Get Inspired by The Plaza's Tree Lighting Tea Ceremony

'Tis the season to deck the halls. 'Tis also the season to throw parties in those halls. Instead of putting the finishing touches on your tree before guests arrive to your holiday party, consider making it the highlight of the occasion by hosting a tree lighting party.

(Photos courtesy of The Plaza)
Earlier this month The Plaza hotel kicked off the holiday season by hosting a flock of New Yorkers–– a majority of whom were mother-daughter pairs dressed to the nines in true Eloise fashion–– for their 3rd annual Tree Lighting Tea. The tea-goers met under the ornate domed-glass ceiling of the Palm Lounge to indulge in tiered trays of pâtisseries, complemented by white porcelain pots of the hotel's new Snowflake blend. As saucers and plates were cleared, champagne flutes filled and everyone gathered in the Fifth Avenue Foyer for a toast and countdown to the tree's illumination.

Photo: Angelica Domingo / Lonny
What I like about this party is that although the setting of The Plaza makes the preparation seem quite grand, the necessary requirements are minimal: food, drinks, friends, and a tree (or anything—or anyone—you'd love to see covered in strands of twinkling lights!)

Photo: Angelica Domingo / Lonny
The key element that separates it from other wintry occasions is the sequence of events. First, decide your TOL (Time Of Lighting). Invite your guests two hours prior and set out platters of your preferred tapas and seasonal drinks; choose a party-worthy album for added ambiance. Two hours is just enough time to build anticipation for the big reveal, but not so long that guests begin to forget why they came.

Photo: Angelica Domingo / Lonny
At five minutes to TOL, make sure everyone has a glass of something bubbly for a toast.
Next, mute the tunes and usher everyone around your dim tree/wreath/garland/mantle/lucky friend(?) and take your place at the outlet/switch. Count down from ten know the rest!

Photos: Angelica Domingo / Lonny
Now tell us: what would you serve at your party of lights?  Do you decorate a traditional evergreen? Be sure to show off your own holiday decor on Instagram @lonnymag all season long!
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