place to express my own perspective on entertaining,” says Camille.  She had no idea that readers would find her blog interesting.  “So many people are looking for easy, simple things for entertaining,” she says.  That was 5 years ago and blogging is what she has been doing full-time ever since.  The book is simply an outgrowth of the blog but the content in the book is original.  “As a journalism major, I liked to flesh things out and write more.”  The book is formatted in seasons.  “That’s how I approach entertaining and cooking,” says Camille.  “I like to use what’s in the back yard or what’s offered at the farmer’s market.” 

She connects with all 5 senses when ushering in the winter season.  Transform a room into a cozy haven by layering materials.  Try wool rugs on a bare wood floor and faux fur throws on armchairs and couches.  Fill the house with cozy scents by burning a balsam fir candle and placing ginger soap next to the sink.  A bay-leaf garland on the fireplace, clove-studded oranges in a bowl by the entryway and a pine wreath on the door all impart lovely scents of winter.  Camille uses metallic to evoke the sparkling, celebratory feel of the season.  “Whatever hues you prefer, when it comes to holiday décor, I’m a firm beliver in choosing a palette and sticking to it,” she says.  Camille loves the comfort foods of childhood and familiar flavors that always make an appearance on the holiday table, but she looks for ways to create new family taste traditions of her own.

EASY AND SIMPLE

“Crostinis are a fancy way of saying grilled bread topped with yummy ingredients,” says Camille.  Depending on the season, she changes the toppings for easy, foolproof rustic bread, lightly charred and infused with garlic and olive oil.

Camille shows three easy crostini recipes from her book on page 177.  “There’s no better 5-minute appetizer than crostinis,” she says. 

White Bean and Radish Crostini: mashed white beans, minced garlic, olive oil, sliced radishes, and parsley

Pepper and Olive Crostini: olive tapenade, sliced peppers, and pine nuts

Zucchini and Mint Crostini: ribbon-sliced zucchini, chopped almonds, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, torn mint leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil.

When Camille went to England for the first time, she was introduced to Christmas Crackers.  It’s a cardboard tube filled with treats, wrapped in pretty paper and placed at each setting on the table.  Use a calligraphy pen or marker to write everyone’s name on the Christmas Cracker.  “They look really cute and serve the purpose of a place card.”

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