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Holiday celebrations aren’t just a way to make memories, they’re an opportunity to show off your entertaining skills—and style. This season we’re embracing the unexpected: Nontraditional motifs, fresh color palettes, and rich and moody florals will make any intimate gathering feel curated not conventional. From choosing the right mantel decor to deciding on chic cocktail necessities, we asked three Domino editors to share their secrets for creating the coolest hangout space and the CB2 pieces that make it possible. 

Sophie Miura, Commerce Director

Think in Zones
I like to create small informal hubs that encourage guests to gather. For example: Make a grazing table of crudo, nuts, and homemade dip in nesting bowls for anyone who is peckish in between meals; place dried orange rounds and rosemary sprigs on a bar cart so friends can add their own DIY garnishes to cocktails; and group games on a play mat for the littlest members of the party. 

Bauble Bar
Ornaments can be so sculptural and beautiful on their own. Finish off wrapped presents with a single handpicked bauble (I’m loving frosted glass in moss and lavender). Or use them in place of napkin rings as a little memento for guests to take home.

Let It Glow
I prefer to buy things that I can use year-round, so I tend to reach for simple white or cream taper candles in place of overly festive trinkets. Dial up the ambience by styling clusters of them (opt for odd numbers) at varying heights to create a centerpiece or entryway moment.

Megan West, Head of Brand Innovation and Creative Studio

Ode to Olfactory 
When I was young, my mom always had scented candles burning when people were about to come over to our house, and I’ve carried on that tradition ever since. This basil candle is a fresh garden take on expected holiday pine scents; I love how it sets a festive mood. I also like to put out a nice scented hand wash and lotion in the bathroom for guests to combat dry winter skin. Bonus: They smell great.

Help Yourself 
There’s a reason people say “make yourself at home”—hosting is all about helping your guests feel comfortable. I like to clear off a credenza for a DIY bar section with pour-yourself drinks and fancy coupes, so people can serve themselves as they need a refill. This also creates a fun way for them to connect with one another.

Prep School
While working at Martha Stewart, I learned that hosting is all about prep work. The night before a party, I’ll make a cheerful holiday ikebana arrangement using a floral frog and footed bowl. Then a few hours before guests arrive, I batch Negronis in a chic glass carafe so they have time to chill in the fridge; this takes a load off making individual cocktails.

Edelawit Hussein, Producer

Festive Fun
I have a large fireplace mantel and a ton of shelving that I like to style (and restyle) way too often. With winter approaching, I prefer to swap out some vases and bowls for more seasonal decorative items and woodsy candles to bring the outdoors in. These small touches allow me to be in the holiday spirit when hosting guests without turning my apartment into the house from Home Alone.

Oh, Honey
My family often brings honey back from Ethiopia. Since it’s coming straight from the source, that means it’s typically in an unlabeled plastic container wrapped in two more bags. This honey pot brings a beautiful touch for both storage and displaying it on the table for cozy winter breakfasts and nightly teas with family staying overnight. I grew up eating every meal family-style with various dishes and spreads laid out, and these pieces fit right in.

Seasonal Swaps
For me the first step in making the transition from summer to autumn is changing the color scheme in my home. I swap out my sheer off-white curtains for earth-toned ones; change my Tunisian terracotta plates for metallic styles; and replace fresh flowers with faux pampas arrangements. I want guests to feel like they’re discovering something new every time they come over.