Entertain with Ease this Holiday Season
By Kent Braaten. Updated on October 8, 2015
The leaves are changing, the morning air is crisp, and the holiday spirit is starting to ramp up. It must mean we’re officially in the season of fall! The season of scarves, pumpkin everything, and of course, family celebrations. The first to kick off the holiday season is Thanksgiving; a great time to gather around the table with loved ones, share a beautiful meal, and remember all that you are thankful for. While often enjoyable for guests, it can be a stressful time for the host of the evening. We all take pride in our homes, and our guest’s enjoyment in them, especially when hosting a holiday meal like Thanksgiving.
To help keep everything running smoothly for those that are hosting this year, here are 7 helpful holiday tips so you can entertain with ease!
1. Clean a day ahead
Everyone likes to have their home look its best when company comes over. It’s a big job, and once you get started cleaning, it’s hard not to not scrub every nook and cranny of your home. Deep cleaning items like dusting, bathrooms, and vacuuming can be done a day ahead of time, saving only light tidying for the day-of. This will keep your cleaning stress to a minimum so you can focus on the meal.
2. Guest list
I know, there are always those last-minute guests, and family members who are on the fence. Try to get as many to commit to coming as possible so you have an approximate number of guests. This will not only help immensely with your grocery shopping, but can help you in preparing seats to accommodate for around the table/throughout the house. Extra tip: while getting your RSVPs, confirm any food allergies or sensitivities so you aren’t caught off guard. If one of your guests has a specific food sensitivity which you don’t know how to accommodate for, ask them to bring their own item so you don’t have to go to the extra hassle of learning how to prepare a new food item on an already busy day.
3. Make your grocery list and stick to it
Once you know your approximate number of guests, you can start budgeting for your grocery trip. Holiday’s are a great time for grocery stores to add in little extras and deals since it’s a busy time of year, but try to stick to your list as much as possible so you don’t have extra items to prepare or extra bills to incur!
4. Remember these items
When making your list, these items can often get left off when planning for a large gathering: Napkins/paper towel, ice, extra toilet paper, garbage bags and snacks. Add them to your list and you’ll feel oh-so-prepared! Bonus: As we all know, too much food is often made and there are a ton of leftovers. Pick up a pack of cheap Tupperware so you can send your guests home with leftovers and keep some room in your fridge for the coming week!
5. Have a helper on call
There are always last-minute items and extra tasks that need to happen before everyone arrives. Ask a family member or friend to come over a couple of hours before the event starts to help with those items so you don’t have to worry about them.
6. Decorations made easy
There are endless amounts of decorations for every holiday these days. It’s hard not to over-indulge, but it often doesn’t make sense to go out and purchase an entire set of decorations only to have to take them down in a couple of days and store them for an entire year. Ask your friends if they have a festive decoration you could borrow, or simply pick up seasonal flowers at a local flower shop. Chances are, your guests are more excited about seeing everyone and the meal anyhow.
7. Group games
If you don’t have a stash of board games on hand, ask your guests to bring their favourite one along with them. If all else fails, you can always download a game to an iPad or other device to play with the entire group. One that has always been a hit in my experience is Heads Up!
I hope this list helps start your holiday season off with ease! May you be surrounded by the ones you love and remember all you are grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend.