A lot of work goes in to planning for the holidays. For many, it starts with a Thanksgiving Day feast and the entertaining goes right on up to New Year's Day. Doing the planning plus getting your house in tip top shape can be daunting. The ever so important "to do" lists can keep you on track and make the holidays less stressful. Here are a few entertaining tips that will hopeful make your get together less stressfull, memorable and fun for all.
1. If your guest closet is like mine, small and filled with things other than coats, this tip is for you. If you are expecting many guests consider purchasing or renting a coat rack so that guests can hang their coats up, instead of piling them on the bed in a spare room. Your guests will appreciate the ease of finding their coats when it is time to leave. Of course you could also just clean out your closet.
2. Set up a libation station. Have ice, soda, wine, cocktails, cups, glasses and garnishes all ready to go. Guests can serve themselves and you don't have to play bartender.
3. Illuminate your table with votive or tea light candles. Purchase candle and votive holders from the dollar store and make your own by gluing glitter or spray painting them to look like mercury glass. There are numerous possibilities. Tap in to your creative side!
4. Create a menu for your guests, either an individual one on each plate, or a larger one for a buffet. It can be casual and hand written, rustic or fancy. Use your computer, card stock paper, or a chalk board.
5. What ever you do, don't forget about the loo. Your powder room is the most used room in your house, aside from your kitchen, when entertaining. Make sure you have enough paper hand towels, toilet paper and air freshener accessible when your guests are using the bathroom. Use a decorative basket to hold extra rolls if you don't have the storage space.
6. Welcome guests before they come through your front door. Time to clean the spider webs and dead leaves that can accumulate around your front door, stoop or porch. Freshen up the your doorway with a new welcome mat, a winter arrangement in flower pots, or a wreath on your front door.
7. Yes we have been spoiled by the unseasonable temperatures this year, but Old Man Winter could be knocking on our doors at any time. Welcome guests in from the cold with hot coffee or coco. Set your bar up with assorted flavored creams, syrups, or liquor for grown ups to add to coffee or hot coco. Marshmallows, whipped cream and peppermint sticks for the coco. Kids will love it!
8. Everyone likes to know where they should sit. Make place cards to fit your table decor. Tie a card to a pear or use a small wreath that can be used as a napkin holder too, or just a simple card. What ever you use, place cards can add a special touch to the table.
9. A little background music is always nice for any get together. Play a special play list of music from your iPod, or use Pandora or Comcast's music channels.
10. Set your table a day or two ahead of time. Take out all the serving pieces and utensils you are using. This will save you so much time.
11. What ever you can make ahead of time, do it. Many recipes will tell you which steps you can do ahead of time, or how long the food will last in the refrigerator. Take advantage of these valuable notes.
12. Maybe you aren't hosting, but you have been invited somewhere for the holidays. Don't bring flowers or candy. Those are nice, but bring something that the host or hostess can use later. How about a beautiful scented candle. You know, the ones in beautifully decorated glass. You could bring specialty olive oils or salts for the cook. Anything mongrammed is great, or pretty note cards are always a welcomed gift.
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