Hi my name is JC from Sweet Love and Ginger. Typically I blog about food, entertaining, my puppy, my fiancé and our adventures, but mostly food today I’m excited to share with you all my best tips and tricks to get you through the holiday season. So here it goes!
Holiday Survival Guide
The holidays are a festive time; a time for friends and family get-togethers, and cheer filled shenanigans. It’s also a time when many of us stress out. Hosting holiday parties and even attending holiday parties can be stressful, there is so much to do, remember, and clean, and then the disappointment when it doesn’t work out perfectly. Here are some basic tips to help you get through it all without stress and full of smiles.
First and foremost; nothing is going to be perfect, just go with the flow, and remember the point of the holidays is to enjoy yourself.
There are plenty of times during the holidays when we are running out the door to a party or throwing one ourselves only to realize that something is terribly wrong, forgotten, or broken. So it’s always good to stock up on a few key items well before the holiday season starts. For starters paper plates and plastic cutlery, because you never know when you will need them. Try putting them
someplace hidden so they don’t get used and are actually there in an emergency, the same thing goes for crackers, chips, and store bought dips, just make sure to check the dates before serving. Another thing that might be a saving grace, especially if you know you have a lot of parties to attend is buy a case of good wine to have on hand. It’s usually cheaper to buy a case all at once, plus they make wonderful hostess gifts. Having them on hand takes away a little stress as you are trying to run out the door, or if you’re in a pinch at your own soiree.
When planning your party there are a few things that can help everything go smoothly.
Choosing a date is crucial, not only for those that will attend but also for your own mental state. Don’t choose to have your party on the same weekend as 5 other events, save yourself that stress. Once you have the date picked choose a theme, and create a menu.
Choosing a theme is great for planning the food, and decorations, if you know that there is one recipe that you really want to serve try to come up with other recipes that use one or two of the main ingredients from that recipe, you will end up spending less at the grocery store, saving time, and money. Also making your menu, grocery and guest lists ahead of time will give you plenty of time to get to all the stores you need to, as well as pick up non perishables well in advance.
Another key tip for creating your party menu is thinking about how all these recipes will be made. You don’t want to plan 5 things that need to be made on the stove top the day of, when you only have two hands and 4 burners. I like to plan something that can be made a day ahead, something in the oven, the crockpot, and on the stove top, there will still be a lot going on but it doesn’t feel as strenuous. Store bought products are also a big help, especially for large crowds, don’t feel bad about picking up a veggie tray, premade dip, or desert, sometimes it’s totally worth saving your sanity.
The day of.
The day of your party can be little hectic, and there are always things that get forgotten, so make a checklist ahead of time that you can run down just before guests arrive. Another great tactic is inviting a friend to come over early to help even if all they are doing is greeting guests at the door or setting the table for a dinner party, every little bit helps.
Guests tend to arrive in groups so it’s a good idea to have a location set out for coats and boots before they arrive. Moving your
personal coats out of the hall closet for the night, designating a spare bed, or rolling a temporary rack into the hall are all viable options. Labeling this and other important locations is not a bad idea either, especially if you are having guests who have never been to your house. Things like the restroom, and specific locations for garbage and recycling are all good ideas to label.
Set the mood with music.
Macklemore probably isn’t the right thing to have on for a low key dinner party, however if you are looking to get the party started, by all means crank it up. It’s always good to have options so make a couple different playlists to choose from, or try music streaming sites.
Once the food is out, and the guests have arrived, relax. As the host you are there to enjoy yourself as much as your guests have a drink, talk to your friends and let things happen. If something goes wrong make light of it and move on to the next thing. Who knows it could be a conversation starter later on?
Don’t be the bartender.
If you are serving alcohol keep it simple by supplying a red and white wine, a choice of beer, and perhaps a signature drink. You do not want to be stuck mixing drinks for everyone all night, a signature drink allows you to make one big pitcher and have people serve themselves. It also conveniently allows you to be in control of the volume of alcohol that some of your guests are consuming. If someone is getting a little out of hand, there’s nothing wrong with pouring a little extra seltzer or soda into the mix. It may also be a good idea to have an escape plan for those who drink a little too much, such as a sober driver, or taxi numbers available.
Once your party is over and you have cleaned up don’t forget to send that friend that saved your life by running to the store or driving your drunk Aunt Lu home a thank you note. You never know when you will need that favor again.