Yelp teams up with ‘Queen of Christmas’ Kathy Hilton to prep for the holidays, reveal top holiday entertaining tips & favorite local businesses
This year, we’re teaming up with the ‘Queen of Christmas,’ Kathy Hilton, to prepare for the holidays with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, who is known for her fabulous holiday parties, over-the-top decor, and her love of all things entertaining. Juggling her role on Bravo’s RHOBH Season 11, while planning her eldest daughter’s star-studded nuptials, has left little time for the mom of three to bring her usual winter wonderland to life in her home. Just in time for the season, Hilton turned to Yelp to find and hire trusted professionals to help decorate her home and prep for holiday festivities. She’s also sharing her top entertaining tips, along with a collection of her go-to small businesses in Los Angeles — including her favorite florist, J’adore Les Fleurs, her top bakery for custom cakes, Hansen’s Cakes, and the beauty professionals she relies on to look her best throughout the busy holiday season.
After all, getting the job done takes a village. On Yelp, we’re seeing an increase in users searching for professionals to help them deck the halls and make things merry and bright for holiday festivities. Consumer interest in Holiday Decorating Services is 63% higher his year compared to 2020*, and in recent months** Yelp data shows higher consumer interest in entertaining categories like valet services (+178%), DJs (+97%), event planners (+32%), bartenders (+25%), and party equipment rentals (+24%).
“The holidays are my favorite time of year, where I get to spend time with my family and friends, and put on my hostess hat. During the holiday season, more than ever, I rely on my favorite local businesses to decorate my home, give me a helping hand when it comes to entertaining, and make sure I’m looking my best,” says Hilton. “Hiring a professional like an event planner or bartender is a big decision, and an investment, and Yelp makes it easy to not only find great service pros, but also to hire them and schedule their services.”
As you consider incorporating these tips into your holiday entertaining this year, Yelp can help you find and connect with highly-rated local businesses through the Request a Quote feature. In September and October, nearly 1.4 million projects were generated using the tool, which allows you to quickly and easily get quotes back from multiple businesses. Don’t forget to leave a review to tell other people about all of the great local businesses that you rely on during the holidays!
Kathy Hilton’s tips for holiday entertaining:
Invest in a few great serving pieces. Serving pieces instantly elevate a gathering, whether it’s a holiday soiree with one hundred guests, or a simple dinner party with the girls. The best part? You can serve anything on them. New friends are always surprised to come over for the first time and find that I’m serving In-N-Out burgers from my antique silver chafing dish (very pleasantly surprised, I might add). Local thrift stores are a great place to find serving pieces, and Yelp is a great resource for discovering the best local thrift stores, like Trove LA. You can often find me in my car checking the star rating of new places to visit around town!
Hire a bartender. I have my staff that has been with me for years, but I also use Yelp to hire additional professionals when it comes to hosting an event, such as a bartender, to make sure that as the hostess I can spend time with my friends and family. I like to hire people who can mix a great (real) martini, set a stunning table, and overall be a team player to help me get things done. Even if your budget is tight, hiring one person to help you will ensure you get to be part of the memorable experience for you and your guests. Yelp’s Request a Quote feature allows you to get quotes from up to ten highly-rated local businesses, often in a matter of minutes, to ensure you can find someone within your budget. Espresso martinis are having a moment (Yelp saw searches for the beverage increase 114% from January to October), so having a professional who can set up an espresso martini bar, or create a signature cocktail or mocktail for your event creates a fun and unique experience for your guests.
Always have a surprise. For the party to celebrate my first full episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I had a giant pizza from Big Mama and Papa’s Pizzeria that everyone could not get enough of. It created the perfect photo moment, and of course was absolutely delicious. Don’t be afraid to have fun and add a twist to your party with something unorthodox, as that will be the thing people talk about for days afterwards. On Yelp, the karaoke category is 36% higher**, which is a perfect unexpected activity where guests can let their hair down. Whether it’s a karaoke machine for everyone to use, a photographer to capture the night, or a custom cake from a beloved local business like Hansen’s in L.A. (a personal favorite of mine!) you should always have something memorable that sets your party apart.
Get yourself ready to be the optimal host. It’s important to carve out time for yourself to decompress and focus on you for a moment so you are in a good frame of mind when guests start to arrive. If you’ve hired an event planner, bartender, or a chef to help you prepare some of the food, always have them come an hour earlier than you think you will need them, so that you’re not rushing and stressed. When a host or hostess is relaxed and enjoying themselves, the guests can feel that energy, and the same goes for someone who is scrambling at the last minute. I always have a glass of wine 30 minutes before the invitation start time is called for, and I credit this ritual for keeping me somewhat zen at a dinner party I hosted that became known as “the dinner party from hell.” Right before an event, I make sure I look and feel my best by having my hair styled at Jose Eber hair salon, and take some time to relax while getting my nails done at Beverly Hills Nail Design.
Add over-the-top decor. Your decor sets the tone of the event, and the details do matter. I always recommend having a playful balloon display from a business like OC Balloon Party, or working with an event planner to come up with a theme for the evening. For the holidays, color-coordinated decorations always create a jaw-dropping moment for guests, who appreciate the thought that goes into making a gathering particularly memorable and festive. I like to use a holiday decorating service or handyman to help get my garland and festive lights up, and work with me to get the tree decorated, as it can be challenging and physically demanding, so best left to the pros (especially if you don’t have someone handy around the house). A home organizer can also work with you to come up with a system to keep all of your decorations organized, or, in my case, my wrapping room needs some love.
Don’t forget the kids! If you are hosting extended family this year like I am, go to your local arts and crafts store and pick up a bunch of different activities for kids to do. Set up a little area with coloring books, a holiday specific activity — whatever is easy and fun — that will keep the kids happy and busy so that the parents can enjoy the festivities as well. I always do this when my grandkids are over during a dinner party.
Support local small businesses. Like most people, I rely on trusted local businesses for everything from keeping me fueled with coffee, like The Fountain Coffee Room, to providing the most delicious treats to have out at parties, like Edelweiss Chocolates, and making sure all of my clothes are pressed, like Pico Cleaners. When I’m not hosting, it’s great to know that I can always count on beloved favorites like Lawry’s The Prime Rib for family dinners, Craig’s for dinner with the girls, and The Abbey Food & Bar for dancing! A great gift or party favor idea is a service or gift card from a beloved local business that you want to show some love to.
Check out Kathy Hilton’s go-to businesses during the holiday season here:
Share your favorite local businesses you use for the holidays on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @Yelp!
*October 2021 compared to October 2020
**Higher in August-October 2021 than in the same period from 2020