How Do You Host?

If it’s the holiday season, it must be time for hosting. And more hosting. We asked a few of our favorite female founders and stylemakers to share their go-to tips, tricks & traditions when it comes to holiday hosting (in Dudley, of course).


Claiborne Swanson Frank
Fine Art Photographer

“I love gathering loved ones and celebrating the holidays together. The holidays remind us of what is most important: family, friends and our health. I love the yearly traditions of decorating our home and our Christmas tree, cooking traditional family recipes, fires, holiday music and family time.” 

Hosting hack: I think when it comes to hosting you can never have enough candles, flower arrangements, music and wine. 

Hostess must-have: I love using my Mottahedeh tobacco leaf china and my Frances Palmer chargers.

Hosting uniform: For a cozy holiday night hosting at home, I love the Bonnie Blazer in Navy—it's classic and chic.

Lila Limon
Founder, Squeeze de Citron

One of our traditions is to do our holiday decor on November 1st. It is an extremely neutral setting, which allows me to easily transition through the holidays by just moving elements around.”

Hosting hack: Setting up glassware, nibbles and water ahead of time allows me to focus on guests without distractions. I love to burn a candle 30 minutes before they arrive and play some good jazz to create an ambiance. If the weather is chilly we love turning on the fire. It all adds up for the best guest experience.

Hostess must-have: For the holidays, Nest Birchwood Pine Candle. For Spring/Summer, Chambre D’Amis the fragrance by Fragonard. Another favorite product I can't go through the holidays without is our wood dish chargers by Frontgate. They have the perfect texture and color and make the tablescape look so elevated. 

Hosting uniform: The Palmer Puff Sleeve. It is so elegant and cozy. I have it in four colors!

Ashley McCormick
Founder, ASHA 

“I love setting a festive, beautiful table and flowers are always a focal point.” 

Hosting hack: I usually set the table and fill my house with flowers the day before so I don't have to worry about that element the day of.

Hostess must-have: I love Le Labo candles and you can personalize them with your hostess' name. I've done this for friends and have also been lucky to receive as well!

Hosting uniform: The Rockland Coat

Chef Abyssinia
(who catered our DS holiday party!) 

 “My favorite part of holiday hosting is being able to gather with family and friends sharing laughs, telling stories and having a great time!”

Hosting hack: Rather than having all the pressure solely on me, we make holiday get-togethers a potluck where everyone contributes and brings a dish. At the end of the night, the best voted dish wins a prize.

Hostess must-have: The best hostess gift I’ve received is a next-day cleaning service!

Hosting uniform: Because COZY is my middle name, the Sheephill Shacket in Navy

Maggie McDonald
Founder, Market by MM

“My favorite part of hosting is setting a gorgeous, layered table and creating a fun atmosphere for guests to relax and enjoy: a great playlist, a fire, a game around the dining table. Party crackers always work—from grocery store-bought to the super-glam (try House and Parties Marbled Crackers).”

Hosting hack: Sometimes store-bought, simple items are easy and just as yummy! Store bought croissants layered high, OJ poured into a beautiful pitcher or colorful cookies in a sterling silver dish.

Hostess must-have: My favorite hostess gifts are colorful statement candles for the dining table—I love mixing and matching all the fun colors at Navy Lobster in Greenwich. As a house guest, my favorite gift is a pair of J.McLaughlin custom pickleball racquets. How fun to put on a last minute pickleball tournament over Thanksgiving weekend or on a warm-weather New Year’s week get-away! 

Hosting uniform: I am loving all the Dudley outerwear this year, especially the Conyers Coat, the perfect piece to pull a look together. The Basil is so fun for the holidays over a monochromatic white or black look. Or the Buttercream over a festive print. So chic, and so perfect for an after-dinner firepit party!


Brooke Shepard
Founder, Monogram Mary

My favorite tradition when gathered around the table with loved ones is sharing one thing we can all do to help someone else during the holiday season.”

Hosting hack: I like to have a dress rehearsal put out all my serving plates and tablespace to be sure I have everything I need. 

Hostess must-have: I love gifting monogrammed napkins to always remember the celebration. 

Hosting uniform: One of my favorite occasions to host is s’mores around our backyard hockey rink—and the entire family now can be cozy in Dudleys. The Lafayette Vest is perfect for layering all year around.