Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Entertaining
Holidays are traditionally a time when friends and family get together to celebrate, usually over food and drink. And if the party finds itself at your house this year, don’t stress. Here are some time and energy-saving tips that will make your party as enjoyable for you as it will be for you guests.
You don’t have to be perfect. No one expects it. Remember the saying -“Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.” Relax – let yourself off the hook. You and your guests will have more fun if you do.
Consider serving a buffet rather than a sit-down meal. They’re less work. Cocktail parties are even easier!
Design a menu keeping in mind the type of party you’re having (buffet, brunch, cocktail, etc.) and the preferences of your guests. And then be sure to spread the work across your kitchen - in other words, don’t plan a menu that requires everything to be baked in the oven at the last minute.
Make sure you have a mixture of tastes, textures and temperatures on your menu (spicy and mild, crunchy and creamy, hot and cold).
Prepare a detailed grocery list, going through each recipe so you won’t forget anything or buy unnecessary items.
Shop well in advance of the party.
Prepare as much as possible ahead of time – freeze when possible; clean up as you go so you don’t have to face a mountain of pots and pans.
Consider using some pre-prepared items such as pie shells, party mixes and dips to save time.
Buy heavyweight, attractive paper plates and napkins. It makes clean up so much easier at the end of the evening.
Plan a food preparations schedule with times detailing when dishes should go into the oven in order to be ready on time. Tape it to the refrigerator for easy reference.
Make a list of everything else you need to do to get ready for the festivities. If it’s on paper, it’s easier to remember.
From that master list, make a schedule and assign yourself manageable tasks each day, so you won’t feel overwhelmed. For instance, you can decorate weeks ahead of time, start cleaning the house days in advance, and start chopping or baking the night before.
Learn how to delegate. Whether you need help cleaning up the yard, scrubbing the guest bath, or making a playlist, ask your spouse or child to pitch in so you aren’t doing it all.
Set everything up the night before so when the day of the party arrives all you have to do is to put the food and drinks out. Set the dining room table, rearrange any furniture or gather extra seating; restock the restroom with toilet paper and clean towels; and decide where to set up the bar.
Take a moment before the party starts to relax. Sit down, have a drink, get dressed or just stop and take a deep breath.
Have music playing in background
If guests offer to bring something, let them.
Above all, enjoy your party and your guests!