Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! Whether you are hosting an office holiday party, a festive “Friendsgiving,” or a traditional family Christmas dinner, don’t let this year’s holiday entertaining find you unprepared or floundering for ideas at the last minute. To help you take your party over the top, we’re sharing 7 Holiday Entertaining Tips That Sparkle.
1. Marry traditional holiday entertaining with modern flair.
Grandma’s creamy mashed potatoes, Mom’s traditional autumn wreath, Dad’s Thanksgiving Day nap in the recliner…it just wouldn’t be a holiday party without them. We agree. The holiday season stirs all of us to remember years gone by, favorite traditions and that certain level of expectation we all recognize. This year, why not add a modern twist to the mix? Something as simple as a crafted holiday playlist for background music can set the mood and tone of your holiday gathering. Alternatively, consider adding a few new dishes to your holiday dinner menu, or try your hand at a new dessert.
2. Plan your menu early.
Carefully review your guest list, then make a note of any known food allergies or aversions to ensure your menu will provide something for everyone. It’s best to start with your main entrees, and build out from there.
Next, plan your holiday meal side dishes. Traditional holiday choices include: Baked Potato Casserole or Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Cornbread Stuffing, Creamed Corn and Creamed Spinach. Add a little sparkle to your menu and choose a few unconventional sides to round it all out. We love Sweet Potato Casserole, Butternut Squash Risotto and creamy Mac & Cheese for our table! Choose a few favorite desserts and an appetizer like Crispy Asiago Asparagus, and you’ll be in business!
3. Deck the halls.
Regardless of which holiday gathering you will host, your decor is of the utmost importance. Contrary to what you might think, holiday entertaining does not mean that your decorations must be over the top. Instead, we recommend to go simple and elegant. Choose classic table linens in a holiday color like berry or hunter green, or a classic white. Next, deck your door with a seasonal wreath, and choose a few candles to light around your entertaining space. Trust us, less is often more when it comes to holiday parties.
4. Choose a signature holiday drink.
A holiday party is not complete without the holiday drinks! Tip the scales in your favor and choose a signature holiday drink for your gathering. You can get creative and craft your own cocktail, or refer to our curated list of standouts below:
5. Design a festive, coordinated tablescape.
When it comes to the center of everyone’s attention, we recommend to forget the old design duty of “matching,” and instead go for a coordinated look. Think rich, jewel tones in greens, reds, or gold and silver, mix-and-match textures and centerpiece items within those schemes.
6. Skip the store – and the headache.
Crowded aisles, picked over shelves and long check-out lanes…is there anything positive about shopping at the grocery store for your holiday party? We think not. Instead, go easy on yourself and order your meal online in advance. Make sure to place your order for entrees, side dishes and desserts a couple of weeks in advance for delivery in time to thaw, heat and serve. Choose individual items, or save yourself a little time and order a perfectly packaged complete holiday meal!
7. Embrace the reason for the season.
Every holiday boasts a rich history. Rather than skip over the reason for the season, think about ways you can incorporate a little of that history into your holiday entertaining. For example, create a “Thankful Station” for your guests to write down what they are thankful for this year and drop each card into a pretty bowl. After the meal is served, pull the cards out and read them aloud to the group.
Are you ready to get started? We think you are! But first, bookmark this page for all of your holiday party needs, then tell us in the comments below: what’s your favorite holiday entertaining tip?