Ok lovelies!!! It’s holiday season!! I cannot wait! I’ve been pouring over recipe books, looking up all kinds of delicious, beautiful recipes to try for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the anticipation is glorious. The imagining of the meal, for me, is as satisfying as actually eating it! Maybe even more so, if that makes any kind of sense.
Now that we have a home that is conducive to entertaining, (I waited for 7 years!!!) and I’ve helped out my grandmother for years executing holiday meals, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks to help you pull together the perfect party. All without looking like you’ve broken a sweat! Nobody likes a sweaty hostess. So here are my top tips for pulling off an incredible party.
10. Prep, prep, and prep some more.
Anything you can prep, do prep. Chopping veggies, chopping herb garnishes (the beautiful finishing touch), baking your bread, baking cookies, mixing salad dressing, setting out the butter dish, pies, pie crusts, laying out your outfit, anything and everything you can do to make your life easier the day of. Setting out your serving plates and deciding what goes in which vessel is also a great step. I’ll take a Post-It and write what goes in the bowl along with the serving utensil and it makes life so much easier on the day of the party. Having your centerpiece decided, any little signs or labels should be written out days before, and if you can place them out, even better.
9. Set your table the night (or even two nights) before
Setting the table is so enjoyable! It gets real when you set the table. All your hard work is coming to fruition, it’s the dress rehearsal before opening night!!! You do not want to deprive yourself of this joy under duress, throwing the flatware and plates down in a panic, so turn on some fun music the evening prior and lay it all out. If you don’t have a separate dining room and can’t set the table the night before, have your plates and flatware counted out and sitting off to the side, so you have at least that much done the day of. Make sure you have everything you need the night before so you’re not scrambling minutes before your guests are set to arrive. Don’t forget the salt and pepper! I have these handy little individual ones purchased from Nell Hill’s a few years ago.
7. Have healthy snacks readily available
Oh my. If you’re like me, you like to snack during meal prep. While tasting things is necessary, sometimes I can get a bit carried away, so I try to make sure I have some raw veggies on hand to pop in my mouth when I’m getting hungry instead of filling up on all the delicious appetizers. Don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of actually sitting down and enjoying the meal with your guests. And remember, wine is healthy.
6. If possible, line up a babysitter.
5. Only the bathrooms absolutely NEED to be cleaned
Have this chore done or done for you the day before. Nobody will mind if there are a few toys in the living room.
4. Take a detailed pantry and fridge inventory
There’s nothing more irritating than getting home from your grocery trip and realizing that you forgot something. It’s also really maddening having 6 cans of pumpkin in the pantry all year round. So just make sure to look around and note what you have. Make lists of everything you need and cross off what you’ve already got so you’ll have a clear picture of what you need.
get behind me, Satan.
3. Don’t do your shopping the day before
Hauling all your groceries in and then having to put them all away, and THEN cook? No. Don’t do this. Not fun. Do this two days before your party.
2. Take time out for you
Make sure you set aside some time to get yourself ready, you gorgeous thing! Have your outfit picked the night before and all laid out. Get dressed an hour before your guests arrive, while the bird is resting and the pies are all set out. Put on a cute apron and you’re all set.
8. Remember its about your guests
Um, yes! It actually IS about getting together with your loved ones! They want to spend time with YOU. If your guests are just props in your play about how fabulous you are, well, that’s no fun for them. Keep the focus on family and the holy tradition that is sitting down, face to face, and breaking bread together. Then they and you are guaranteed a lovely time, and your home will the the hub of activity for many holidays to come!
What delicious things are you making for thanksgiving?? I always love to experiment with the stuffing, I adore roasted veggies. I think this year I’m going to take my green bean casserole up a notch. What are you going to do?