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Ahhh, the holidays…
Full of merriment, joy, excitement, and great memories.
At this time of the year, “giving” is always better than “receiving,” they say.
And one of the great ways to give during the holidays is by hosting a party to share these joyful times with family and friends.
Unfortunately for some, the only thing they receive when giving a party is frustration and anxiety. The memories they take away are of festivities gone wrong.
Not very merry.
Even the “pros” have their moments, trust me. The difference is that afterwards, we have the resources of Chef friends and colleagues who have also “been there” and share with us their wisdom and knowledge of how to avoid these pitfalls the next time around. As with magicians who share the secrets of their “tricks” with the “brotherhood,” they were all hard earned.
You might think holiday entertaining success can be easily had with some surefire recipes, table decorations, and music playlists.
But it’s just not that easy.
The truth of the matter is the fate of your party will likely be sealed before you greet your first guest.
So in the spirit of “giving and sharing,” I’m going to share with you some of my best (and most valuable) Holiday Entertaining Tips:
- Create a menu that will allow you to prep ahead.
- Fresh foods have a perishable life of 3 to 5 days minimum. For a party, avoid any recipe or dish that has to be fully prepared at the last moment. Foods should be ready to serve, popped in the oven, or easily tossed or assembled.
- Something for Everyone
- From the food to the activities, create enough variety to give everyone something he or she might like. It keeps people engaged. The menu should be varied enough to include different food groups, and if there are children, consider something simple that you know they will like. Parents leave early when their children are hungry and cranky.
- Timeline Outline
- Make a list of everything you need to get done to prepare for your party the day before and the day of. This list should include food prep as well as cleaning, shopping, or miscellaneous chores.
- Anything that does have to be mixed, tossed, or assembled just before service should be individually wrapped and placed with its serving bowl or platter to keep everything together. This will make it extremely easy to finish later. Do this for each dish, and you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save.
- Make a list of anything others can help you with, and make sure they are aware (the day before) that you need them to do these things. Delegating the day of is of no value if there’s no one around to delegate to.
- Look at the clock.
- Time flies when you’re busy, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lose track of time. Make it a habit to look at your watch every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the day and re-prioritize your to-do list as necessary. Most last-minute anxiety attacks are easily prevented by keeping an eye on the time and getting more done earlier. Tip: Work hard early. Don’t leave ANYTHING until the last moment.
- Don’t get stuck in the kitchen.
- Huge mistake! Yes, the food needs to get on the table, but going back to my earlier point, create a menu that avoids excessive last-minute food preparation; make kits. You deserve to enjoy your party every bit as much as your guests.
- Be Generous
- No doubt, you will have leftovers and no doubt, your guests will ask what you are intending to do with all the food. Be generous. Buy food storage bags just for this purpose and offer them to anyone who wants to enjoy some of your “bounty.” Consider it a compliment.
There are, of course, other things you can do to make your Holiday Entertaining more successful and enjoyable. One is to work with Nino’s experienced Party Planning Concierges who can help you with your party and suggest many ways we can assist you with your event.
From prepared foods, beverages, snacks, and groceries to floral arrangements and desserts, Nino’s can help you make great memories anytime of the year.
Happy Holidays, and enjoy the season!