Easy and Elegant Entertaining Tips for the Holidays
Southern Living celebrates the holidays with their annual holiday book, Christmas All Through The South. The book brings to life the joyful memories, enduring traditions, and warmth inherent to every Southern holiday celebration and tradition. The book features Southern recipes for every festive occasion, elegant decorations for your home, and gracious hospitality put together by the Southern Living team. Kimberly is the Editor-at-Large for Southern Living, she contributes to the magazine, shares the message of the magazine, and contributes to special projects such as this with decorating ideas and more.
When decorating your house for the holidays, Kimberly says you do not have to make it a stressful or overwhelming experience. She says, “Start with one element of the décor and pick a scheme that works for you.”
- Decorate a Holiday Fireplace Mantel – showcase your fireplace mantel with greenery such as fir tree branches, glass ornaments, silver votives or candlesticks. Hang cream colored stockings from the mantle.
- Make a Holiday Wreath – create a holiday wreath with magnolia leaves
- Create a Moss and Votive Name Card Holder – create a simple name card holder for your guests that will compliment your table setting.
- Embellish Your Table – create a table setting with beautiful, rustic, soft -color palette of silver, soft brown and green that goes beyond the typical Christmas red and green.
DECORATING CAKE AND COOKIES
- Decorate Christmas Cookies - when decorating cookies with children Kimberly says keep the design simple. She says don’t try to put so many different toppings on your cookies. Instead focus on one or two of them. For example, Spiced Sorghum Snowflake cookies with Royal Icing
- White Cake with Peppermint Frosting - Southern Living has had a white cake on the cover every December for 20 years. “It’s a tradition,” says Southern Living Editor in Chief Sid Evans. “But some people just don’t have time to bake during the holidays, so we’re delighted to make our signature dessert available by mail for the first time.” Southern Living’s iconic white cake featured on its December cover is now available for purchase from the magazine’s official bakery partner, Eilenberger’s based in Palestine, TX. The Eilenberger’s offer includes a lemon coconut cake featured on the magazine’s 2006 cover and a peppermint red velvet that graced the 1998 cover. It can be ordered online at https://www.eilenbergerbakery.com/southernliving or by calling 1-800-831-2544.
Kimberly says her parents taught her the importance of remembering the “reason for the season” at Christmas. As a family they would always attend the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Her brother and sister would always try to be the last ones to blow out their candle. On Christmas morning, Kimberly’s father would always read the Christmas story from the Bible before presents were opened. She says her dad still continues this tradition today. Christmas is a busy time, but Kimberly encourages families to do the same.“Take a moment to remember what the season is all about,” shares Kimberly. Whether you go to a church service or take time for prayer she believes it is important to remember Jesus through the holidays. Kimberly reminds her children each year that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.
Another Christmas tradition Kimberly remembers as a child is that her mom always put an orange in the toe of her stocking each year. This tradition was passed down by her grandmother. The orange represents the original story of St. Nicholas – the saint who was so generous. Kimberly continues to carry his tradition forward with her own children.
Kimberly recalls when she was growing up her grandmother never hid beautiful items away when she came over. Instead, she learned from her grandmother the “no-nos” were to look at, but not to touch. She says, “It is important to use your beautiful things that have been passed down to you by family members. You should not hide them away in a cabinet.” You can make your guests feel special during the holidays or any time of the year by using your fine china.
In keeping with the traditions of the past, Kimberly says it is important to also incorporate some new traditions for the next generation. When her son was a baby her grandmother who did needlework made him a stocking. Her grandmother’s eyes do not allow her to do the needlework any longer. However, she taught Kimberly how to do needlework who has carried on this tradition by making a stocking for her nephew and her own daughter.
Kimberly grew up in Dallas, Texas. Her mom had pretty dishes and linens and her friends would always borrow them for special occasions. Kimberly realized there was no place in town where you could rent pretty pieces for events. She told her mom that they should start charging people and so they did. Kimberly started a party rental business which she ran for 3 years. When she was 24, Kimberly had the opportunity to write her first book on entertaining. Then one day a friend of hers told her a Southern lifestyle magazine was looking for an entertaining expert. After a 9 month application process, Kimberly finally met with the editors and was offered the job. Today she represents the magazine on television and in the media. She also contributes to the magazine regularly. Kimberly says, “She is thankful to be able to make a profession out of something she is passionate about.”