Entertaining during the holidays can exceptionally rewarding, giving you the opportunity to bring together your closest family and friends during a magical time of year. For some, however, hosting a holiday party can quickly turn into a stressful experience. To keep things stress-free, we’ll countdown to Christmas with some of our favourite holiday-inspired recipes over the next week. We’ve also compiled some tips to help you plan and host a successful holiday party.
Make your Lists, Check them Twice
A successful party starts with some solid planning. While it might sound daunting, planning can be as simple as making a series of lists. Most importantly, you’ll want to make a list of your guests so you can get invitations out to them at least three to four weeks ahead of the party.
It’s also a good idea to make a list of dishes you’d like to prepare. Making this list offers several advantages. For starters, it will allow you to work backwards to determine how much time you’ll need to prepare everything. Looking at the list from a holistic perspective will also make it easier to determine if you’re being too ambitious and allow you to simplify your menu early on. You can also use it to determine which dishes you can prepare in advance and freeze. Finally, you can use this list to build a shopping list of groceries and serving items.
When it comes to holiday entertaining, leaving things to the last minute will almost certainly result in unnecessary stress. The key to keeping things stress-free is to start early, purchasing missing items and preparing as much as possible a week or two in advance of the party. When it comes to food prep, look for holiday dinner ideas that include recipes that can be prepped or made ahead and frozen. Look for simple recipes for items that can’t be made in advance. For example, there are a number of healthy fish recipes for appetizers that can be whipped up quite quickly and are sure to impress your guests.
If you find that you need to purchase any dishes or serving items, it’s best to do it as early as possible since stock is often picked over by the time the holidays roll around.
Self-Serve for the Win
Hosting a party should give you an opportunity to spend time with your guests rather than having you run around serving food and mi. After all, people show up to parties for the experience and social interaction, not for the food. To give you more time to be the life of the party, consider hosting a cocktail party and serving hors d’oeuvres or finger foods. This not only gives you and your guests the opportunity to mingle but also allows you to try preparing a wider range of foods to suit different tastes. There is an overwhelming variety of finger food recipes available online, ranging from light, healthy fish recipes to stick-to-your-bones meat recipes to crowd-pleasing vegetarian and vegan recipes.
If you prefer the intimate experience of a sit-down dinner, a buffet is a great solution. Again, there are countless recipes and holiday dinner ideas available online to make your buffet dinner a success, so do a bit of research.
Finally, opt for a self-serve bar with a few types of alcohol, ice, garnishes, glasses, and napkins. This will give guests the opportunity to mix drinks to their tastes while leaving you free to mingle and entertain.
With these simple tips in mind you’re sure to throw the party of the season. More importantly though, you’ll have fun doing it—which is what entertaining is all about!