One of my favorite things about throwing a dinner party is creating a pretty table. I love taking time to add thoughtful details – like handwritten namecards, or sprigs of fresh herbs tied into the napkins – that make guests feel really special. Since I'm usually the one making the food, I never have time to do anything elaborate – I like to keep things simple, seasonal, and elegant, without being fussy.

Recently, Tasting Table asked me to team up with them and Patron to create a holiday entertaining video. Not only was I extremely flattered (!?), it was so fun coming up with a simple holiday tablescape that could be easily recreated at home. In lieu of a tablecloth, I used a gorgeous, hand-crocheted runner from ABC Carpet & Home that let the natural grain of the wood table peep through. From there, I laid out simple, white-on-white plates, stainless steel cutlery, and basic wine and water glasses. (If you need a quick table-setting tune-up, click here.)

And now for the fun part: I rolled up gold-stitched hemp napkins, tied them with twine, and added mini luggage tags with my guests' names written on them. For a seasonal touch, I tucked in springs of fresh rosemary into each napkin. Not only do they look pretty and smell fantastic, the rosemary sprigs double as cocktail stirrers and garnishes for the Rosemary Holiday Cup, one of Patron's signature holiday cocktails. (And the perfect start to a dinner party...)


On set at the Tasting Table/Patron video shoot...I had so much fun!

I had two ideas for centerpieces – originally, I was just going to use a series of bud vases, with a fuschia-colored dahlia in each, but ultimately I decided to use simple glass jars filled with fresh cranberries and votive candles. Though the dahlias were really pretty, the cranberries just felt so festive. (In fact, I loved the cranberry-candles so much that I created them again on Thanksgiving!)

I hope these easy ideas inspire you to throw your own dinner party over the holidays, and to take the time to create a pretty table. Most of the elements I used in the video – twine, rosemary, cranberries, jars, votive candles – are things you can find around your house, or purchase on the cheap. (With the exception of the runner, which is a splurge, but totally worth it!) But don't stress over any of this: at the end of the day, it's who's around your table that matters most.

Here are a few other resources for you as you're planning...

-A series of videos on Patron-Worthy Entertaining, from creating the perfect dinner party playlist, to crafting a cocktail, to whipping up a delicious appetizer. And of course, setting a beautiful table (with yours truly!).

-My best holiday hosting tips (via Tasting Table).

-A cozy holiday dinner party menu.

xo, Anna

P.S. I'm teaching a Bubbly & Bites class this Friday, December 5th in Old Town Alexandria, so if you live in the Washington, D.C. area, come see me! It's from 6-8 p.m. at Red Barn Mercantile: I'll be serving some of my favorite holiday appetizers from the book, and my friend, sommelier Kelly d'Amboise, will be pouring her favorite bubblies. We'll be trading tips on holiday party hosting, and I'll be signing books. RSVP here – space is limited!