The Best Blogs to Inspire Your Holiday Gatherings

By Jade Boren

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve leaves many in a holiday limbo. Between parties and dinners with friends and family, many of us spend December gathering with others.

Winter holidays often call for cornucopias and wreaths, rich colors or whited-out dining halls, turkeys and honey-glazed hams, but with so many events to attend, events can blend together and inspiration can run dry. To help you make your gathering the best this season, we’ve rounded up the six best blogs to inspire your holiday gatherings.

The Forest Feast

For a vegetarian gathering / best for hosting ideas

Erin Gleeson, author of The Forest Feast blog and cookbook of the same name, takes all her food gatherings outside. The food photographer has little reason to dine indoors when given the magnificent views of immense woods that surround her Northern California home. Gleeson shows how an organic backdrop is the perfect setting for vegetarian dishes, and writes that “local, seasonal ingredients” are her inspiration.

Finger foods are a party favorite, and the blog offers vegetarian-friendly options like kale chips and root vegetable pizza. Holiday basics like green bean casserole can be swapped for its healthier counterpart, purple green bean salad. A recipe that especially captures the rustic but romantic aesthetic of The Forest Feast is Gleeson’s fig parfait. The use of figs and dried cherries are the perfect indulgent take on classic winter fare.

Drizzle & Dip

Best for cocktails

Sam Linsell was a self-described “corporate slave” who decided to upgrade her lifestyle and become a professional food stylist, recipe developer, and food photographer in Cape Town, South Africa. Linsell takes ingredients from bland to bold—especially when it comes to cocktails. Dozens of drink recipes on Drizzle & Dip show that refreshments should be anything but an afterthought.

Her ginger brandy and rooibos cocktail, photographed at a luxury hotel, shows how you can make your dinner party refreshments extra glamorous. The holiday season does require an extra dose of festivity after all.

Stuck in the Kitchen

For the discerning sweet tooth

Sarah Tuck’s Stuck in the Kitchen is the place to go for those looking to update the classics. With no formal cooking or photography credentials on her resume, Tuck writes that she makes “real food for real people who are multifaceted like me, refusing to stick to a single genre of food blogging and opts for wholesome, honest recipes reminiscent of the made-from-scratch dishes you may have indulged in at your grandmother’s home.

But unlike your grandmother, Tucks’ recipes modernize old-time favorites. The rustic apple tart with whiskey ginger ice cream repackages the traditional apple pie a la mode, but sticks to classic holiday flavors.

Julie Blanner

Best for holiday decor

If you’re prefer a clean and classic Christmas, Julie Blanner’s blog is your safe haven. This lifestyle blogger, magazine contributor, and freelancer is not one to overwhelm. This year, Blanner is decorating her house room by room and taking her readers through the process.

Her guide to embellishing the master bedroom to make it “magical and cozy” for Christmas relies on “simple touches”: unassuming peonies, equally modest candlelight, simple framed vintage prints, and miniature Christmas trees.

Sunday Suppers

For updated classics

Given its (very) modern look, Sunday Suppers has a surprisingly simple origin: founder and photographer Karen Mordechai’s desire to “bring together good friends + food.” But the blog does boast an impressive press resume, with The New York Times and Martha Stewart Living gracing the endorsements list.

Sunday Suppers’ recipes are ideal for the chef who wants to go beyond, but may not have the gourmet cooking skills or a roofless budget to do so. Sunday Suppers features bright and earthy flavor pairings—like blood orange, manchego, and dried fig or salty date and almond. Recipes like this one for classic pasta, are exactly what they appear to be—a combination of minimal ingredients and plating style that lets classic flavors take center stage.

Every recipe is intended to serve a gathering of people, making this blog the perfect destination for holiday get together food ideas.

Sugar and Charm

For the DIYers

Sugar and Charm blog runner Eden Passante is all about offering “easy ways to add charm to the daily life.” That description may read a little too modest—Sugar and Charm was in Disney Babble’s top 50 best craft and design blogs in 2012 and 2013.

To add your own charm to your holiday get together, download the Sugar and Charm Charming & Modern Table Setting Guide. The graphic is straightforward and distinctly labeled, perfect if you want a wholesome, no-fuss tablescape.

Sugar & Cloth

For a colorful gathering

Sugar & Cloth interprets sweetness with a colorful approach. Ashley Rose’s blog is sprinkled with pastel colors and bright hues, popping against white backdrops.

If you want to stray from holiday conventions this year, take inspiration from Sugar & Cloth’s A Perfectly Pink Holiday Party Table. Rose plays with pinks in every shade from the dining napkins to the peppermint candies, but the contrasting shades work together so that the party table doesn’t look too packaged.

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