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Holiday Party Prep with Jenni Kayne

Take-home gifts add a special touch.

Senior Home and Style Editor
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Photography by: Lauren Moore

Jenni Kayne knows how to throw a party. The designer covers gorgeous get-togethers on her blog Rip & Tan and loves hosting inspired soirees showcasing her distinct California-cool aesthetic.  So it’s no surprise that being eight months pregnant is not going to stop this hostess from throwing a warm holiday get-together (including homemade gifts for her guest, just watch the video below!).  Here, she shares her top holiday entertaining tips.

 

[READ: About the time Martha and Jenni Kayne spent the afternoon crafting]
neutral winter place setting
Photography by: Courtesy of Jenni Kayne

Find your theme


Kayne starts planning a party around one element she is currently loving, like wooden chargers, and builds from there. That object or color dictates the whole mood and theme of the table. “In the past, I’ve been inspired by Victoria Morris pottery, cutlery from Canvas Home, or the color palette of a floral arrangement from one of my favorite florists,” she says.

 

[GET INSPIRED: By These Gorgeous Floral Arrangements]
red and green winter holiday table details
Photography by: Lauren Moore

Set the mood
 

Though she’s all about creating Instagram-worthy setups, Kayne aims to go beyond just the visuals for her gatherings. She wants guests to have a sensory experience. She carefully puts together a playlist to set the mood and lights a woodsy candle, such Musk from her new home line. “It's a blend of amber and sandalwood that creates a relaxing atmosphere, which I find great for winter parties,” she says. Also key: the perfect pairing of guests on the seating chart. “I love introducing friends to one another and bringing together people who may not have seen each other in a long time,” says Kayne. 

 

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Photography by: Nicki Sebastian Photography

Decorate with seasonal elements 
 

“I always aim to update my decor in a way that feels seasonal and festive,” says Kayne. This year, she brought in a small Christmas tree from Hollyflora, which complements her natural and classic style. “ I love its simplicity, light green color, and how festive it makes our living room feel,” she says. Another seasonal touch: garlands and wreaths that the designer made with friend and longtime crafting partner Amy Blessing. Kayne and Blessings used magnolia leaves, Noble fir, eucalyptus, and flowers for their pretty creations, which are hanging in the designer's living and dining room.
 
 
[CHECK OUT: Jenni Kayne and Amy Blessing's Crafting Trip To Lake Tahoe]
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Photography by: Courtesy of Jenni Kayne

End the night with a thoughtful parting gift
 

“I love to send my guests home with a small gift,” says Kayne. For winter parties she likes giving herbal fire starters, gingerbread mixes, or mulling spices. “They're a fun activity as you’re getting ready for a party, and a way for your guests to take a little piece of the evening home with them,” she says. “To me, it makes the evening just a bit more special.” 

 

Get in the holiday spirit: Watch Jenni Kayne make her sweet take-away gifts in this exclusive video.