woman arranging leaves in a vase
Photography, Kate Sears

6 creative ways to be a great host

Kim Kushner's secrets to hosting a memorable party from her book The Modern Table.

Almost anyone can figure out how to throw a fancy party, but it takes more to throw a fun one! Fantastic food and drinks set the tone, and special touches such as bright flowers, personal elements and a beautiful table setting can elevate the experience.

This post features my favourite ideas for hosting and creating memorable entertaining experiences. I’ll show you how random items and trinkets from your home can introduce a personal decorative touch, especially when you’re creating a tablescape. Being prepared, organized, inspired and creative will bring everything together.

Unique keepsakes and family heirlooms can mark a meaningful event. Family and guest photos can evoke deep sentiments and add a truly personal touch. You could even customize each place setting to the individual tastes or likes of each guest.

Herbs and Greens

Verdant displays of fresh herbs, leafy greens and garden flowers enhance the simplest tablescapes. Instead of formal floral arrangements, look in the fridge for a bunch of leafy greens you may have on hand. Perhaps you can find some simple floral buds in your garden as well.

DIY Grazing Table

Brown paper bags filled with dried snacks.
Photography, Kate Sears

Brown paper bags filled with a variety of nuts, dried fruit or chips can decorate the table. Gently roll over the tops of the paper bags a few times until you reach your desired height. Sit them upright for a cleaner look or on their sides for a messier effect.

Flavour Enhancers

Six terracotta bowls with various spices and garnishes on a light stone surface.
Photography, Kate Sears

Small mezze-sized bowls such as the bases of terracotta pots can be used to serve up condiments and add some wow to your table. Fill these vessels with fresh chiles, preserved lemon, specialty salts, garlic confit, fried herbs (such as sage) or exotic spices like za’atar and dukkah.

Drinkware Done Differently

A marble surface with assorted coloured glasses.
Photography, Kate Sears

Mix and match drinkware to create depth and uniqueness. This could mean a combination of drinking glasses, antique glassware and that fancy crystal stemware you’ve tucked away. Then, put your favorites together on display for an eclectic touch.

The Wild Bunch

Three bundles of dried flowers on a white marble surface.
Photography, Kate Sears

Small bundles of flowers wrapped in twine double as décor and gifts for guests to-go. I love offering my guests something that they can take home at the end of the night, and a little bouquet goes a long way.

Delight in the Little Things

A wooden board with packaged snacks on a white marble surface.
Photography, Kate Sears

To thank guests for their company, I like to present them with parting gifts to enjoy on their way home or the following day. Here, I’ve packaged truffles, fresh key limes, my favorite tequila, candied oranges and nut bars. Alternatively, you could use your favourite store-bought goodies.

A book cover in a light frame.
Excerpted from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner. Photography by Kate Sears. Copyright © 2022 by Kim Kushner. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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