DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
Sentral communities offer a variety of spaces to entertain, like this barbecue patio at Sentral DTLA 755. Photo by James Baigrie.

The Flex Life: 4 Hosting Tips for a Memorable Holiday

BY SUZANNE DAVIS
The “merry everything” season is nearly upon us, which means one thing: It’s time to Party with a capital P. But how do you roll out the red (and green) carpet if you’re new to a city, or you’re a
digital nomad
who hasn’t established a huge friend base yet? It helps to live at
a community like Sentral
, says the Director of Brand and Experience, Dana Wendell. “We host probably two social events every month on the rooftop deck or in social spaces,” she says. “We also have a community networking app, Cobu, that residents can download when they move in. They can be instantly plugged into like-minded groups that interest them, from dog lovers to whiskey fanatics.” That’s a fast-track to an invite list for your next party, whether it’s a wine-lover’s Friendsgiving, a fundraiser with fellow environmentalists, or a tinsel-and-treats party for pet parents. 

How to Host a Holiday Party 101

And as any avid traveler can tell you, it also helps to step out of your comfort zone and dive into new experiences. Here, how to host a top-shelf fête even if you’re the new kid on the block.

1. ALWAYS RSVP YES

Being open to new people will help you establish a new friend base. Photo of Sentral DTLA 755 by James Baigrie.
As many of us learned in kindergarten, you need to be a friend to make friends. Once you’ve met just a few people — on the rooftop, the yoga studio, the co-working lounge, or just around the neighborhood — friendships can snowball. Host a BYOF (bring your own friend) soiree, asking everyone who RSVPs to haul at least one other chum with them to the shindig. Just be prepared for throngs: Folks are feeling extra lonely in the wake of the pandemic, and more likely to overbook themselves. You’ll want to stock up on non-perishable foods that will survive until your next event if they’re not opened, like wasabi peas, dark chocolate, chips and salsa… and wine. Lots and lots of wine.  

2. STICK TO A BUDGET

Keep things simple with a signature drink. Photo by Brooke Lark.
Some of the wealthiest people in the world were and are famously frugal, including Aristotle Onassis (who reportedly avoided wearing a jacket to clubs so he didn’t have to tip the coat check girls) and Warren Buffett (who famously still lives in the first house he ever bought, for $31,500, more than 60 years ago). That’s because sometimes the best kinds of fun are free. So no, you don’t need crates of Veuve Clicquot and Osetra caviar to host a glamorous holiday party. 
Rather than stocking a full bar, opt for one signature drink garnished in a fun way — like a cranberry vodka cocktail rimmed with glittery sugar and a skewer of rosemary. Instead of stocking your cheese board with fromages solely from France, make it high/low: some imported gruyere and gouda paired with plenty of domestic delights, like Vermont cheddar and California goat cheese. (Also: Consider adding a few
vegan snacks
in case some of your guests don’t eat meat or dairy) The key with any presentation is abundance; guests will find Goldfish crackers piled high on a tiered tray more enticing than a handful of biscuits. 

3. POTLUCKS: THE SECRET SAUCE

Humans are primally hard-wired to enjoy sharing; it’s part of why we’ve lived so large together on this planet for so long. (Plus, it’s just fun, as anyone who remembers show-and-tell can attest.) If you’re new to your community, consider throwing a fun themed holiday potluck, whether it’s geared to casseroles, dips, or comfort foods. One of Lang’s themes? Global cuisine. “Everyone brings their own signature dish,” she says. “You actually learn something about them in the process.” Or consider asking everyone to make a recipe from their childhood, like their abuela’s empanadas, or the bacon-wrapped dates they swiped off their aunt’s plate as a kid. Bonus: Each one doubles as a delish conversation starter.

4. MAKE LIKE MARTHA

Make a list, check it twice. A well-equipped kitchen comes standard in every Sentral home. Photo of Sentral DTLA 755 by James Baigrie.
Hosting a crowd can be stressful — especially if your home is now doubling as your office HQ. The trick to keeping calm and carrying on is stealing the Boy Scouts motto: Be Prepared. Make a list of everything you need to do and divide it into manageable chunks that can be parceled out into the days leading up to your event, from getting your desk under control to stocking your bar. (A must for your list: ordering a ton of ice. Nothing ends a party faster than running out.) 
When possible, outsource annoying tasks: Hiring a house cleaner or getting all the groceries delivered to your door can be a sanity-saving splurge. As far as holiday decor, Martha would probably tell you less is more. A bounty of one type of flower in a tall, slender vase and a few votive candles adorning your buffet is likely all you need to set the #mood. Merry, merry!

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