This post is in partnership with Amara.
Are you the Hosting Household for holiday festivities? Every year around this time, the chatter begins amongst our friends about who will be in town (most of us) and who will be down to lounge in pajamas all day and eat pie (yes, please). Often times, we’ll gather in one home on Thanksgiving, and we’ll move to another the following day for leftovers and a movie! Fun fact: One of our very favorite memories in this home was hosting Thanksgiving the same week that our first wave of renovation wrapped up (we literally made a table so that there a place to dine!), and on that Thursday morning, our heat went out and we had a plumbing issue, causing us to lose access to water for hours. I was in tears at the time – while our out-of-town guests helped us to prepare a turkey with no running water in a cold house – but in the end, it all came together in the eleventh hour. It was a comedy of errors, and every year, we say to each other, remember when?
This year, we’ll be heading to a friend’s home, but we know that often times, you may be house hopping or hosting yourself! While that has the potential to feel overwhelming, we wanted to share an easy, fun and colorful idea to host a holiday brunch – a charcuterie board! And by starting earlier in the day, you’re immediately creating a more casual environment with less pressure. We recently gave our theory a test run, and it was everything we wished for – low key, relaxed and delicious. To get our table ready, we were thrilled to team up with Amara, a lifestyle brand with a wide collection of the most gorgeous home wares. Let’s show you what we did! Psst: There’s a giveaway at the end of this post for ya, too!
Creating the Menu
We loved the idea of creating a charcuterie platter menu, which is essentially a glorified meat and cheese plate. Aside from hard boiling a handful of eggs and chopping up our fruits and veggies, there is no cooking involved! We’ve created smaller versions like this for evening cocktails and last minute get-togethers, so all we did was kick it up a notch. We didn’t even begin prepping the food until 2 hours before our guests were set to arrive!
For our holiday brunch, we landed on an assortment of salami, prosciutto and ham, salty and mild cheeses, raw fruits and vegetables (peeled carrots, kumato tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, dried apples, grapes and strawberries), creamy hard boiled eggs and an assortment of crusty bread and crackers. To accompany the food, we filled small bowls with brown mustard, spicy jam, hummus and butter. Everything was easily gathered from the produce and deli sections of our local grocery store. We also pulled together a sweeter tray, but more on that in a moment.
Setting the Table
We started by adding this large chopping board as our table’s centerpiece, and we added this adorable reindeer candle holder for holiday shine. These deep green dinner plates won our hearts, and we layered them with smaller cream plates and the prettiest matte gold flatware. We dined with 6 people (including Lucy!), but we love that you could also create a platter for double or triple that and include a stack of small plates for people to grab and mill about.
Creating a Festive Drink
We mixed up a big batch of a rosy festive drink using equal parts cranberry juice, Fresca and sparkling water (to cut down on the sweetness). Sliced up limes added a tart bite and an additional splash of color!
Playing with textures and patterns
Overall, we chose a neutral palette for our place settings, so that the food could be the star of the show. Even still, we were sure to play with texture and pattern by bringing in basketweave placemats and striped napkins. We layered in marble trays to balance out all the wood tones, and we couldn’t resist tying in these small pink marble dipping bowls for the jams and hummus. To top off the place settings, I cut off sprigs of fresh rosemary; so simple!
When laying out the food on the tray, we worked from opposite ends so that if you were to split the tray in two, it would essentially be a mirror image. This way everyone had access to the same items, no matter where they were sitting around the table:
Making Room for Dessert
Last but not least, we loaded up the larger marble tray with sweet treats! We laid out an assortment of candied pecans, broken chocolate, strawberries and dried fruits, and while we still had leftovers from our charcuterie platter, there was not a speck of dessert wasted at the end of the meal. (Who’s surprised?) Once we were sure everyone was full off of the brunch tray, we moved it out of the way and laid the dessert tray in the center of the table.
We lounged around the table for a handful of hours, picking at juuust one more cheese and cracker pairing or juuust one more nibble of chocolate. Finally, none of us could possible eat one more thing. It was the best way to catch up with friends, because is there any better setting than with full, happy stomachs?
Hosting the holidays can be fuss-free and dare I say fun(!) by keeping things low key, casual and pared down. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, Amara has pulled together a curated collection of holiday hits, or you can shop from their personal collection, A by Amara (which includes so much of what you see here). And because we want your home to feel at its best for friends and family, we’re giving away a $250 shopping credit to Amara! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. This giveaway is eligible for those located in the United States and runs through Thursday, November 8th. The winner will be announced within this post and contacted directly. Good luck and happy entering!