Ch.1 Entertain with Ease
We all know that entertaining is a HUGE part of the holidays! Whether you’re hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner at your house, planning a smaller get together with friends & family, or celebrating the holiday with a gift exchange…the stress levels can be high and it’s easy to get consumed by all you have to do.
But entertaining should be fun, and you should be able to enjoy your own party just as much as everyone else! That’s why I’m here to help you with some tips & tricks to help you alleviate the stress and entertain with ease this year.
So let’s jump right in with 5 of my favorite entertaining tips to follow the holiday season…
1. Plan the party you want to enjoy!
The holidays are about gathering with loved ones…that’s why you’re hosting a party and entertaining in the first place! So focus on that when planning your party.
If you and loved ones enjoy grazing, snacking and gathering around the kitchen island enjoying a laugh with some wine (or cocktails) in hand, then planning a formal sit down dinner may not be enjoyable for anyone! Instead, plan to focus on easy grazing appetizers, buffet style dinner, plenty of drinks, and maybe even suggest a potluck where family & friends can bring their favorite holiday dish for all to enjoy!
Carry this mindset over into all other elements of your party, such as decor and music. Ask yourself “What would I enjoy at a party?” This will help take the pressure off and minimize the stress you feel to impress. Because let’s be honest, chances are the type of party you would enjoy is exactly what will excite your guests as well!
2. Distract your guests with appetizers…and drinks 😉
Everyone loves to eat! So why not give them people what they want?!
Gathering around the kitchen island with loved ones, filled with tons of appetizers and snacks, catching up and laughing the night away is one of my favorite memories of the holidays. And by the time dinner came, we were all incredibly stuffed!
Your appetizers can range from a simple veggie platter to baked or cooked dishes and finger food (my personal favorite is a nice big charcuterie board)! Provide a variety and keep them flowing throughout the night. If you and your family don't have an age old tradition of a big formal meal, then why stress out and force it. Keep the meal simple and spend your time around the apps, with the drinks and laughs flowing!
For dinner, there are also so many options outside of a formal sit-down (if that's not just you!) A self serve station or potluck are great options for parties that you want to keep more casual.
Remember, the holidays are about enjoying your loved ones...they're there for you, not the food! The food is just the distraction..
3. Keep decor simple
This part is obviously my favorite! But it doesn't have to be over the top or extravagant, you can keep your decor simple and still make a statement.
Start with a color scheme, and build from there. Pick 1-2 colors - a neutral such as gold or black, and then a pop such as green, burgundy or any other color you love.
Use these colors to ground your decor and your tablescape. Gold or black can show up in your silverware, candle holders or napkin rings. Use your pop color or introduce a pattern for items such as linens or candles. The rest can stay simple! Use your every day dishes, glassware and serving plates. Wood accents are great ways to ground your decor and give a beautiful texture to your decor.
Also, don't forget to use your delicious food as your decor!! A beautiful charcuterie board on the table is gorgeous enough to steal the show...so why not use that to your advantage!
4. Plan a simple menu
I'm going to say this again...your guests are there for you, not your food! Unless you're a chef, in which case they may be there for your food, and can I come too?? lol.
So let's talk about the menu. I know this can be a big contributor to the stress when it comes to the holidays. Planning a large extravagant meal. Ensuring it's all cooked to perfection, dancing that delicate dance in the kitchen to get it all prepared...I'm stressed just thinking about it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn't need to be all on you to pull it off, and let's be honest, many times your guests want to help!
Here are some additional tips and things to think about when planning your meal:
1. Find easy to make dishes or things you can make or prep ahead of time. Side dishes are easy to plan ahead and prep for to make the day of easier and quicker. Also, don't be afraid to ask a guest to bring a side dish they may be famous for!
2. Self serve stations are great to keep it a little less formal, and take some of the pressure off when entertaining. Buffet style dinners can also create great energy for everyone to feed off of and feel comfortable. As dishes are ready, place them out for everyone to enjoy. Create a space where guests can grab what they would like, and move freely. Offer plenty of seating and allow guests to congregate and delight in!
3. Plan a potluck. Maybe you come from a family that loves to cook, or your friends come from all around and grew up with special dishes that remind them of home. Potlucks can be fun and easy ways to share the joy of the holidays, and celebrate traditions that you grew up enjoying with others.
There are so many options for how you can plan and prep your holiday dinner, so talk through all your options and plan the dinner that fits best for you and your family or friends. And don't get yourself stuck in the kitchen...remember to savor the time you have with loved ones this holiday season.
Which leads us to my last tip...
5. Remember to enjoy & focus on your company…after all, that’s why you’re all there!
Love. That is what this season is all about! So be patient, and give yourself grace. If you start to stress, remember why you are all gathering. If you start to get overwhelmed, laugh and dance it out.
Don't forget, I've got your back! Let's take back the joy of the holiday season and kick out the stress. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday with loved ones, I hope its a WILDE one 🤍