Creating Your Holiday Bar

If there’s one thing you can count on at a party, it’s the fact that everyone will make their way to the bar for a refreshing beverage.  Setting a festive display and adding a few special details is simple with these ideas and tips. 
I decided to design a bar that would coordinate with my Cocktails & Cheers party.  By following the same color scheme and incorporating the felt circle swag & other circle/dot details, the look is modern and whimsical.  

I began by setting up a card table and covering it with a fabulous fitted table cover from TableVogue.  

  • My first tip is to serve juice mixers in pitchers, bottles, or other decanter.  This looks so much nicer than having all types of commercial containers on the table. 
  • For soda mixers, I like to set out smaller size cans or bottles.  This way you can store the extras for later, instead of throwing out a half empty 2-liter.
  • A little detail to add to your ice bucket is to freeze ice cubes in silicone trays with fun shapes.  I used a star shape for this party and added a cranberry to some while keeping others plain.
  • I also like to have a savory snack on the bar.  It’s nice to have little nibbles while your getting your cocktail or chatting with someone.  I made spicy nuts for this table and am sharing the recipe for this slightly sweet, slightly spicy snackhere.  Other good choices are chex mix or flavored popcorn.

  • My next tip is to add some type of glass garnish whether it’s a wedge of lime, a sugar rimmed edge, or in this case, a mini candy cane hanging off the side.  Everyone loves this thoughtful touch.
  • Round up your items in trays for an arrangement that looks neat and deliberate.  It also helps contain spills or drips.  
  • Adding playful or humorous cocktail napkins is one of my favorite ways to incorporate personality, and can even help generate conversation.
  • Keeping your liquor choices to the basics can keep your budget in check as well as being a space saver.  I find that bourbon, vodka, and rum usually satisfy most tastes.  For extra options I like to add in a flavored rum such as coconut or spiced rum.  All these liquors can be mixed with the same sodas or juices, again minimizing your space and cost.
  • One of my favorite ‘special occasion’ projects is making an ice cooler.  It’s an impressive presentation but is simple to prepare – you just need a couple of days for freezing.  The one I made here holds vodka but you can also make them to hold white wine.  You can see the tutorial for the ice cooler here.  
 I hope these tips will help you organize your next bar set-up.  CHEERS!

For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!


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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. Ashleigh Dorfman of posh parties, LLC says:

    Nice presentation! I love the ice cooler. My fruit would never freeze so perfectly =)

  2. thanks for all the tips!

  3. Half Baked says:

    Looks great Chris! I love the cranberry ice… so simple but makes a statement. Will have to add this to my Christmas to-do list. :)

  4. How fun! Those star cubes are perfect.

  5. Jonnie Fox says:

    I'm glad to say I do most of these things with our Christmas bar (the nice decanters, pretty stirrers, Christmas decor and cloth, etc), but you really WOW'd me with the "ice snuggie". I LOVE that! Can't wait for the tutorial.

    BTW…LOVE your new profile photo!

  6. Tricia @ Vintage No. 35 says:

    Fantastic pictures! I love the use of cranberries in the ice.

  7. Save the Date for Cupcakes says:

    You are on a roll, Chris! This is fabulous! Makes me THIRSTYYYY!

  8. The Bride's Butler says:

    The joy of celebrating the season is ooozing from this set up! Great job! Cheers!

  9. Great tips! LOVE everything about your display!

  10. Simply Creative Insanity says:

    I love it! And hat vodka bottle is goregous!

  11. Clicking Chick says:

    This is ADORABLE! Love the colors!


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