Are you in the throes of holiday entertaining? I’m not, but we tend to get a lot of surprise guests between Christmas and New Years, so I have to be on my toes. I keep it casual, but there are some standbys.
I always make a boozy Christmas cocktail. I keep a bunch of frozen apps and sides on hand, and I usually serve ham. One of our fancy lawyer friends had a party with freshly baked buns, a variety of cheeses and a bone-in ham. That’s it. It was brilliantly simply and delicious.
Pork is the ultimate entertaining entree. Throw it in the slow cooker with a bottle of cherry coke and everyone is impressed. Plus it’s so salty, people tend to drink more, which as I’m sure you well know, results in a more festive shindig.
Here are a few other tips to make hosting over the holidays a breeze.
Charcuterie boards are simple to create. If you’re not sure what to include, start with a great base such as a cheeseboard and layer up with cured meats and olives. If you really want to impress your guests, add a block of honeycomb, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and half a pomegranate for colour.
Yes, you should give a hostess gift, but unless they’re already in a vase, don’t bring flowers. Handing over a bouquet to your host adds another annoying task to their list. You can never go wrong with a bottle of wine, but make sure it’s something your host would drink.
Personally, I’d rather receive a batch of your speciality cookies than a bottle of Auzzie plonk. Homemade gifts are easy on the wallet, as are beautifully packaged sweets like chocolates or fancy popcorn when you run out of time.
Tips for stress-free entertaining
- Always have a white table cloth on hand and pretty napkins that are clean and ready to throw on the table.
- Have a basket full of votive candles and tea lights so that you can easily illuminate a room with candle light.
- Choose one colour schedule for the season and stick to it – it’s stressful to try to create something fresh every time you serve a meal.
- Always have chilled wine and appetizers on hand for unexpected guests.
- Instead of dinner, consider hosting a brunch- much more casual and easy to whip up with bakery pastries, a fruit salad and protein dish. This savoury egg dish is a winner and can be thrown in the oven.
- Know the store hours of your local grocery store in case you need to run out for last minute menu items.
Tips courtesy of Kelly Deck, Director, Kelly Deck Design.
What are your foolproof entertaining tips?