Well it’s soon the end of November and December is just right around the corner. I’m not sure about you, but once December rolls around I get the entertaining “bug” in me. I love making food for family and friends and welcoming them into my home. Every year I think we tell ourselves how organized we want to be. We would like to have our decorations up and our whole house decorated no later than December 1st. Our gifts wrapped and tucked neatly in our closets, Christmas baking done, and already sampled by family members, and the list could go on and on……. OR is that only me?
If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years about entertaining and staying sane is that Organization and keeping things simple are the keys to a stress free event.
1. First of all keep your menu simple.
This isn’t the time to try a new recipe. That’s way too stressful. If you’re stressed you won’t have fun and neither will your guests. Have a few dishes or appetizers that you know everyone will enjoy and you’ve made before. Be mindful of vegetarians or picky eaters. They are at the party too, so make sure there’s something for them as well.
2. There’s always someone on a “diet”.
Well this is bound to happen from time to time, it’s always a good idea to be serving whole, healthy foods anyways. You can always find lots of healthy ways to serve up some tasty foods that won’t all go straight to your ankles! Mix it up. For every two over the top calorie buster appetizers, serve up 2 wholesome tapas as well. I think this keeps everything in balance so your guests don’t leave the party feeling that they have to go for a 10 km run afterwards!
3. Be organized.
This means doing a lot the week and days before your event. When I have a big party or an important event I always make the effort to set up the chairs or set the table well before the event so it’s out of the way. This leaves you time for cooking and preparing other items that have to be done hours or minutes before your party.
4. Serve one or two types of drinks.
I always try to do up only one type of drink with alcohol. First of all not everyone likes alcohol, and having too many types of alcohol can add up on the budget. We had our annual summer party this past year and I served up a huge punch bowl of Sangria. What I thought was too much was literally gone in 45 minutes! It was so much fun to make for this kind of beverage for such a casual event. Maybe for a winter party try a White Sangria. Always remember to have something else for those who don’t drink alcohol. I think it makes them feel welcome that you’ve thought of them.
5. Keep your decor simple and decorate early.
Decorating for a party doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. You can use simple things that you probably already have in your home. Fill large vases with different ornaments of various sizes or place them in beautiful bowls. Another idea is to stick some fresh greens in a glamorous but simple pot like this arrangement that I made. All it takes is a wet oasis cut to fit the size of the pot. Fill the pot with water and stick various types of greens in it. Remember simple is always best.
6. Set the mood for your party.
This is simply done first by having some candles lit. Don’t forget the powder rooms as well. Also have suitable music playing in the background that’s not too loud; I personally like to have a conversation with my guests. I think this is one more way you have thought of your friends that you took the time to think of these details.
7. Lastly, but the most Importantly! Have fun and make everyone feel welcome.
Don’t get to obsessed over details. This is the area I have tried to tone down for last few years. Because I am into design and food I can work myself into a tither trying to decide everything that I want to make. I want to make it all! I love making food for my family friends so I find I have to tone it down to keep things simple for my sanity. When people come into your home they came to see you, not anything else. They want to know you are listening to them when they walk through the door. The best parties are the ones that are spoken about years later after they are over.
No more excuses why you can’t have a great holiday party and still stay sane! So what are your plans?