Hosting a holiday lunch, dinner or even a cocktail party can be extremely stressful. Planning the menu, decorating the house and finding creative ways to keep everyone entertained until all hours of the night is a lot of hard work. But it should be fun because it is the holidays after all, right? So follow these 8 no-fuss holiday entertaining tips that’ll make you want to host year after year.
1. Be prepared
While you’re already on the phone or writing a note to your family and friends to invite them over, ask them for any food sensitivities and allergies so you know ahead of time. Whether you need to be cautious of gluten-free or sugar-free diets, or have someone with a severe allergy like shellfish (I’m guilty as charged), it’s better to know as soon as possible so you can be prepared.
2. Make a plan and stick to it
Plan out what kind of appetizers, mains, sides and desserts you’d like to serve well in advanced so you can leisurely shop for items without being crunched for time. Avoid putting together a menu filled with challenging recipes that you’ve never made (unless you can squeeze in a trial run!). Stick to the tried, tested and true so you know every course will go off without a hitch and turn out just the way you intended.
3. Ask your guests to pitch in
Guests never want to come empty handed so rather then ending up with dozens of bottles of wine (not that that’s a bad thing), ask them to bring something they can contribute to the meal. It’ll take a huge amount of work off your shoulders and is always a fun way to have a wide variety of delicious dishes to taste.
4. Stock up on booze as soon as you can
We’ve all been there, waiting last minute in an endless lineup at the liquor store. So go ahead of time and fill up on however many options you feel like you’ll need for the holiday season.
→ Looking for holiday cocktail ideas? Check out our 8 Must Have Warm Cocktails for Winter Entertaining here
5. Don’t be ashamed of buying store-bought!
Pretty plates and bowls are all you need to make store bought candies and treats look beautiful. Fill up on festive goodies like satin mints, brittles, chocolates and nuts so your guests always have a little something to snack on, without any effort.
6. Prep in advance
Chop your veg, measure out your ingredients and get organized the day before you have everyone over. By getting your own personal mise en place together, you’ll give yourself so much extra time on the big day to relax and enjoy.
7. Put your freezer to work
Maybe you’re opting out of a turkey this year and going for braised short ribs instead. By making a main course that can easily be frozen and reheated, you’ll have so much extra time to spend catching up with your guests. And while you’re at it, why not bake and freeze a batch of cookies to have on hand?
8. Remember, it doesn’t matter if it all goes wrong
Gluey potatoes? Burnt Brussels sprouts? It doesn’t matter! I infamously made a soupy lemon meringue pie that my family will never let me live down. But at the end of the day, it’s a memory that I hold near and dear to my heart (we all have never laughed so hard in our lives). You’ll always have a great time and incredible moments that will last forever because no matter what, you’re with the ones you love the most.
→ Check out all of our holiday recipes and articles in our HOLIDAY 101!