Deck the Halls: My Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Entertaining
Deck the halls; the holidays are here! Time to open your home and welcome friends and family for some yule time cheer. The end of the year brings about many feelings: joy, love, gratitude, and happiness, of course, but also perhaps a bit of stress? pressure? anxiety?? After all, you’re the host! During these months when celebrations are the star, everyone always remembers the party, good or bad! So be sure to fit yourself in with the happy memories on January 1st, even if your guests’ memories are a little fuzzy the following day (in a good way)! Here are my top five do’s and top five don’ts for holiday entertaining.
- When it comes to the menu, cook items you feel comfortable with. The biggest party you’ll be throwing this year is not a time to experiment and subsequently burn down the kitchen or spend the entire evening camped out with your face in the oven. Guests came to see you, not your toosh. As your friends have feelings, and hors d’oeuvres do not, tend to the people at your party instead of the snacks.
- Keep in mind that success in food is all about balance. Make sure there is something for everyone, and keep in mind that no matter how adventurous people like to pretend they are, crowd favorites will always be recognizable comfort foods. Play around with a variety of meats, chicken, seafood, vegetarian and vegan options, so all friends and family, no matter their dietary restrictions, have enough to munch on as they also sip the night away.
- You’ll want a design that wows the crowd, but that doesn’t mean a shopping spree at Party City. Keep the look of your party elegant and simple. Pick two colors and make them your theme. Using neutral browns and greens, for example, you’re able to capitalize on the best of what nature has to offer—perhaps even from your backyard! Find pine needles and wood, fresh green clippings, and use your secondary color for pops of brightness with your napkins, vintage glass ornaments, and votives.
- Indeed easier said than done, but be sure to relax and enjoy the evening. Lead by example! If the host is at ease, having fun, and actively partaking in the party, so will your guests.
- Always, always have a non-alcoholic mocktail on hand to make those not drinking feel extra special.
- On that note, serve alcohol! This might be an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning and paying attention to. Don’t feel like you need to over-think alcoholic offerings just because they’re typically the most widespread presence of the party. A simple wine and prosecco bar is perfect for this time of year, and if you want to add a specialty cocktail, feature what you’re already offering! Here’s a delicious cocktail perfect for the season: Dem Apples, a ginger-infused bourbon with apple cider, lemon, and a little prosecco.
1.5oz ginger-infused bourbon
2oz apple cider
.25oz lemon juice
.25oz simple syrup
- Pour over ice and
- top with a splash of prosecco
- Garnish with an apple slice
Pre-batched for 12 Cocktails
18oz ginger-infused bourbon
24oz apple cider
3oz lemon juice
3oz simple syrup
- Pour over ice and
- top with prosecco
- Garnish with an apple slice
- While it’s important to let yourself have fun, don’t get too crazy! One or two drinks are encouraged—they will loosen you up and help take the edge off the hosting jitters, but six or seven and you might be flirting with the boss and the guy down the road that refuses to recycle. It truly is the season of giving, but perhaps not your dignity.
- The nostalgia of Red Solo cups certainly takes you back to your college years, but aren’t you glad to be far away from those? Please don’t use them at your party. Not only is glass sophisticated, but it’s also a sustainable option that won’t burn your guests’ retinas!
- Be mindful of your music selection and volume. Don’t play the music too loud or play rave, dance-heavy music. This is not a nightclub in Meatpacking or even Burning Man, and for that, you should be grateful. Loud music discourages guests from mingling and getting to know each other. If you find your friends saying,” sorry, I can’t hear you,” the music is too loud.
- Don’t be pushy when encouraging your guests to eat or drink. It’s a natural inclination of the host to want everyone to enjoy themselves, but you might not know of someone’s personal state. A friend might be pregnant, or another might have a food allergy that they might not want to share. No one wants a trip to the emergency room over the holidays, and you certainly don’t want it to be because of you.
In a list of don’ts, here’s a never: never lose sight of why you are entertaining. Having a party is meant to be fun, to bring friends and loved ones together, and during the holidays, celebrate the year passed and a new, prosperous one ahead. Keep it simple so you, too, can enjoy the evening.