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Throughout the week we’ll be revisiting our 2013 Holiday Hosting Guide series. -ed.

All words: Nikki Rappaport
All photos: Dakota Fine

Throughout the week we’re bringing you BYT Holiday Hosting Guides wherein our favorite lifestyle experts, fashion gurus and all-around social butterflies teach you how to style, dress and host your way to (and through) the perfect holiday party. We kicked off our series with photographer Kate Warren and artist Martin Swift, who taught us how to dress our best for the holidays with the wardrobe you already own. We then brought you the secrets to holiday brunching from Nycci Nellis, publisher and radio host, while Washington Post Express editor Holley Simmons walked us through a festive cocoa party. Today, lifestyle and food blogger Nikki Rappaport of Cupcakes for Breakfast fame lets us in on some quick tips for throwing (and attending) a no-stress fête.

The best part of the holidays are the parties right? Friends, family, music, booze, silly white elephant gifts. But whether you’re hosting or party hopping, it can also be overwhelming. With just a few simple touches for yourself or your host, you can punch up the party and leave the stress behind.
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.
Dress it Up!
Ladies, step one, find the perfect party dress. This emerald lace one from Anthropologie is my pick this year. Wear it to work with a black blazer, then add some extra sparkle and a red lip for a post-work fete. Give it multiple uses and take it home with you for your family holiday dinner too.
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.
When hosting I like to keep the bar simple. Prosecco with a touch of St. Germain is festive and a crowd-pleaser. I keep my bar stocked with some other basics (rye, gin, fruit sodas) for guests to make their own drinks if they prefer. A sparkling red Lambrusco makes a special gift for a coworker who’s hosting a cocktail party.
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.
Set the table!
Trays are the best way to organize and highlight hors d’oeuvres, desserts, drinks and whatever else you’re serving. I especially love these lucite ones from DC designer Tilly Maison. Pick up one for yourself and gift one with matching glitter teaspoons to a friend who hosts a fabulous dinner party. Also, just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you should forget the flowers for your table or to thank your host. A bouquet of white roses in a mercury glass vase (find unique ones at Salt & Sundry) is classic and effortless.
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.
Bake something sweet!
These little angeletti sugar cookies are one of my absolute favorite holiday treats. They’re also so so simple to make. Trust me you’ll get bonus points for serving or bringing something homemade. Whip them up quickly the night before having guests over or share them at your friends’ cookie swap.
Angeletti Cookies (makes 36):
Cookie Ingredients
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Glaze Ingredients
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sprinkles, for decoration
1.) Heat oven to 375° F.
2.) In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
3.) In another medium bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs until blended. Add the flour mix to the sugar mix until just combined.
3.) With floured hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and the bottoms are pale golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire wrack.
4.) Make the glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and vanilla until the mixture forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more water if necessary).
5.) Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and then dip into sprinkles. Let set, rounded side up, on a rack for about 20 minutes.
Happy Holidays and happy hosting!
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.
BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.BYT presents the 2013 holiday hosting guide.