With the holiday season in full swing, chances are you have volunteered to host at least one gathering in your home. Throwing these seasonal get-togethers can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful. Use these tips to make your bash the best one yet.
1.Pick a party type
First, decide what kind of party you want to throw. If you are in charge of Thanksgiving dinner, you do not really have this option, but if you are simply choosing to get your friends together around Christmas, you can get creative with the overall theme.
A sit-down dinner is always a wonderful experience during this time of the year. Maybe you want to make it a formal New Years Eve meal with multiple courses, or perhaps you would rather assemble a large group of friends for casual take-out at your place the weekend after Christmas. Let your guests know what to expect, so they can dress and prepare accordingly. If holiday preparations are taking up more time than you thought, forgo a full dinner and opt instead for a semi-formal cocktail party. MarthaStewart.com recommends stocking your kitchen with pre-made appetizers – you will only need an hour or two to get everything ready. Because you will not be spending time managing the kitchen, you will have more time to relax and mingle with your guests.
Once you have decided on the scale of your party, create a guest list and send out invites via email.
2. Expect the unexpected
Preparing for the unknown is a key part of being an excellent hostess. According to EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine, you should set out a few drinks and snacks before you start getting yourself ready – this way, any early arrivals will have something to do if you are still getting dressed. If you have friends or family interfering with your delicate kitchen system, steer them away from the food and give them a task like unloading the dishwasher.
If someone arrives with a dietary restriction they did not tell you about, do not panic. Offer to make them something else and let them know they are welcome to anything in your kitchen. If someone makes a negative comment about the food, just let it roll off your shoulder. If everyone else is digging in, do not let one opinion ruin your evening.
It is also best to be prepared for things to spill and break. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and club soda to mop up any potentially damaging stains. Keep the broom at the ready for shattered dish ware and have the space heaters on standby in case of a furnace emergency. You will feel more confident knowing you are ready for anything.
3. Do as much as you can ahead of time
The more you do ahead of time, the better you will feel and the more you will be able to enjoy yourself when the big day rolls around. HGTV suggests making a list and seeing what needs to wait for the day of the party and what can be taken care of a few days before. Buy a plethora of snacks and beverages well in advance – you do not want to be running to the grocery store an hour before guests arrive.
If you plan on serving soups or stews, you can cook them prior the event and keep them fresh in the freezer. If most of the food needs to be made the day of, try chopping up vegetables and setting out pots and pans the night before. When you wake up, you will be ready to spring into action.
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