Small Gathering Ideas for the Holidays | Christmas Hosting Ideas 2020

The holidays definitely look a bit different for all of us this year. Oh how I wish my December calendar was filled to the brim with dinner invites and cocktail parties, that’s simply not the case for 2020. Alas, I’m determined to still make things feel special, and celebrate in small ways with close friends + family I’ve already been spending time with these past few months. So today, I’m thrilled to partner with Yankee Candle to share some creative small gathering ideas for the holidays + a few tips for making your guests feel extra special. Like having a small candle at each guests place setting as a thoughtful take home! More on that to come.

Ya’ll know I love any excuse to set the table in my home. Will even surprise my husband from time to time with a pretty spread-for-two. I know that may sound stressful to some, but it brings me joy and is actually somewhat therapeutic for me. There’s nothing I’d love more than spending an afternoon putting together a little floral centerpiece and setting the table with vintage glassware and pressed napkins. But beyond your typical dinner party or wine + cheese night, here are a couple fun small gathering ideas for the holidays you may want to consider this season!

Small Gathering Ideas for the Holidays and How to Make Your Guests Feel Special
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Small Gathering Ideas for the Holidays

Breakfast for Dinner

Exactly as it sounds – invite a small group over for everyone’s favorite meal for dinner! Breakfast is always the easiest {and least expensive} meal to execute, and it’s a crowd pleasure. Win win. I love doing this with our family, because even if you have picky eaters, there’s something for everyone. My menu usually consists of: soft boil eggs + sourdough, breakfast sausage, bacon, fruit salad and either pancakes or cinnamon rolls. You can’t go wrong!

Dress up the table a tad with some festive elements like pine sprigs or a small Yankee Candle for guests to take some holiday cheer home with them. Incorporating small momentos and gifts on a holiday table just makes everyone feel thought of. You can even personalize the ribbon tied around the candle, or keep the fragrance notes in mind for each person. My Mom loves sweet, food scents, so Christmas Cookie would be perfect for her. And I love the color and height these sweet candles from their Magical Christmas Morning Collection add to the table. Not to mention, they smell of pure Christmas spirit. I’m usually a Balsam & Cedar kind of gal, but Singing Carols is giving the classic a run for its’ money! It’s a delicious combination of fruit, evergreen + spice notes that create an inspiring Christmas melody.

Ornament Exchange

This will be my second annual Ornament Exchange ‘party’. It’s something I put together just after the new year, partially as a way to extend the holiday cheer. I love that is gives us an extra excuse to celebrate post-Christmas {and leave my Christmas tree up just a tad longer}! Not to mention, the girls seem to always have a fun time finding unique ornaments on sale just after Christmas ends. You could certainly plan an ornament exchange Nov/Dec, but I love early January because most people’s schedules free up a bit, and it’s a lovely excuse to gather.

Soup/Recipe Swap

Love this idea for family or friends! Ask them to each make a soup to share {along with a recipe card to share}, and have a little soup tasting! I swear, once the temps drop, soup becomes my primary diet for the next few months haha. Always love trying new ones at home, so this is a fun way to do so, while also seeing + catching up with loved ones.

Tree Trimming

This is a new one for me this year actually! Growing up, decorating the tree was always an intimate family occasion. My Mom would light a Yankee Candle {truly, her favorite!} put on Christmas music and have my Dad bring all the Christmas decor down from the attic. I cherish those memories. Last week though, one of my dear friends asked if I wanted to come over for an evening of Tree Trimming. I’ll admit, I had to ask for clarification on the meaning haha. But you essentially invite a few {or many if times were different} friends over to help decorate your tree! Hot toddies and nibbles to accompany of course, but how fun is that?!


By far the best socially distant activity you can plan with your friends this year! Some friends of ours in Charleston started this tradition last year, and let me tell you – I think it was my favorite night of the holiday season! Pick a neighborhood to stroll through spreading holiday cheer along the way, or map out a few local businesses to stop at. Caroling always puts a smile on people’s faces. PRO TIP: Assign someone to print out song booklets for everyone. It’s much easier than referencing your phone, and honestly is a fun throwback. Dressing is festive attire required, of course. I will personally be rocking a Santa beard mask this year. Dying hahaha, and can’t wait.

Small Gathering Ideas for the Holidays
Photos by Cushla Beasley

This post is bought to you by Yankee Candle – all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep COLOR by K online!
Love this look?

Dress is Old Zara | similar tablecloth here + here | Old Madison Mathews Napkins – Katherine Hanes + Zojora make similar options | Sage Green Rimmed Dinner Plates | Sage Green B&B Plates | similar Pearl Butter Spreaders | Kate Spade Silver Flatware | similar Sage Water Glasses here + here | Vintage Etched Wine Glasses – similar here | similar Mercury Glass Votives | Magical Christmas Morning Collection candles at Place Settings c/o Yankee Candle | Satin Sage Ribbon at Michael’s – similar | similar Scalloped Edge Serving Bowl

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