Tis the season for holiday parties and entertaining and I couldn’t be more in my element. As much as I love to entertain and have people over, it’s the holiday season that is my favorite time, to enjoy the company of family and dear friends; share good tidings and a load of laughs.
There are a few things I have learned throughout my years of holiday entertaining, and I have picked up some essential ingredients for the perfect party. These are my helpful tidbits.
Be present and enjoy your guests. Plan a festive hors d’oeuvres menu that can be prepared ahead of time, and served at room temperature. There’s no sense in slaving over a stove, or hot oven while your guests are mingling. Join the fun. Organization is key, and the host enjoying their own party is paramount. After all, people aren’t coming over for a life-changing meal; they’re coming over to spend time with you and share good company.
Strike a balance between elegant and fun. A vichyssoise presented in shot glasses is an elegant way to serve an appetizer portion of soup, and those ever-popular pigs in a blanket make themselves right at home on a platter near by. Even a fun food like sliders look mighty elegant on a silver platter, and a store-bought dip looks divine in a crystal bowl. My suggestion is to make two or three appetizers and then let the grocery store help you with the rest. After all, hummus never looked prettier than being served out of a silver bowl. This homemade Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Sundried Tomato Salsa is not only easy to make, but festive and delicious as well. A true crowd pleaser. Click here for the recipe. Don’t forget to turn to thrift stores to find beautiful serving pieces for entertaining. Not everyone was served with a silver spoon in their mouth, but we can always pretend.
Create a festive vibe. I always like to create one thing that is an attention grabber and that guests will find stunning. An easy DIY lighted drink station will do just that. What you’ll need is a tray, a clear lighting panel, a string of white lights, tape, and some tin snips. Measure the bottom of the tray and cut the lighting panel according to measurements. Letting the ends of the lights hang outside of the tray on either side, zigzag the lights back and forth on the bottom of the tray, taping down every few inches. Place the lighting panel on top of the lights and add glasses and bottles. Plug it in and let the cocktails shine. Your guests won’t mind one bit pouring their own cocktails with the warm glow of this drink station.
Bring the outside in. There’s no such thing as too much greenery at a holiday party. If you don’t have an evergreen on your property, then surely you have a friend who does. Take some clippings and display in vessels throughout your house. The smell of pine is the Grand Marshall of holiday fragrances and of course, the look is very Christmas-y.
Tune in the tunes. Put together a song list of some of your favorite holiday tunes to have playing in the background. Take advantage of life with WIFI and place speakers in an inconspicuous spot. Not to say that there’ll be awkward silences at your party, but hearing holiday tunes does set the tone, and will be so welcoming being heard in the background.
Send them home with a happy. And when I say happy, I mean a gift. A homemade gift of cookies, or an ornament will do just fine. You could even give each guest a copy of the evening’s playlist, if you’re so inclined, but a little holiday token that is so unexpected and will be greatly appreciated.