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Simple Tips for Holiday Entertaining

It’s that time of year again…Holiday parties, Champagne toasts, the hustle and bustle of shopping and time for family and friends.  It seems like there’s never enough time to go around with all the “have to do’s” and not nearly enough time to just enjoy the season.  In an effort to simplify life, we’ve put together a couple tips to make entertaining a stress-free experience, or as stress-free as possible.

For those who love to host and entertain, these tips will hopefully add back some of that much needed time to relax and unwind with your guests.

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Tip #1 – Time and sanity saver.  Clean only what your guests will see.  You could clean up after kids and dogs hourly and it still never ends. Don’t stress over areas where your guests won’t be mingling, just make sure those areas are clutter-free, vacuumed or mopped and the rest should be fine.  Anyone looking that closely for dust on the blinds should be immediately diverted back to the bar area for another glass of wine.

Tip #2 – Don’t focus on EVERYTHING, pick a couple signature items and do them big.  Maybe you love DIY projects and a festive home.  Think about putting extra effort into the décor aspect of your party and maybe choosing a less demanding menu or pick up some pre-made goodies to save time for those things you’d rather concentrate on.  If you love to cook and value home-made food, then perhaps the décor doesn’t need to be elaborate.  Choosing where you want your focus will save time and frustration in trying to do it all and by concentrating on what you love you’ll be a happier hostess and enjoy your party more.

Tip #3 - Organize and Anticipate!  People tend to congregate near the food.  Try separating food into different categories (appetizers, desserts, main dishes, drinks) and have each in a different room to encourage people to mingle and circulate more.  Paper plates and plastic silverware saves tons of clean up and dish-washing time.  Along with that, have plenty of garbage areas for easy access so there’s less for you to clean up later.  Spills and dribbles are bound to happen.  Have wine remover, cleaners and rags or paper towel handy for quick action.

Tip #4    If your party includes a number of kids, it may be worth your time to have an activity or craft-station set up to make a couple ornaments/crafts and keep them busy.  Active video games like the Wii are also a good to add to the mix.  Give them a physical activity to help wear off the sugar rush!

Tip #5 - Depending on your invite list, you may want to leave your guests with something special.  If your Holiday party includes clients, have a special gift to thank them and ensure they’ll remember you for the upcoming year.  We like unique branded items that will be displayed at home or in the office.  Something useful and durable is always a good investment. We don’t recommend fruit cakes…keep those for the relatives you aren’t so fond of.

We hope these tips help ease the stress of Holiday parties.  With a little prep work and a mindfulness of what is or isn’t so important, you can host a stress-free party.  When in doubt, have another glass of wine and breathe!

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