Fun Holiday Entertaining Tips

December 24, 2014
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As I look back on 2014, one of my favorite things has been

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Entertaining

In previous lives, having people over, or going to someone else’s house for a dinner party was rare.  When I decided to change all of that, I found myself at nearly 40(!) without any idea of how to do it.

So I started practicing with the most forgiving of audiences, my parents(!)   By the time I got married, I had some of the basics mastered, and built from there.  Today, inviting friends and family over is one of my very favorite things.

If you’re a follower of The Veggies, you’ll know I’m a lover of all things Bon Appetit.  Their recipes, of course, their recipes are brilliant, but so are the wealth of entertainment tips found within their pages.

Since we’re at the peak of holiday entertaining, I thought it might be fun to gather a few together and share them with you (with a couple of other sites mixed in as well)

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Planning

What’s For Dinner?

Find a wealth of holiday recipes here, here, and here

I love the idea of non-traditional. You can still be festive, without it being complicated, or fraught with holiday pressure – Non-Holiday Holiday Dinner Party

Invite A Few Party Starters

“Ask some close friends or good conversationalists to come early and be the first guests.  They’ll deflect the awkward early phase and allows you to get on with the prep”   ~ Bon Appetit

Clean, Tidy, and Clean Again

“Pay extra attention to your bathrooms, which should be well-stocked and absolutely spotless” —Bon Appetit

Set It and Forget It

“When it comes to music, set it and forget it.  Figure out who the music person is in your family and have them set up a playlist. Turn it on, and don’t think about it again (make sure it’s long enough not to repeat songs).  We’ve even created a clean-up playlist for after everyone leaves”  ~ Bon Appetit

A few ideas?  Here .. here .. and here

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Getting the Party Started

The House Should Smell Amazing When Guests Arrive

“Your house should smell amazing when guests arrive. Not like scented candles, but delicious food”  ~ Bon Appetit

A Candy Bowl is Never Overkill

~ Julie Kramer, Associate Restaurant Editor

How to Kick Off A Dinner Party Right

It’s easier to have an appetizer without having to maneuver a fork. A few ideas for appetizers that will save you a load of dishes, and help you drink more champagne

Make Sure There is Cake

“Shower guests with snacks as they wait for their meal.  Refill glasses with inventive cocktails and make sure there is cake.  Lots of cake”    ~ Food52

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Serving

‘Tis the Season for Nostalgia

“Pigs in blankets of course!  My husband was horrified when I served them at a party a few years ago, but I said ‘Just watch, they’ll be the first thing to go.’  And he was right”   ~ Ina Garten | When asked if she had any nostalgic favorites

Everyone Loves A Cheeseball

“Because it’s cheese!  And nuts!  In ball form!”  ~ Andrew Knowlton, the Bon Appetit Foodist

Guest like to serve themselves

“You’ve got a credenza or kitchen island?  Put it to use.  Guests love to serve themselves”  ~ Bon Appetit

Please Everyone, Even Your Vegan Aunt

Have a dish or two that will grant you immunity from even the most gluten-averse, meat-abstaining, fat-conscious house guests

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After Dinner

Let The Kids Drink Bubbly

“Cheers!  We pour Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider for the girls, Beillecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne for us”  ~ Jenny Rosenstarch and Andy Ward

Send Guests Home With Left-Overs

“Packing up leftovers for your guests to take home is a generous (and reasonably subtle way) to suggest to people that maybe it’s time to go home”  ~ Bon Appetit

Have Sandwiches for House Guests

“You’re making a zillion things, not to mention dealing with a house full of crazy people delightful relatives.  Don’t even think about elaborate lunches, especially when all anyone wants is a sandwich.  So stock up on the best meats and cheeses from the deli counter—thinly shaved mortadella, coppa, smoked turkey, provolone—and grab a Pullman loaf and some Kaiser rolls”   ~Julia Kramer

Nothing Says Hospitality Like A Great Breakfast

Overnight guests are met with bright eggs, warm biscuits, savory spreads, and (you couldn’t help yourself) more cake.  At this point, you’re worried they might move in.  It’s a testament to your hospitality.

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Last But Certainly Not Least

Mistakes? Nothing To See Here

“Mistakes should be downplayed:  In the spirit of Benjamin Disraeli, who remarked, ‘Never complain, never explain, never apologize.’  If a dish falls short or the wine is corked, make light of it and move on”   ~ Bon Appetit

Thank you, Bon Appetit!

Enjoy!

xoxo

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