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stocking stuffer roundup: event planner debi lilly’s perfect picks for stuffing those stockings

Sometimes the mysterious lure of a stuffed stocking can be more exciting than the presents under the tree.  Chicago event planner Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event shares her special touches for the holidays & creates a roundup of the best stocking stuffers to give!

Debi Lilly A Perfect Event

Why we love her:

Perfection is in the details—and this rings loud and clear with Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event.  As Chicago’s most popular party planner, she describes her job as “making special occasions as beautiful and celebrated as possible.”  But what sets her apart from every other event planner is her stunning attention to detail and beauty.  Every invitation, every design, every floral arrangement chosen by Debi is carefully thought out and perfectly executed.  She truly has an eye for beauty and knows how to make an occasion special.

We love how she puts an extra sparkle on everything she touches.  She gives as much attention and planning to her current client’s save-the-date as she does her celebrity clients’ huge parties (you may have heard of some of them…like Ms. Oprah Winfrey herself!).  With the season of entertaining now here, we wanted to know just how she does it all.  Debi gave us her personal touches for making celebrations special, as well as her perfect picks for stocking stuffers!

When did your love of event planning start?

When I was tiny!  As a very young girl I dreamed of planning parties—and threw them left and right for all of my friends, for my favorite boy band’s birthdays, you name it.

What inspired you to found A Perfect Event?  What do your days entail?

Making special occasions as beautiful and celebrated as possible.  I love that every day is unique – every party and client is different.  It is a constant source of new, fresh inspiration and design.

Debi Lilly A Perfect Event

What would you personally describe as “a perfect event”?

A setting or party that brings favorite friends and family together to celebrate—filled with fun energy, laughter, kindness, love.

What kinds of projects & events do you work on?  What aspects of event planning do you love the most?

We work on every possible type of design and styling project—from food styling, to writing, editing and directing shoots for our bimonthly entertaining magazine, to planning parties, to curating holiday pop up shops on Michigan Avenue inside the Bloomingdales Building.

I honestly love all the moving parts.  I love the concepting, the florals, the paper and graphics—to me each element builds on the next and tells a beautiful personal story with style.

Debi Lilly A Perfect Event

What are some “Debi Lilly” signatures?  What design elements, touches or details are essentials, which set your events apart from the rest?

Candlelight is a party essential, no matter the time of day.  In windowsills, on tables, in bathrooms; they create a warm, soft glow and calm aesthetic.

I also love mixing found treasures of all eras—vintage and deco, mid century with renaissance.  The more personal and collected the decor looks, the more interesting it is.

When planning your own events & gatherings, what are your personal must-haves?

Music is a huge detail to me; I work on my playlists for every single event down to the exact order the songs will be played.

Ice-cold champagne is another (I love all things French!) and it is always a special, welcoming cocktail as guests arrive—bringing a smile as it’s served.

You’re a renowned event planner who has worked with some very big names—particularly Oprah!  What’s been your experience working with her?

She’s amazing.  Funny, appreciative, full of kindness, always planning and designing something for everyone around her.  We should all aspire to be so gracious and generous.

From baby and wedding showers, to her televised 50th birthday, to every single giant red car bow for the famous season premiere surprise, to gifts for Julia Roberts, Gwenyth Paltrow, Michelle Obama, and 15 more years worth of crazy cool fun.

Debi Lilly A Perfect Event

When’s your busiest season?

Fall through holiday.  Whew.  It’s a real whirl.  Buckle up!

As an expert at entertaining, what are some of your tricks that you use this time of year?

Plan ahead—stock up to dress your home the minute Thanksgiving ends.  Definitely stock your pantry with staples for quick entertaining on-the-fly, like Simple and Crisp yums, cheese, fruit jams, spiced nuts, olives, and a few bottles of champagne in the frigo!

debi lilly’s perfect picks for your stocking stuffers this holiday season:

Ready to delight this year?!  It’s time to step up your game from the easy ol’ go-to gift cards.  These stocking stuffers are guaranteed to light up your loved one’s faces this holiday season.

Stocking Stuffer Roundup

1. Monogram Beaded Clutch – $130; available online

These little clutches are so fun and easy to personalize!  You can mix and match colors, patterns, monograms (even pick “LOL” or “MRS”)!

2. S’mores Crunch Candy Jars – $10; available online

This is one of my favorite local Chicago old-fashioned candies!  It’s a perfect stocking stuffer for young and old—great on top of ice cream for winter s’mores or sundaes!

3. Simple & Crisp Signature Mini Pack – $54; available online

I can’t plan a party without Simple & Crisp!  One of my favorite recipe is Apple with a slice of Pecorino and a schmear of fig preserves – easy as 1, 2, 3 for a no cook holiday appetizer!  This Signature Mini Pack is the perfect bundle size of Apple, Orange, and Pear – great for tossing into all your stockings and wrapping the rest with bows as hostess gifts!

4. Vintage Favor Jars – $10; available online

I think these jars are so adorable—they’re perfect for filling with candy or small treats!  They can also be used later to store stationery, makeup brushes, you name it.

5. Washi Tape Craft Sets – starting at $4.50; available online or at local craft stores

We can’t throw a party or set a table without Washi Tape!  We love making Washi straws, Washi pennants, Washi tables!  They’re a great gift for anyone you love that’s creative, loves to entertain, or enjoys baking and crafts!

6. Vintage Champagne Coupes – price varies; available online or locally

I love buying sets from flea markets, antique stores, thrift shops…and then wrapping them up in hat boxes and tissues for holiday hostess gifts.

7. Bon Bons – $10; available online

First of all, who doesn’t love gifts in mason jars?!  These are adorable, unique holiday gifts that add a special little touch to anyone’s stocking.

8. Antique Candles – $17.95; available online

You already know I love candles, so how could I not include this as a perfect pick?!  Candles make an adorable stocking stuffer – they’re the perfect size and a great way for your loved one to relax after the craziness of the holidays!

For more information on Debi Lilly, you can visit A Perfect Event’s website & follow her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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