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Holiday Hosting Made Easy By Guest Blogger Karen Taipalus

During the #Christmas holidays, my high school girlfriends (yes, high school) and our spouses get together for a holiday party. We rotate homes with each couple taking a turn at holiday hosting every five years. When I say ‘hosting’ I mean the host prepares a main dish and the rest bring sides. Easy-peezy, right? When Lesley’s turn rolls around, she starts to hyperventilate just thinking about hosting. What main course could she cook for 10 people — especially with two-months notice?

Holiday hosting made easy

Hosting a seasonal holiday party for your high school gang should cause zero stress. Being best buds for 40 years means you ought to be able to serve leftover lasagna from five days ago and everybody will still love you! Below are four ways to make sure the dinner is stress free for the host and comfortable for the holidays guest.

Better Sooner than Later

Not everyone needs more than two months to plan one dish like Lesley.  By inviting your holidays guests four to six weeks in advance ensures that the people you want there will be available, it also gives you, the host, time to plan. Sunday dates may be a good choice in December. If you like the idea of an eCard, select from several sites including Evite, Blue Mountain, Hallmark and Punchbowl.

Make a list and check it twice

Make a list of supplies, food and beverages that will be needed for the event. Take inventory of all the non-perishables and purchase them early. Also make a list of what you will need to purchase and prepare, one week before, 48 hours before, 24 hours before and the day of.

Dish It Up

Consider a pared down menu using appetizer-style or a potluck where you prepare a single, but special main dish and your guests bring sides. If you enjoy cooking and have the time, you may enjoy preparing a sensational meal indulging in some locally sourced ingredients, or a family specialty. Either way, keep the following in mind: – dietary requirements such as allergies/vegan diets of your guests – find recipes that do not require everything to be done the day of the party – use catering services if you don’t have time – keep your budget in mind for a large crowd

May I get you a drink?

Holiday hosting means keeping the drink menu simple: wine, beer, soft drinks and sparkling water. Glam it up by adding a signature cocktail like a Crantini, but do not feel you need to supply every type of spirit available. Keep a cooler outside or somewhere handy to keep drinks on ice, have a container for recycling nearby and make sure you have coffee ready to brew. Use fun dollar store wine jewelry to attach to wine glasses. Lastly, remember to ensure your guests get home safely in case they imbibe too much!

The Sound of Music

Background music is a great way to make the atmosphere more festive. Spotify, cable channels, and Apple Music are some examples of finding the right seasonal songs you want for your special evening. No reason to spend hours making a playlist these days!

You’ve got to move it, move it…

Consider moving furniture around or to a different room to open-up some space. Renting folding chairs or tables for the dining area is an inexpensive option to ensure your guests are not crowded. Adding white tablecloths over the tables creates a unified look.

Scents make Sense

With so many winter scents available, it’s easy to make your space feel like you are walking through a wintery gingerbread house or spruce forest. Inexpensive ways to scent your home include Gluewein and scented candles such as cinnamon, pumpkin, hemlock or cranberry. Holiday sachets placed at each place setting is a great take-away gift.

A Helping Hand

Enlist the help of your spouse or children to assist in cleaning the common areas. Guests are not likely to be wandering through every room in your home, so focus on cleaning the living, dining and bathrooms. Have your kids make home-made cookies the day before to involve them in the festivities.

Tis The Season

A few simple evergreen branches with a white candle and silver ribbon is an easy and elegant centerpiece. If space and time permit, put up a real Christmas tree a couple of days before your event or something special that signifies your personal cultural or religious background.

Lastly, no need to be a Lesley; relax and enjoy yourself. You deserve to have a fun holiday party as well as your guests!


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