Grandkids and Granddogs Welcome

Hosting for the holidays


As a couple, David and Rena Michael have been cultivating their hosting skills for nearly five decades. When it comes to hosting for the holidays, whether it’s “just family” or for large parties, Rena summarizes the secret to success in one word, “Planning!” she declares.

“I take the time to decide who should sit where, which serving dishes I’ll be using,” Rena says. “And, If I’m setting the table for a party, I keep in mind the of table gift for the guests.”

The couple has also learned to cut the right corners whenever possible. “We don’t stress the food—David buys the food already prepped and I put it into pretty china or serving pieces,” she says.

“Nothing has to be matchy-matchy anymore,” Rena says with a hint of relief.


The entry hall sets the tone for what people feel when they enter a home, Rena says. “The manger scene is the important part of our Christmas. It’s the first thing you see when you come in the door.”

Rena describes her decorating style as contemporary mixed with traditional.

“My chandelier and table are contemporary, but I love collecting—that’s more traditional, I guess.”

In collecting, however, she eschews the typical Christmas formula of angels and stars.

“I love reindeer—I try to collect one every year. My sister-in-law started me on them with a big one from Crate and Barrel,” Rena says.

Her other Christmas collectible: ornamental shoes, which are hung on a five-foot “shoe tree” each holiday season.

With her children grown, Rena has enjoyed the decorating freedom that comes with an empty-nester’s home, but she still allows the grandkids to use the fancy table settings. “They are on their very best behavior because it is a special occasion, and they want to be like the adults,” she says.

“Besides, I’ve had adults break china,” Rena laughs, “so it really doesn’t make a difference who’s using it!”