How-To Holiday

Stellar hostess and all around amazing lady, Nicole Cari, throws it down for a party of 18

Fav lady, Nicole Cari, hosted a Holiday party for 18 of her closest friends. What makes a Holiday dinner party spectacular? It’s all in the details.

Here are a few tips to take note of according to Nicole..

Think Big? Plan Big. Preparing for a dinner party for 18 takes more than a couple of days. At the beginning of the week I dove into my Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue, all of my food blogs [Ed note: We got you!] and consulted with foodie friends to settle on my menu so I could start prepping dishes ahead of time.

Delegate or Die: After setting the menu, I decided what to take on and what I wanted to hand off. Assigning a few side dishes and apps to friends kept my role manageable.

Mix High & Low: I took everyone’s advice and made my own turkey stock and chicken broth a couple days in advance to really set the dishes apart, but I took a shortcut with the biscuits, which were secretly purchased at Popeye’s by my brilliant best friend Charlie. Why try to do it all??

Take a Seat: I think for special occasions it’s super fun to assign seats. For the name cards, I wanted to find a stamp that identified an essence of each friend. Some were direct (my Parisian friend got an Eiffel Tower), but others were more personal, like Jacob getting flip-flops (which he wears even in the winter) or 3-year-old Vasco getting a turtle because it was one of his first words.

Plan a Happy Ending: Our night ended in the best way possible – everyone in the hot tub with a bottle full of bub.

The Menu


Tete de Moine cheese
Crudite with Artichoke dip (made by my friend La, so guessing it’s made mostly of salt and butter)


2 Organic Turkeys, salted & brined


Sourdough Stuffing with apples, bourbon soaked black currants, sausage and sage
Sweet Potato Casserole with marshmallows (made by my pal Darren)
Classic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with bacon and onions
Biscuits (secretly purchased at Popeye’s)
Cranberry Sauce (made by my friends Zoe & Paul)


Apple & Pumpkin pies with vanilla ice cream (purchased at Trails by Charlie)

The Cocktails