Hosting This Holiday Season? 5 Dinner Party Ideas That Will Blow Your Guests Away
Dr. Ashley Margeson
It’s the season of dinner party preparation, a little bit of holiday cheer and perhaps a little bit of stress. If you’re the type of person who loves the holiday hosting of parties (me! me! me!) without the stress (definitely me!), than this is your step-by-step guide to hosting a sophisticated (yet deceptively simple) party.
[ONE] Ditch the cocktail shaker
Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen making individual drinks for each person? Not I. It’s time to embrace the revival of the punch. These serve yourself recipes are decidedly hip, and can be easily alcohol-free for those young (or older!) ones in your life.
Pineapple Mint Punch
Vodka Cranberry Cooler
Spiked Sparkling Cider
Bourbon Ginger Snap
And if you’re in search of some great non-alcoholic recipes, I stumbled across some AMAZING ones on the Soda Stream website the other night! So, I’m fully putting my Soda Stream to good use with these alllllllll season long (let’s be honest).
[TWO] Simplify Your Decorations
The holiday season is filled with simple ways to bring festive cheer home. Use the branch trimmings from your tree to decorate your mantel, accent with gold and white on top of fresh greenery and don’t overthink it. I focus on using as many fresh ingredients as I can when decorating for the Holidays, and it’s a great excuse to head out for a winter hike to collect branches! Mix vintage hand-me-downs with birch branches, or start a holiday collection by investing in purchasing one piece for a collection every year. My mother, for instance, collects Wooden Santa’s; I collect Nutcrackers.
[THREE] Get Creative With Name Tags
If you’re taking the plunge for a sit down dinner party during your holiday hosting season, use tree ornaments for place settings. Your guests can take these home at the end of the evening as a lovely reminder of their time with you! I also love leaving a quick “cheat sheet” on everyone’s seat with a few tidbits about the people they’re sitting beside. This helps people initiate a conversation without the fear of “oh no what do I say!”
[FOUR] Manage the Mood
Use proper lighting and music to your benefit! Turn off your bright overheads (gross) and use the standing lights or table lamps (and perhaps a holiday tree!) to give off a warmer glow. For music, hook up a laptop or tablet to a wireless speaker hidden out of the way. Use spotify to it’s benefit by selecting the perfect holiday playlist from a multitude of choices. I’d suggest starting your holiday hosting party playlist with Michael Buble, The Piano Guys (perfect for a sit down meal) or this fantastic one filled with Holiday Cheer! Plus, turning off lights or changing the music is the perfect way to get people to leave nicely 😉
[FIVE] Don’t hand make everything
Go for warm foods this holiday season, but don’t think you need to make everything from scratch! Buy pre-made hors d’oveurs from Costco, and then add garnishes like jams or jellies to elevate it! Put on a big pot of chilli or soup and allow people to serve themselves throughout the evening. Set out a cheese board with meats and vegetables and if you want, get your guests to bring something as well! You shouldn’t be slaving away in the kitchen, you should be enjoying your party!