Effortless Elegance: Hosting with Ease in Texas Forest Country


The holiday season is upon us in Texas Forest Country, bringing a festive air filled with warmth and merriment. But, let’s be honest, it can also bring a dash of stress, especially when you’re playing host. This season, let’s turn the tables on holiday hosting, transforming it into an enjoyable and stress-free experience with some local flair.

1. Simplify the Feast with Local Delights:

  • Pre-Plan Your Menu: Embrace the bounties of Texas Forest Country. Plan a menu featuring local specialties like Jasper County smoked brisket from Smitty’s Smokehouse or San Augustine County Tater Tot Casserole from Tasha’s Country Kitchen.
  • Shop Local: Visit farmers’ markets in counties like Angelina and Nacogdoches for fresh, seasonal ingredients. A farm-to-table approach not only supports local businesses but also adds a fresh twist to your holiday meals.
  • Make-Ahead Magic: Prepare dishes like Tyler County chicken & dumplings from Pickett House in Woodville, or Shelby County Chorro Bread Pudding from Family Traditions Southern Eatery & Catering in Center in advance. Reheatable and freezable options save you time and hassle on the big day.

2. Desserts to Delight:

  • Local Bakeries to the Rescue: Don’t stress over baking. Pick up festive treats from local bakeries in Lufkin from Real Time Breads’ Pumpkin Loaf to Pecan Pies from Yoki’s Cakes & More on Denman. Yoki also has incredible Tamales!
  • A Sweet Buffet: Set up a dessert table with a variety of options. Include easy-to-serve items like mini pastries, cookies, and chocolate truffles from local confectioneries.

3. Engage and Entertain:

  • Local Game Night: Source board games and cards from local stores in San Jacinto or Sabine County. Games that reflect the local culture add a unique twist and serve as great conversation starters.
  • Outdoor Movie Experience: Take advantage of the mild Texas fall weather. Set up an outdoor movie night featuring classics or local indie films. Cozy blankets and a fire pit can create a magical ambiance.

4. The Art of Delegation:

  • Potluck Style: Encourage guests to bring a dish. This not only eases your cooking load but also adds variety to the menu. Each dish tells a story, especially when they’re specialties from different counties.
  • Hire Local Help: Consider hiring local caterers for part of the event. Many small businesses in the area offer unique catering options that can add a special touch to your gathering. Check out David Calhoun’s Texas Custom Catering in Lufkin.

5. Relax and Rejuvenate:

  • Spa Day Prior: Treat yourself to a spa day in one of the many relaxation havens in Texas Forest Country. It’s important to be relaxed and rejuvenated to host with a smile. Check out Nest Spa in Nacogdoches.
  • Nature Walks: A morning walk in the serene landscapes of Texas Forest Country can be incredibly grounding and a great way to start a busy day of hosting. Check out the many trails in our local National Forests.

6. Decor with a Local Touch:

  • Nature-Inspired Decor: Utilize natural elements from the area – pine cones, branches, and autumn leaves – to create unique and cost-effective decorations.
  • Local Art and Crafts: Adorn your space with art pieces or crafts from local artists. This not only supports the local community but also gives your home a unique, festive look.

So, this holiday season, let the spirit of Texas Forest Country infuse your hosting. By embracing local produce, businesses, and the natural beauty of our region, you can create a holiday gathering that’s not only stress-free but also uniquely Texan. Remember, the essence of the holidays is to enjoy and make memories, so take a deep breath, relax, and let the festive cheer of Texas Forest Country guide you through.

Lee Miller
Lee Miller was born in Denison, TX and grew up in East Texas with his family. He studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University taking a job in television on his last day of student teaching. Lee also provides business authoritative expertise to the broadcast industry as a consultant. Presently he is CEO of MSG Resources LLC, which specializes in consulting within broadcast best practices, distribution technologies and media strategy mastery. - - - - - Lee Miller is a well-known veteran of the broadcast media industry with particular experience in leading for-profit and non-profit broadcasting organizations. His career began in Lufkin, Texas in the early 80’s where he progressed from studio operations to creative services and network management. Mr. Miller has since received various professional designations and memberships such as Society of Broadcast Engineers accredited frequency coordinator, The Energy Professionals Association Certified Energy Consultant, and National Religious Broadcasters Television Committee & past Chair. Lee also serves as the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, is a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee and is proud to be part of Texas Association of Broadcasters Golden Mic Club, highlighting extraordinary careers in broadcasting. Continued engagement with his community is at the core of his business practices serving on the board of the Salvation Army and as keyboardist for the contemporary worship band at Harmony Hill Baptist Church. Lee lives near Lufkin Texas on one of his family’s tree farms located in the Texas Forest Country region north of Houston. He is married to Kenla and has two grown children, Joshua, COO of MSGPR Ltd Co and Morgan, a Critical Care ICU RN.

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