Solutions: Fun serving items make the holiday festive


Entertaining requires a lot of work, but it also involves a long list of party supplies, from paper plates and napkins, to utensils and serving pieces.

When a friend brought me a basket of goodies as a lovely hostess gift, it inspired me in more ways than one.

First, I realized that the items I use strictly for entertaining purposes are taking up valuable real estate in my kitchen cabinets.

Her thoughtful selection also served as a reminder that no one has to settle for the basics, like standard-issue toothpicks, when livelier varieties can be found to spice up your special occasion.

The decorative items I received included drink stirrers with tinsel tops and picks with chalkboard labels to mark the foods you serve, which is something my friend does at her legendary gatherings. This strategy can be helpful for guests and it prevents the host from having to repeat the name of the same piece of cheese all night long.

Speaking of cheese, the same friend once brought me a marble cheeseboard on another occasion and it’s become a staple when I entertain. It’s big enough to hold a few different varieties with a bowl of olives or nuts beside them.

Last month, I won a set of pretty little bowls at a bridal shower, which makes me want to switch things up a bit instead of relying on the same old serving pieces every time I entertain.

And I finally took one of my favorite wine crates out of storage that happens to have a hinged lid to hide my stash of party supplies in a spot near the kitchen where they will still be convenient without taking up space that should be reserved for everyday dishes.

During the holidays, you might consider a hostess gift with an entertaining theme that consists of paper plates and napkins and other useful items like corkscrews and more. Better yet, put them all in a decorative container for them to keep their party supplies where they can easily be found.

Pick up pieces such as these wherever you shop, like Plum Market with locations in West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Township and Ann Arbor, where they carry a unique selection of paper products and other party supplies that can brighten up your own celebration or be brought to someone else’s home through the holidays and beyond.

Drugstore chains can also yield surprising finds like the individual cookie decorating kits I stumbled upon that kept the kids busy and let them get creative during a recent gathering at my house. They make great hostess gifts for families with little ones too.

It’s a good time to stock up on these items as more people entertain the week between Christmas and New Year’s in order to accommodate schedule conflicts.

And it’s always a good time to deliver a custom gift basket with an entertaining theme for those hosting a holiday party or any special occasion.

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at