SOMERVILLE, NJ - Stressed out about entertaining during the holidays? If you follow the expert advice from these pros in Downtown Somerville, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying your gathering instead of wasting time worrying.

Home Décor: Bring Nature Indoors

“Rustic with an elegant twist” is the theme for many holiday tables and home decorations this year, according to Jillian McAlpine, the owner of Carousel of Flowers (15 W. Main Street). McAlpine added that this trend is popular with brides planning their wedding receptions and other party organizers this season, too.

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“Natural, organic materials, plus lots of greenery, contribute to a no-fuss look that can be dressed up or down,” said to McAlpine. “Birch bark containers or decorative lanterns, filled with twinkling lights or votive candles, emphasize the theme while providing a pop of brightness.”

Personal Styling: Natural Elegance

The trend toward a natural look extends to popular holiday styles for hair and makeup as well. Casandra Sullivan, manager and stylist at the popular Jade Salon (21 Division Street), suggested “understated elegance”: manageable styles with easy upkeep are the hottest trend this season. Forget about elaborate upswept hair; think about ponytails and other simple, stylish options. “Nude or darker lipsticks add subtle nuance to a look that is natural but amped up, and make a sophisticated impression for the holidays,” Sullivan concluded.

Menu: Think Beverage

When hosting a holiday dinner, consider a refined paring…with a craft beer. As local micro-brews continue to explore more distinctive flavors and ingredients, many smaller-batch options fit right in with finer fare. Mike Proske owns Tapastre (1 West High Street), an award-winning restaurant that presents one of central New Jersey’s largest selections of craft beers.  He believes there are lots of beer styles that are yet to be appreciated by aficionados. “East Coast brewers are behind their West Coast counterparts when it comes to sours and beers made using wild yeast fermentation,” he pointed out.

For the holiday season, Proske suggests Troeg’s Mad Elf, a powerful brew that tops out at 11% ABV (alcohol by volume), Two Roads Bog Wild, a sour beer brewed with the holiday flavor of wild cranberries, Port’s Santa’s Little Helper, an imperial stout with chocolate notes, and Schafly’s Christmas Ale, brewed with orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root and cardamom, all on draft at Tapastre.

Still Stressing? Ask For Help

When you draw a blank, reach out to people who are so passionate about solving these problems that they make doing so their living. “In addition to providing personalized service, small business owners are experts who are happy to share their knowledge and professional experience regarding trends all year round,” said Beth Anne Macdonald, Executive Director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance (DSA).

Stop by Tapestre to try out favorites and chat about meal pairings or Carousel of Flowers for centerpiece tips. Treat yourself to a consultation and styling day-of at Jade Salon. The great thing about a stroll around Downtown Somerville is that you’ll discover someone that can’t wait to help you with whatever your particular entertainment pickle happens to be.

For complete directories of local businesses and restaurants, plus information about programs and services provided by the Downtown Somerville Alliance, visit downtownsomerville.com. You can also follow news from Somerville on social media at Facebook.com/DowntownSomervilleAlliance and Instagram.com/DowntownSomerville.