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5 Holiday Entertaining Ideas For Small & Safe Gatherings This Season

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Even if you're fortunate enough to be able to spend your holidays with loved ones this year, you'll likely be celebrating a bit differently. That said, you can gather safely while keeping things as festive (and safe) as ever with a couple key holiday entertaining ideas from the pros.

Celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss, who's created epic affairs for the Kardashians (including their notorious annual holiday party), Justin and Hailey Bieber, and Diana Ross — to name just a few — recently partnered with LG Electronics (as well as Meals on Wheels) to throw a virtual dinner party with Billy Porter, Alex Rodriguez, and more, plus a little help from LG's appliances, obviously. Between the craft cocktails and spotless serveware, the collaboration got curious minds wondering how the entertaining expert might suggest keeping things both safe and intimate for those gathering this year (even if only virtually).

Weiss' sage advice ranges from food sharing tips to table setting suggestions, and can help even your socially distant dinner parties feel so much more chic. Ahead, find the five entertaining ideas you can implement this year to create a soirée that's stylish enough for the stars while keeping you and your guests as safe as possible.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas: Go Al Fresco (If Possible)

"If weather permits, dine outside under a winter wonderland of décor," Weiss suggests. "You can sprinkle your backyard in twinkle lights, set up a s’mores station by a fire pit and serve individual platters or bags of goodies, and of course pipe in music fitting of the mood." If the weather's on the chilly side where you are, the entertaining expert says you can pre-wash blankets for each guest/household. You can place them at each table setting for guests to have on hand during dinner.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas: Create A Personalized Table Setting

"In my house I love a fabulous table setting using family heirlooms and fine china, even on a Tuesday, but especially around the holidays," says Weiss. "I have a lot of fun with it because this is one area where the party planner in me gets to play. This year, some of my family has been living with me so I’ll probably start a new tradition by letting them assist." One thing you won't see on one of her beautifully decorated tables? Spotty glasses and silverware, and she credits her LG QuadWash for keeping every piece of serveware sparkling.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas: Opt For Individual Servings Over Family Style

A major event trend over the past several years has been food stations, but given the potential contamination factor in food sharing (á la family style platters), Weiss suggests plating individually this year as a precaution. That said, you can still get the feeling of a food station by creating individual but interactive culinary options. "This could be single-guest cheese boards at each place setting or an ice cream sundae bar delivered to each seat for dessert," she says. As a bonus, thoughtful touches like this feel super personalized.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas: Stick With Crowd Pleasers

To ensure a home run — and suit a variety of palates — Weiss always serves crowd-pleasing cocktails and dishes during holiday celebrations. "You never want to be too off-the-wall with your menu planning when you’re trying to serve a larger group," she says. "[Think] seasonal pies, hearty soups like butternut squash, warm drinks with cider variations, and fan favorite sides like [mashed] potatoes."

Holiday Entertaining Ideas: Coordinate Menus/Themes For Virtual Gatherings

Celebrating over Zoom? Weiss says that one way to connect with loved ones who are far away is by coordinating and collaborating on a menu ahead of time. "This could be done by sending each household the same menu to prepare so each guest is partaking in the same dishes or host a progressive dinner where each family is responsible for making one course and 'sharing' it virtually [...] while you eat," she explains. "You could also plan a festive dress code, send favors or gifts ahead of time, and decorate the spaces you plan to film in. Anything that allows the group to participate in something together will make the event feel more festive and fun."