Ideas for New Year’s Eve? If you like to organize a party at home and invite your family and closest friends, remember that during the holidays the bon-ton rules at the table are more important than ever. Preparing an elegant mise en place, using these few little tricks during the evening and gifting something special to your guests will make your party look great.
Let’s start from the end, or better, from the gift that you will deliver at the moment of greetings. The meaning of the French word “Cadeaux” is precisely “gift” or “present”. Searching through the dictionary, it turns out that it was related to the homages made by men to ladies, hence the current meaning. We can therefore consider a cadeaux as a tribute to the pleasure we feel for the company of our guests and to the memory of special moments we spent together.
The etiquette suggests preparing small gift boxes to be delivered at the end of the reception, or to have them found directly on the table before dinner. Whichever mode you prefer depends very much on the type of gift you have chosen: you can either keep the surprise effect until the end if you have big-sized gits, while the second choice is more suitable for small objects, that can also serve as placeholders. Remember, in fact, that one of the basic principles of bon-ton to set the table is functionality: the table must be used comfortably, so make sure to leave the space to place bottles and serve dishes while placing the decorative elements as a centrepiece and placeholders.
Now, how to choose the perfect gift for your guests? Gourmet ideas such as homemade biscuit sachets, olive oil, jars of spices or flavoured salt are always appreciated, as well as aromatic plants, natural soaps or scented candles. The best thing, however, is choosing a cadeaux whose meaning is linked to you and to what unites you to your loved ones. For New Year’s reception, you can take advantage of free time that the festive period allows to make your homemade gifts. Alternatively, going around Christmas markets you will surely find craft items and original ideas that will suit you.
And now, let’s kick off our New Year’s reception. It is duty of the hosts to welcome their guests and making them feel welcome, arranging the coats in a dedicated area with hangers suitable for collecting overcoats, scarves and hats. To give the evening a more dynamic twist, consider replacing the classic appetizers with a welcome cocktail and snacks to be enjoyed standing before you sit down at the table. In this way you will also allow the latecomers to arrive and settle, and the hostess will be able to check the last details in the kitchen without her absence becoming too noticeable.
For an impeccable table, the etiquette recommends a perfectly ironed tablecloth made of a high quality fabric. However, you can also go for a more modern solution, setting the table with runners or place mats if you have a table with a top made in precious materials such as crystal or SuperMarble by Bontempi Casa.
The result will however be very elegant and of great impact. Pay attention to the size of the table: remember that, between one placée and another, the ideal distance is about 50 centimetres, measured from the centre of the plate of each one. Same rule for choosing the centrepiece: large flower arrangements and candles require large tables, that leave the centre empty; otherwise, better to opt for small flower jars or other items such as pine cones or candles to be distributed on the length of the table.
Finally, the basic rule of bon-ton at the table: a general harmony should be created between all the elements laid out, from glasses to cutlery through the placemats, just like the one that will reign among the diners. Happy New Year!