Spending Time With Friends and Family Ranked As Favorite Holiday Activity; Sears' Lifestyle Expert Offers Tips For Successful Holiday Entertaining

Most people rank spending time with friends and family as their favorite holiday activity, the Sears 2005 holiday consumer poll reveals.

The poll also found 74 percent of holiday hosts and hostesses prefer to entertain at home, and many ranked atmosphere as one of the key elements for successful holiday entertaining.

"Whether you want to wow your guests with style and simplicity or dazzle them with glitz and technology, there are lots of simple ways to add a little pizzazz into your holiday entertaining," explains lifestyle expert and author Laurin Sydney.

Sydney and other experts agree one of the best ways to accomplish this is with simple personal touches. A centerpiece that looks like it just arrived from the florist does not convey the same warmth and welcome as a collection of fresh-cut flowers arranged by hand.

Other ways to add warmth include displaying framed pictures of family and friends, which are always good conversation starters. Candles also convey a festive feel. Find new ways to display simple votive candles, on a tiered dessert stand or arranged in a colorful serving bowl.

No matter what your entertaining style, you don't have to spend a fortune to be chic, especially when it comes to holiday entertaining. Trend experts agree it is hip to be frugal, and you don't have to spend a lot of money to jazz up your holiday entertaining.

However, that doesn't mean you can't wish big, because Sears offers many creative items under $50 to brighten the holidays:

  -- Dipping strawberries and marshmallows into a waterfall of molten
     chocolate made possible by a Chocolate Fondue Pot, the ultimate party
     accessory. ($49.99).
  -- Create a beautiful holiday table with the timeless Winterberry
     Dinnerware Collection from Pfaltzgraff.  Complement the 16-piece
     dinnerware set with seasonal items that are festive, as well as
     dishwasher and microwave safe. ($99.99).
  -- Sip cocktails in style with a set of four Ty Pennington Style
     Cosmopolitan Martini Glasses, available exclusively at ($19.99).

When it comes to holiday entertaining, creativity and whimsy never go out of style. Whether offering guests a taste of nostalgia or sending them home with a unique keepsake, taking a different approach will make a lasting impression. Here are a few ideas:

  -- Give your guests photos of the gathering almost instantly with the
     Kodak Digital Camera/Printer combination. This 5 MP digital camera
     easily connects to the camera dock (no computer needed) to produce
     high-quality photos in minutes. ($399).
  -- With the Sony 5 CD Micro Stereo System, create a holiday mood to fit
     any gathering.  With plenty of power for small or large rooms, the unit
     is compatible with many MP3 digital formats. ($199.99).
  -- Wine seems to fit most holiday gatherings like a glove, and with the
     Kenmore Elite 41-Bottle Wine Cellar guests will be "oohing" and "ahing"
     all the way home. Easy touch temperature controls keeps wine at the
     perfect temperature. ($649.99).
  -- Good party, great coffee, with the Cuisinart 12-cup Programmable Coffee
     on Demandâ„¢ Coffee Maker ($109.99).

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: Media, Sears Media Relations, +1-847-286-9036 or

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