15 Year-Round Entertaining Ideas from Kate Spade

A warm and hearty bowl of chili on New Year's Day. A Christmas tree decked with vintage holiday ornaments hand-picked from flea markets or your favorite antique stores. Sound inviting? When it comes to holidays and how to celebrate them, award-winning handbag designer (and gracious hostess) Kate Spade encourages friends and family to think outside the box. Who says you have to be a professional party planner to make the occasion memorable? Read this excerpt from Kate's book for unique party ideas, gift suggestions and holiday traditions you'll want to make your own.

Which came first? The holiday or the occasion? Holidays are when everything -- and everyone -- gets a little spruced up. The fun part is sharing the day or evening with your family or closest friends.

New Year's Day
"It's temping to stay inside on New Year's Day, but after sleeping in, I love to bundle up and go for a walk in the park, especially if it's sunny and cold. First, however, I put a pot of New Year's Day chili on the stove to simmer. It's what Andy calls our 'blinner' -- breakfast, lunch and dinner combined -- and it's perfect after a night of drinking champagne. I wouldn't worry about making the chili from scratch, either. If we don't have time, there's always a good restaurant or caterer whose chili we like to stock up on. And for us, chili isn't complete without saltine crackers."

Watch Video: Holiday Cheesecake



Valentine's Day
"As nice as it is to spend the night with your special someone, it can be a total ball to be with a close circle of friends. For instance, throw a 'favorite couples' party, inviting friends to come as iconic duos -- Hepburn and Tracy, Fred and Ginger, Bonnie and Clyde, Popeye and Olive Oyl. My friend Eleni makes the most amazing heart-shaped brownies, which she serves with raspberry sorbet, so I'd have these for dessert, along with a flute of Prosecco, garnished with a raspberry."

NEXT: Spring parties

Excerpted from Occasions by Kate Spade. © 2004 by Kate Spade LLC. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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