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Holiday Hosting Guide

The Holiday Hosting Guide

This is it: The ultimate, most definitive guide to hosting for the holidays.

A Note From Sarah Ashley

What I want more than anything is for you to throw more dinner parties. To host more gatherings, of all shapes and sizes. Fancy dinners that you think you could never pull off. (You can.) Easy weekend brunches for your family and friends. Cozy nights at home surrounded by good food and your favorite people.

Why? Because I believe the world needs more of this. Less time buried in our phones, more time creating meaningful experiences with the people we love.

People seem to love photos of pretty food and tablescapes as evidenced by Pinterest and Instagram. But most of these ideas and plans for "someday" never seem to make it to reality. I'd like to help change that.

I understand that entertaining seems like a lot of work. Believe me, I’ve thrown hundreds of parties over the years, both personally and professionally, as a caterer for celebrities and brands. (You might remember me from the first season of The Taste, on ABC, where I came in third place in a competition as the last home cook standing amongst a group of professional chefs.) I’ve learned a lot over the course of my career, and I’ve created this guide so that I can share what I know with you.

The fact is, I've got this entertaining thing down. I've learned over the years what works and what doesn't. I've learned odd little tips from restaurant chefs and discovered simple ingredients that practically do the work for you. Entertaining (and cooking, in general) can actually be quite simple, once you have some practice and experience under your belt.

If you don't, that's why I created this guide––so that you can learn from me. I've already done the hard work for you.

I decided to create our first entertaining guide during the holidays for a reason: The holidays are magic.✨ There's no better time to gather with your loved ones than now. I've put together three of my top holiday gatherings, ranging from casual to fancy, so there's something for everyone and every mood in which you might find yourself. Even if you don't throw one of these parties exactly as outlined, you'll still walk away with tons of practical knowledge you can use any time of year. (You won't find any filler talk about getting fresh flowers or lighting candles here.) 

I hope this guide serves you well––infinitely multiplying all of the love and joy you both give and receive this holiday season, and for years to follow.

All my love,

Holiday Hosting Guide - Sarah Ashley
What's Inside

In this guide, you’ll find three epic holiday parties: The Cocktail Party, The Sit-Down Dinner Party, and The Laid-Back Brunch. Each gathering features a foolproof menu with all of my tried-and-true recipes, a detailed timeline and execution plan, my personal recommendations and sources for everything you'll need, decor and outfit inspiration, and so much more. You'll also find simple ideas to make your space feel more festive, party vibe and etiquette tips, and across-the-board advice for making any event more fun and manageable.


  • 20% off any purchase (!) –– just in time for holiday gift-giving
  • Exclusive membership to the Salt House Insiders' Community, where you can ask me any questions related to your specific situation
  • Bonus Content: How To Stock & Style Your Holiday Bar 🥂
How To Poach Shrimp


  • Professional restaurant chef techniques to ensure effortless timing and maximum flavor
  • Tips for adapting menus and recipes to various dietary restrictions and diets
  • My special trick for not forgetting garnishes and finishing touches in the heat of the moment
Shrimp Cocktail with Green Goddess Sauce
  • "Super-simple twists” so that you can still throw a great party even if you don’t feel like cooking
  • How to buy the right quantities and think about crafting any menu to make it work for entertaining
  • Simply styling your food and space so that it looks beautiful without wasting money or effort
Take A Peek...

  • Holiday Cocktail Party Menu
  • Shrimp Cocktail with Green Goddess Sauce
  • Holiday Cocktail Party Recipes
  • Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Meatball Appetizer
  • Endive Boats with Avocado and Beets
  • Holiday Hosting Guide Preview - Stocking The Bar
  • Holiday Dinner Party Menu
  • Holiday Dinner Party
  • Holiday Prime Rib Roast
  • Potato Galette with Duck Fat & Thyme
  • Holiday Hosting Guide Preview - The Sit-Down Dinner
  • Holiday Brunch Party Menu
  • Hot Cocoa Bar
  • Eggnog French Toast Casserole
  • Blood Orange Mimosas
  • Hot Cocoa Bar
  • Holiday Hosting Guide Preview - Recipe
A classic, upscale holiday cocktail party with a modern twist.
An elegant yet uncomplicated dinner party for feeling fancy and festive.
Turning this one into a PJ party is optional, but the spiked hot cocoa bar is most definitely not.

This menu is packed with crowd-pleasing, elegant yet totally simple recipes––many of which with a Mediterranean spin. There's something for everyone here, from the vegans to the hungry boys and everything in between. Don't miss the gilded dark chocolate bark with sea salt or the gorgeous sparkling punch filled with pink lemons and pomegranate seeds.

This menu looks, feels, and tastes so impressive––but I guarantee you, it’s probably one of the easiest menus I’ve ever created. The ultimate prime rib takes center stage and my cooking method is completely foolproof. The potato galette has been a go-to holiday side for years; it's so pretty yet totally easy to do. And the radicchio and burrata situation is my latest obsession.

Whether it’s Christmas morning brunch with the fam, unlimited/bottomless mimosas with friends, or a way to spice up that bagel and lox spread on Hannukah, this easy and delicious brunch menu will please them all. The eggnog French toast casserole is to-die-for, but of course, the spiked hot cocoa bar is the real star of the show.

Hot Cocoa Bar
Holiday Card DIY
Stovetop Potpourri DIY
"The best advice I can offer is to enjoy yourself. Be in the moment. Your guests will feel it."

Holiday Bar Cart
Holiday Wreath DIY
Champagne Punch with Pomegranates and Citrus
Become An Insider

With the purchase of this guide, you will also receive 20% off of your purchase at, which I hope you’ll find useful to perhaps purchase some new plates or a set of great wine glasses. And if you’re good to go there, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of gift options for friends and family. But the best part is, or at least what I hope will be an invaluable tool for you, is that you will receive access to our private Salt House Insiders’ community page on Facebook, where you’ll be able to ask any cooking- or entertaining-related questions to me and my team. Think of me as your personal coach to make sure your event goes off without a hitch.