How to Create a Winter Wonderland in Southern California

December 19, 2012

Unless you have the desire to trek up to the mountains for your shin dig or plan on renting a snow machine, hosting a White Christmas is probably not an option for your SoCal event. Don’t worry. Here are a few tips on how to transform your dinner/party/get together/whathaveyou into an event so full of winter your guests will hardly miss the snow.

The Main Attraction


If your event is small, consider a venue where a fireplace is one of the focal points. Intimate dinners are perfect for this. Grace the table with candles. Have a cozy sit-down dinner with the fire roaring in the background or set up bonfires and heaters throughout the venue for a larger crowd.

For the more elaborate parties, consider bringing ice into the mix. Depending on your budget and space, renting an ice rink might be just the unique, winter kick your event needs. Greet guests with warm hot chocolate and a pair of skates, then let them glide the rink or lounge in comfy chairs.

If it’s space that’s an issue, go a little cheese-ball-tastic and rent out a human snow globe. Hire a photographer and make that your photobooth for the night.

For those who don’t have have a large budget or a large crowd, ice rinks and giant snow globes are too extreme. Instead, focus on decorations with a winter glow — jingle bells, garlands, sparkles, cool colors (silver, grey, white, plum, forest green, blue) and create that wintery atmosphere through lighting, smell (helloo cinnamon candles) and music.

Color Scheme
For color schemes consider more neutral tones such as white, gold, silver, cream, greys and perhaps jewel tones. The overall effect is winter — the classic white snow on tree tops, the sparkle of ice, the glow of Christmas lights — you get the idea.


Events By Heather Ham Blog

Appeal to nature
Implement pine cones, garlands, holly wreaths and other forms of seasonal foliage to set the winter mood.

Call in the diamonds
In a perfect world, a winter wonderland is laden with tons of sparkling snow. Create the same effect with glitter, sparkles and diamond-like decor.

Never underestimate the power of lights. They can transform your event into a glowing, visual success. Wrap the patio in twisting streams of lights or drape them across open space dining areas.



Depending on budget, size of audience and mood, the food and beverage choices can differ greatly. Aim for “winter” treats like peppermint desserts, chocolate goodies, holiday cocktails and warm drinks. Here are some fun ones:

Silent Night Martini

Winter Wonderland Martini
Spicy GingerMan
Candy Buffet

Taking a page from the Hostess With The Mostess, create a winter candy buffet. Use glass mason jars or clear containers to display everyone’s favorite  treats. Purchase white and blue M&M color combinations, candy canes, brownies topped with white frosting and blue sprinkles, sparkling white and blue rock candy and other similar goodies to create a dessert table practically dripping with snow.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

At the end of the day it’s about what creates the best experience for your guests. Whether it’s an elaborate ice skating soiree or a simple, down-to-earth Secret Santa exchange, there are plenty of ways to bring winter into a 75-degree weather atmosphere.


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