● By Style
I love the holidays, but I love entertaining even more.
If you’re anything like me, playing the host with the most doesn’t always equal an enjoyable event. Getting wrapped up in the execution of the perfect party might keep you in the kitchen and not in the mix where you belong. Check out these four holiday party planning tips; a little careful consideration will allow you to be hospitable without being held hostage.
1. ONLINE INVITATIONS
Although I really do enjoy a nice printed invitation, in the age of instant messaging and Facebook, I’ve adapted to the virtues of the online invite. Easy to create and even easier to keep track of RSVPs, I use them for all parties that don’t necessarily warrant a written announcement. I suggest two sites for creating lovely invitations. The first, evite.com, has been around for a while. You’ll find everything you need here at no cost. If you’re looking for something a little fancier and more formal, try paperlesspost.com. Some of the options will cost you a few dollars, but for specially lined, virtual envelopes, it just might be worth it.
2. HIRE A BARTENDER
We all can’t be superman or superwoman – occasionally you need help. Some people like to hire an extra hand in the kitchen, which is perfectly appropriate. I prefer to hire a bartender. If there’s one job that continually pulls you away from your friends, it’s tending the bar. One party, I spent all evening mixing gin and tonics and I barely made it out of the kitchen to greet guests. Unacceptable! Hire a friend’s college-age son or daughter, or a professional, to come and create the concoctions for you.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
A few favorite mixers and spirits go a long way. This year, spice it up with a seasonal garnish or flavor…it’s a simple crowd pleaser. If you’re on a budget, bottles of wine go far. Just separate the whites from the reds and let your guests have at it. I even put out a punch fountain one year, much to the delight of nostalgic company. It was a hit!
4. FANTASTIC FONDUE
If you’re not doing a sit-down dinner, consider fondue for your guests to nibble on. Yes, it may strike memories of ABBA and Nordic sweaters, but it’s actually a lot of fun and fairly simple to pull off. I like to give guests a few dipping options to choose from, like two cheeses and a chocolate. Look for recipes online and make selections based on your palate and time preference. You don’t even need one of those fancy fondue pots – any standard chafing tray with a couple sternos will work. I also use long wood sticks in place of the traditional prongs (forks). Surround your melted deliciousness with breads, fresh vegetables, fruits, cookies, marshmallows…whatever tickles your fancy. It’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require much supervision. Your guests will bow to your creativity. Cheers!