It can be easy to let the stress of holiday entertaining get to you. Here are a few ideas to help you get through the parties and preparations. Follow my lead and spend more time enjoying the company of your friends and loved ones — and less in the kitchen!
First of all, a little pre-planning goes a long, long way. Write out your menu, pull recipes and create a shopping list. This will help keep you focused (and on budget!) at the grocery store. Next, start a prep list – note everything that you will be making and what day you’ll make it. The more things done in advance, the better!
A few days ahead, you can pull out your serving and plate ware. If you’re having a sit down dinner, you can even set the table in advance; it will take a big job off your list of things to do on the day and give you time to rearrange the settings if needed. Polish the silver, make sure your glasses are sparkly-clean… all the little jobs that add up to a great party seem way less daunting when they’re done ahead.
Another way to keep things easy is to stick to things that you feel comfortable making. Unless you have loads of prep time and a few reliable taste-testers, this isn’t the time to try out a bunch of new recipes all at once. If thinking about preparing all that food yourself makes you stressed out, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask friends and family to bring things and feel free to be specific on the item – you can even send them a recipe if you like!
Start off with a few cold appetizers and some bubbly or red wine. If you’re having a cocktail, make sure you stick with one so that you’re not glued to the bar.
Still feel like the to-do list is a little long? Then do as my friend and super party host JJ McKay does — give everyone a job! Someone helps serve the soup, someone lights the candles… just feel free to boss everyone around. People really do love to help this time of year!
(Photos by Kathy Casey Food Studios®)
So get out those invitations and start planning — entertaining this holiday season is going to be a breeze!
Cheers! – Kathy