Be a Happy Holiday Host

My next door neighbor is throwing a holiday party tonight.  She throws one every year and we always have a good time!  There will be great food, great drinks and a great mix of party guests(young and old).  In fact, I have to literally drag my little guy out of their house every year, and I am sure that this year will be no different.

During the holidays, dinner hostesses may find that coordinating the evening can be more stressful than cooking the meal. But you can pull off a successful holiday celebration, with minimal stress, if you keep the following tips in mind —

First and foremost – Plan Ahead.   Write a to-do list or a timeline with a grocery list.  Knowing what you need to do in advance will help you avoid numerous trips to the grocery store and give you time for that well-deserved manicure.  Consider setting the table the night before – this should include the serving dishes.  To ensure that I have enough serving dishes and utensils available, I set the dishes the evening before with a post-it note identifying the food that goes in it.  And, I try to cook and freeze as much as I can during the week prior to the dinner.  Thawing and reheating the day of the event is much easier than preparing the food from scratch.

Pay attention to the seating plan.  This could make or break the dinner.  To ensure entertainment symmetry, make sure that the social butterflies and the great storytellers are scattered around the table.  This will ensure that guests at one end of the table don’t feel left out when the other end is engaged in a lively discussion.  Also, consider separating best friends, siblings or couples – mixing up the seating arrangements is a great opportunity for interesting conversations and new relationships.

Get some help.  There is no need to take on everything yourself.  Prepare your side items and consider ordering the turkey from a local grocer or a mail order company, such as Harry & David.  If you have a family member that is known for fabulous desserts, ask her to bring the pumpkin pie.  And, forget the bartender duties – set up an area where dinner guests can fix their own drinks.

Music matters.  Playing background music will set the tone for the evening.  Upbeat music is great for lively pre-dinner discussions and jazzy instrumental music is great complement to dinner conversation.  If your collection of music is less than stellar, ask your invitees to bring a CD that they would love to hear.  It allows you to mix it up and you are able to please most of your dinner guests. Good times!

Relax.  Nothing ruins an evening more than a stressed out host.  If the host is running around frantically, the guests are wondering if they should chip in or leave you alone to spontaneously combust.  Relax!  There is no such thing as a perfect party; and I promise you that the evening will not be ruined if you forget to light your centerpiece candles.

Have a great time!  And let me know how your evening goes!

Love & Soul Always, Kawania



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