A festive fete with far-and-away feels

Style at Home design editor Morgan Lindsay trades traditional Christmas trappings for a tropical spin on a holiday brunch.

Take six best friends, some free-flowing champagne cocktails and yummy food, and add a fun tropical decorating twist on the holidays. That was Style at Home design editor Morgan Lindsay’s approach for this special holiday brunch she threw at her 850-square-foot Toronto apartment.

“I love entertaining friends at my place, so I’m usually the host,” says Morgan. “But I wanted to do something a little more colourful and out of the ordinary for Christmas.” While guests sip cocktails, a parade of pineapples, flamingos and palm leaves – in a fresh palette of pink, turquoise and gold – transports them to a faraway island paradise. The menu is a relaxed, easy brunch spread that allows Morgan to join the party and not be cloistered in the kitchen. Pastries from a local bakery, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit, mimosas, citrus-infused water, tea and coffee keep the focus on the fun rather than on a labour-intensive meal.

For the decorations, Morgan pulled out anything she had that fit the theme and came up with a few simple DIY projects to reinforce it. “My place is mostly neutral, so it’s easy to switch up the decor to fit any holiday or party style,” she says. Many of the materials and textures in the space already lend themselves well to a tropical look, like the cane-back chair and the woven light fixture and pouffes. Pineapple- and palm leaf-print gift wrap and stockings, as well as bouquets of bright pink and yellow blooms, all call to mind a holiday spent at a sunny resort.

The table is set with a chic runner, rattan placemats and basic white dishes and then layered with more colourful items like pink glassware, punchy napkins and on-trend copper-hued flatware. A mimosa station on the bar cart allows guests to help themselves, while the dining area’s sideboard is laid with brunch offerings.

Because she entertains frequently, Morgan is a pro at whipping together a casual soiree at a moment’s notice. She keeps a well-stocked pantry and has plenty of dishware and serving pieces stashed away to be pulled out when guests arrive. “I love it when people pop over,” she says. “Family and friends are always swinging by.” The holidays are even busier for this social butterfly, since she plans many of her circle’s get-togethers. But the best gatherings are the ones for which the work is kept to a minimum so the fun can be maximized. That sure sounds like paradise to us.

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Hot-hued blooms, big palm leaves and a bowl of citrus fruits pack a tropical punch in the living area. The neutral sofa and textured pieces like the cane-back sidechair and woven pouffes create a perfect back- drop for any style of holiday decorations.

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A copper garland trumpets the merry and bright mood for the holiday brunch that homeowner and Style at Home design editor Morgan Lindsay hosts for her girlfriends. The Christmas tree greets guests and cues the tropical theme with its colourful ornaments and pretty wrapped gifts beneath.

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The table is set for a casual brunch, with Morgan’s pretty gallery wall form­ing a chic backdrop. A natural sisal rug and woven light fixture are serendip­itous matches for the beachy look.

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Since there’s no fireplace in the apartment, Morgan hung stockings from the antique drop-leaf table that belonged to her grandfather. A gold foliage garland laid across the table top acts as a simple holiday trimming.

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A toast among besties is what this casual gathering is all about. Tall pink glasses are a sweet festive touch.

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For the cocktail du jour? “Brunch mimosas, says Morgan. “It’s fun to have a special cocktail to offer guests.”

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As for the bites, Morgan says, “I’m all for fresh fruit and finger foods that allow the host to enjoy the party as much as the guests do. For something hot, a quiche or frittata is easy to make a day ahead and pop in the oven before the party starts.”

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To pull off a holiday bash with as little stress as possible, take Morgan’s advice and set the table the night before, and also, grab some fresh flowers as they’ll pull the space together.



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