Did the holidays sneak up on us or is it just me? Let’s avoid the stress this year by getting prepared! That means now is the time to take out your sticky pads and start making lists. Lists are your best friends. Santa always makes a list, and so should you.
To begin, here are my five favorite tips for hosting a great party, without a lot of fuss.
1. Be Prepared
Make lists! (You knew this was coming!) Stock up; buy things when you see them. The farther in advance you can make your menu, the better. This way, when those imported candied violets go on special, you can snap them up. Budget both your time and your money by thinking ahead.
2. Serve Up Something Signature
Have a “house” cocktail for the holidays and keep all the ingredients on hand at all times. It doesn’t have to be some crazy, fancy drink, either.
My favorite drink to serve during the holidays is a Kir Royale. I like to use Chambord, rather than cassis, with my cocktails. For the bubbly, you can’t go wrong with Cristalino — it’s less than $10 a bottle. I like it better then Veuve Clicquot!
Metallic tones are all the rage this year. But you don’t need to have a closet of brass, gold, and silver to add a little sparkle to your holiday table. Instead, be creative.
Get gold and silver spray-paint, collect some newspapers, and head to the garage to spray pumpkins, walnuts, gourds, pomegranates… even pears! They are great to use on your holiday table for place cards, along with greens to decorate your buffet, or nestled in the centerpiece for a little gilded spice.
Serving a buffet? Make a slit in one of the spray-painted veggies and put in a card identifying each dish you are serving. Or stick one near the entry that says, “Happy Holidays! We are so glad you could come!”
4. Add a Sweet Touch
Use ribbon candy as a stand for place cards, your menu card, or for notes to identify the dessert buffet choices. Is there anything more festive than ribbon candy? I don’t think so. Its whimsical shape and bright color makes me smile and it is just the right shape to tuck a handwritten card in between the folds. They shimmer in candlelight and when grouped together, they look like little jewels strewn across the table.
5. Dress Up Your Cocktails
Instead of plain ice cubes to keep drinks cool, place grapes and cranberries in your freezer now, so that come party time, you can use a couple of frozen fruits to add a quick and thoughtful touch to a cocktail or sparkling water. The shapes add dimension, color, and something to chew on when that delicious libation is swirling over your tongue. And your guests will say, “You think of everything!” Intoxicating!