Entertaining

Holiday Hosting Help

Let’s all take a moment and appreciate that clever title, ok?

So, you’re having a Christmas party, huh?  GREAT IDEA!!  What is better than gathering people you like to hang out with and having some fun together?  All you need is a little planning and trust me, it will be great.

For the holidays, we like to send our invites early, like right after Halloween (we used Facebook this year, since everyone we wanted to invite was on it!  EASY!).  Even if you don’t know all of the particulars, send out the date so that people don’t make other plans.  Details like time and even a theme or pot luck specifics can wait a few weeks.

After that, I pretty much pull up Pinterest and start a board (oh, you wanna see it?  Ask and you shall receive…)  I pin everything that looks fun/tasty/interesting to me.  The more info the better, I say!  Besides, you are looking for inspiration here.  No need to make everything you pin!

About 2 weeks before, the list making begins.  I make up a menu, then list out every item I need to buy.  This is where I start to enlist the opinions of Mr. Peach.  I don’t need his approval, but it is nice to work with your party partner, too.

A week before the money starts flying out the window…I mean, we start buying stuff.  I try to do a big shop early, and get things that I am planning to make in advance.  This year, that meant ingredients for cookies, jell-o shots, cheese, and most of the shelf stable items, like crackers and nuts.  Mr. Peach and I like to do this together, sort of divide and conquer, sort of “hey, let’s get this, too!”, where he points out items I don’t usually think to add.  Costs more, I am sure, but it makes it more of a joint effort, too.

every good party has jell-o shots, right?

I start cooking and prepping the week of the party.  Cutting veggies, mixing up dough (I will then bake it a day or two before so it stays fresh.  Also, aged dough usually tastes better!  Try it!).

Then a couple of days before we go and get the items we didn’t get yet/forgot/added since we went last.  Yeah, its a problem.  I always have to hold myself back from adding more to the menu!  We also make sure to get the drinks a day or two before as well, so they are all chilled and ready to go.

I really try not to use my kitchen the day of the party, but that doesn’t always work.  I am a very messy cook, so it is playing with fire leaving things to the last minute.  Plus, who wants a sink full of dishes as guests are arriving?  The day of I leave to last minute cleaning (the bathrooms and the floors, typically) and assembling of the food.  I will mix up dips and such but really don’t want to use the oven if I can help it!

 

Hope a little peek inside my hostess mind helped you!  Here are a few random tips as well…

Dos:

  • Turn down the thermostat.  There is gonna be a lotta people in your house and things get warm.  Resist the urge to cozy the joint up by lighting a fire, too.  Make sure it is nice and cool so everyone isn’t sweating through the night.  Remember, it is winter and people are wearing winter clothes.  And likely drinking alcohol.  Do us all a favor and turn it down a notch.
  • Do what you are best at.  Is your house always neat as a pin but you burn canned soup?  Hire a caterer, buy some trays at the store, or ask everyone to bring something.  Don’t be afraid to get help for things you suck at or hate.  Get a cleaning crew to come in the morning before (or the Monday after if that’s your wish).  Make it easy on yourself, because a party is supposed to be FUN.
  • Plan something indulgent for after.  Book a facial or one of those food delivery people to bring you coffee and donuts the next morning.  Just treat yourself because hosting is no joke and you deserve it.  Even if you just stash a few cookies away to eat after everyone else has gone, do something just for you.
  • Let it look however you want it to look.  It does NOT have to look like a Pinterest party, with everyone wearing formal gowns and eating caviar.  But if you want it to look that way, have at it.  This event does not have to be the same casual event your friends throw for the 4th of July, nor the big sit down 8 course meal your mom always had.  The joy of having a party at your house is you get to decide all the fun stuff!
  • If you are so inclined, have a glass of wine to relax a bit an hour or two everyone is supposed to start arriving.  Trust me, it helps.  Make sure you eat something, too!

Don’ts:

  • Get tied up in knots about having enough food or drinks.  This chart is a good general guideline.  If you are making any pitchers of cocktails, along with the beer, wine and bar, take that into account as well.
  • Make so much weird stuff that no one will eat it.  Hopefully you know your crowd and have a general idea of what they like.  Keeping in mind the “let it look however you want” advice from above, you do have to keep your guests in mind also.  Make sure there are a couple of hits on the menu (whether it is food you have all enjoyed before, or just generally popular items, it doesn’t matter) and if you want to get experimental with a couple, that’s cool too.  The goal is for you all to enjoy yourselves.
  • Go nuts about everything being perfect.  How many times have you been at someone else’s home and noticed how dusty their baseboards were?  Or if there cabinets were all organized?  Your friends and family love you and have come to your event because they want to be there.  They will forgive you for not being perfect.  Heck, they will be having so much fun they won’t even notice.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest Page for more Christmas Inspiration, and while you are there, give us a follow!!

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