Learn everyday elegant hospitality as the holidays near

Elegant Table Setting on over 50 Feeling 40


As we near the last day of October, for our Cultivating Elegance feature, let’s focus on learning more about everyday elegant hospitality as the holidays near.

The holiday season is best enjoyed through hospitality and though, we are coming through a pandemic, I hope that many of us will still be able to experience time with family, friends and neighbors.

Setting an elegant table on over 50 feeling 40


Today, I would like to share with you some wisdom from France…documented in Tish Jett’s second book, Living Forever Chic.

Tish begins the chapter on Entertaining with these words, “In France, entertaining is translated as l’art de recevoir, “the art of receiving,” and it is one of the best, and perhaps most enjoyable ways to celebrate l’art devivre a la francaise.”

The art of receiving is such a wonderful way to characterize hospitality.  When I shared with you my new Vision Board, I explained my love of hospitality and how I want to enhance it going forward.  With my kitchen under construction this week and the holidays near, I have experienced so many visions of how to finally invite others to come over and bless them with attention.

Elegant Wine and Cheese on Over 50 Feeling 40

Tish explains women in France are influenced by their mothers and grandmothers on how to be elegant hostesses…I want to do that for my children and grandchildren…especially since it was NOT done for me.

The winning hospitality combination in France is good food enhanced by a pleasing presentation.

“This winning combination is not at all complicated and encourages warmth and connection at the table.”  This can happen any night…not saved for holiday dinners alone.

Elegant wine selections on over 50 Feeling 40

I will discuss Thanksgiving food in another post, but Tish encourages us to keep the meals simple…but good.

Something I desire to do is study what wines go best with different foods.  I just purchased a new wine to test for Thanksgiving which is fruitier with seasonal spices.  I will let you know if I can recommend it.

One of the Frenchwomen Tish interviewed recommended serving food which can be cooked ahead of time to keep cooking odors out of the house and out of the kitchen.  I actually love for the house to be filled with the aromas of good food cooking…so I would disagree with that…maybe that is my “American” side coming out or my “Southern” cook side showing.

Pamela Lutrell's Veggie Mixer for Holiday Dressing

Tish explains that often the garden will provide all the decoration necessary.  I know that for Thanksgiving I do use decoration from my backyard and a neighborhood walk near that time provides many acorns if needed.

Another Interviewee said this, “However I set the table, I like it to be eclectic, mixing styles and eras high and low. I serve soup with ice cream bowls with stems and dessert on small plates placed on large exotic leaves if it fits the look. (I have a very creative flower shop near me)Some of my friends are very innovative in their table settings, using hand painted plates, colored glasses from here and there, and antique salt and pepper shakers in ivory and ebony.”

Now that is a quote I can get behind.  I do like to be more creative with table settings…I guess I am choosing the more fun over elegant side.  But, it can be more take on elegant…right?

  Tish reminds us that inspiration is every where and we can be creative no matter what our budget is.  I  know for me…thrifting has made table decoration so much fun!

This chapter is packed with information about French entertaining, so you might want to pick up the book, but for a final thought….  I like this quote to close on today, because  we can have a lot of fun with it….

“When you think about it, there is something romantic and refreshing about moving dining locations in the house and around the garden.  Placing a table in front of a fireplace in winter is charming, dining in a book lined library is very elegant, and a table for two en amoureux in a bedroom is another idea from the past.  Why not?”

Or even on a boat..yes, why not?

I love this…and want to set a goal to create some special dining moments around the house for me and Mr. B once the kitchen is done. Now that sounds elegant!

I have some more ideas about elegant entertaining I want to share with you…so make sure you are joining us on Fridays for all of the elegant posts.

The holidays on over 50 feeling 40 officially begins on Sunday with a special announcement!

Would anyone like to share your elegant hospitality tips?  Please do…then consider using my links below for any hospitality or home shopping….and always, always……



NEST Fragrances

Art of Tea




TJ Maxx

Picture Frames.com

World Market




Anthropologie Home

Crabtree & Evelyn

Artfully Walls


Bed Bath & Beyond

Pottery Barn

Williams & Sonoma

Macy’s Home



Nordstrom Rack

West Elm

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  1. It’s interesting, but I think those of us who perhaps didn’t have hospitality modeled are more inclined to really get into it and find the enjoyment we missed growing up. I love to have people over, and our big family gathering at New Year’s is the highlight of my year. Not sure what it’s all going to look like for this year since I’m trying to decide when to put my house on the market, but somehow, at one home or another, we’ll get together. I’m anxious to get into my next home where I can do a lot of inviting over of friends and family and indulge my hospitality side more often. For months I’ve been knee deep in updating and kind of withdrawn. Ready for a change!! There are good quotes here to ponder, and it will help me with planning my entertaining in my next place!

  2. I hope to learn more about this elegant entertaining from you Pamela! Your blog is so uplifting. You are so positive! Although I’ve been entertaining infrequently in the past 5 years once the pandemic is over I plan on resuming. I miss people!

  3. Dear Pam,
    I love this series, thank you. I plan to retire in the Spring, I was hoping COVUD would be past us, but that doesn’t look to be the case. I think I’ll start working on a vision board to keep me on track as well, otherwise I’ll jump into bunches of things. I love to entertain and set a lovely scene too. I think we’re all seeking ways to connect where we can and find joy in the moments. Amy

  4. As the family gets older and spread out, a traditional Christmas ham dinner, which my late mother always hosted, was getting harder and harder, and finally impossible, to plan. Now I do a finger food buffet with the star a cheese board with cheese, nuts, olives, prosciutto, and other treats. It is a bigger hit than the dinner, and accommodates everyone’s dietary preferences. I invested in very clean, white rectangular platters and some quality, hefty cheese knives. The white dishes let me vary the decorations and flowers. I spend some time on Pinterest each holiday season and strive to make my boards interesting and attractive. The first time I did this, it was so easy I felt like I was cheating, but it actually is elegant and takes some pressure off a busy season. I still can get out the good silver and napkins :).

  5. The tables look beautiful and I love the creativity! Sadly, this year we will have very little in the way of celebrations. As Covid numbers in the northeast tick up, gatherings are strongly discouraged. It makes me so sad but safety is the most important thing.

  6. I grew up with great entertaining models! My family owned an upscale restaurant and when mom/dad had people over they often carried over what was being done in the restaurant. Now that I’m retired and living in a condo my entertaining is done on a smaller scale so I plan on impromptu get togethers of groups of 4 or 6. My husband often brings home his golf partners for a drink so I always have an appetizer a available that can easily pulled together . A wood board laid out with olives, cheese, salami and nuts is easy. I try not to use paper instead I have small appetizer plates and plain white platters in every shape. My parents taught me how to welcome friends and family with a smile and little stress by being prepared. Our bar is always stocked (thanks to the husband who learned to make sure we always have the necessities!) and my pantry, fridge and/or freezer will always contain an easy nibble I can prepare.

  7. Once upon a time, it was nothing for me to host a dinner party of twenty to thirty consisting of friends and/or family however those days are behind me with many hours spent in the kitchen on meal preparation which I always enjoyed. Fast forward; if I should now entertain I may do a brunch (include a creative table setting) but am leaving the holiday hosting up to the younger generation as currently our pandemic restrictions are so rigid it is basically ‘a catch twenty-two situation’ as they can change from day to day, not to mention the information is so conflicting its enough to give anyone a Migraine even though they aren’t susceptible to them. To conclude; I guess you can say for several reasons I’m presently in a coasting mode … ☺. -Brenda-

  8. Hi, Pam. When I entertain there are a few things I always do. They are:
    Use my silver flatware and make sure it’s polished.
    Iron all my table linens. Use cloth napkins.
    Have a centre piece (even if I have to move it out of the way later).
    Light candles.
    These little touches make any gathering special.

  9. Liking or disliking cooking odors depends on what is being cooked. My late mother-in-law always prepared cabbage rolls on New Year’s Day. This was not a pleasant scent. Candles & flowers always make for elegant entertaining. Using real glassware, dinnerware, flatware & cloth napkins instead of disposable items adds a touch of elegance even if you’re just serving pizza or dessert.

  10. How exciting to have a new home in your future, Karen. An opportunity to practice much hospitality!

  11. We have time now to properly prepare for those future engagements and I also want to plan for a future of friends and family. Thanks Paulette for your encouragement.

  12. We have learned this past year to take one day at a time and enjoy it to its fullest. Things changed so quickly…I plan to enjoy more people around me going forward. Thanks Amy!

  13. We can still make our moments at home special and make plans for the future when this all will be history.

  14. I love that your husband does that Linda! Thanks for sharing what you keep on hand for those moments.

  15. Coasting is good and with a hopeful attitude we all can prepare for those future special occasions. Thanks Brenda.

  16. Thanks for sharing Donna. I pulled out cloth napkins recently and plan to start using them again.

  17. Good point, Becky! I always plan to cook aromatic meals that make the guests look forward to them. You are right about cabbage!! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I am blessed to live in a very close-knit neighborhood with a long tradition of socializing. We have a monthly ladies luncheon, a variety of holiday parties, a Fourth of July potluck, parade and games in the park. Best of all are our LAFF get togethers (Laurelwood After Five on Fridays) where everyone is invited to bring an appetizer, main or dessert plus wine. Different folks host, not by any schedule, but when the mood strikes. Needless to say, we also always ring in the new year together. This year?! – not at all. 🙁 Nonetheless, I am confident we will resume our traditions at some point. I am known for my appetizers. A favorite is to stuff pitted dates with cooked chorizo and jack cheese, wrap in prosciutto and cook over medium heat in a frying pan. They are done when lightly browned on all sides. Splash in a little Marsala or Port, then transfer to a ceramic serving dish that can be covered with foil until you get to the party. A little bit elegant, and a lot of DELICIOUS. 😋 Jazz or Spanish guitar as background music is another favorite of mine for entertaining at home. I like my guests to discover something they might not have heard before.

  19. I like to do most of the food preparation ahead of time when I’m having company, but it doesn’t have anything to do with smells. In fact, I agree with you that the aroma of something delicious cooking adds to the atmosphere. I just like to be free to spend time visiting with my guests instead of being busy in the kitchen once they arrive.

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