It’s that time of year– the time of Holiday parties and hosting. With this season comes a busyness that left unchecked can suck the joy right out of the season.
Here are a few tips for hosting a successful holiday party that won’t leave the host weary:
1 // Make lists in preparation -Start with a guest list. (Remember to keep your budget in mind when determining the number of people attending your party.) Next, make a menu and list out the dishes and needed ingredients. From that list, you can determine what ingredients you already have and those that need to be purchased. Once your grocery list is complete, make a list of decor items you have and those that you need to purchase (make sure you include decor in your budget, if you plan to buy additional items).
2 // Don’t overextend yourself on the décor – doing so can add unnecessary pressure. I like to use fresh flowers and greenery when I can. A few strands of garland and some seasonal plants are a quick and inexpensive way to bring life to your tablescape.
3 // Set the table ahead of time – Choose a table setting that reflects the climate of the party. If your dinner is informal, don’t use your best crystal. I always set my table the day before my party. The night of the party, my focus will be on food and guests; plus I want the presentation to be as I envisioned it, so setting it ahead of time gives me time to tweak it with as much time as I need.
4 // Select serving dishes ahead of time – Similar to the table, I select my serving dishes and utensils the day before my party. This ensures that I have enough serving-ware for all the dishes I prepare. I typically label the dishes with a sticky note so that the night of my party I don’t have to remember which dish I planned to use for each menu item.
5 // Serve simple appetizers – Let’s face it, it’s hard to have all the food ready at the exact time your guests are slated to arrive. And, even if it was, a guest is bound to be late, causing everyone else to wait on dinner. Create a buffer for yourself and for tardy guests by serving simple appetizers. These snacks will keep your guests from starving and lessen the awkwardness of standing around waiting on dinner. This will give you a few minutes for last minute preparations!
6 // Walk away from the dishes – When dinner comes to an end, move your guests to another location, perhaps a sitting room or living room and serve dessert there. This provides a nice change of scenery and allows the host the opportunity to enjoy the guests rather than cleaning up the dishes.
Hospitality is not about perfection; it’s about caring for others. Remember that this Holiday season when you are tempted to worry about the details of your party. With a few simple preparations and a little forward thinking you can enjoy hosting an evening of fun in your home!