The 2nd part in our invaluable holiday entertaining series, these tips and tricks are sure to help ease the stress of planning and hosting a holiday gathering, whether big or small.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of a butler’s pantry at our disposal. No problem! You can create your own. Using a folding table, cover with a tablecloth or old sheet. Stack up your serving platters, serving utensils, bowls, extra napkins, coffee maker or thermal carafe and whatever else you may need to keep things running smoothly. My washer/dryer is actually off my kitchen in the hallway behind bi-fold doors. This may sound crazy, but I often find myself using the top of the washer/dryer to spread out my party essentials. Not exactly a butler’s pantry, but works for me! You could also set up your table in a spare room close to the kitchen or even in the garage, as long as it’s convenient for you and doesn’t get in your guests’ way.
Define your color strategy! If you will be hosting a Christmas gathering, as well as New Year’s Eve, consider using a color palette that can be easily refreshed so the decorations do ‘double duty.’ To make this work, it’s important to have one base color that will remain, like gold or silver. When Christmas is over, for example, remove the red and green and replace with a glittery white or teal.
- Start your holiday baking early, like October or November. Most cookies freeze well and can be defrosted as you need them throughout the season. Danielle’s Famous Salami Bread is also a great freeze-ahead item. Once fully cooled, wrap each loaf in aluminum foil then place in a plastic freezer bag. They will hold for several weeks in the freezer. Defrost the morning of the party and heat through in the foil before serving. No matter how many loaves I make, it’s always gone as soon as it hits the table! Here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.thecraftyhostess.com/?p=923
- Think of the holidays as an entire season, not just one or two specific days where you’ll be feasting with family and friends. It’s the time of year for unexpected guests to drop in for a bit of cheer, family and friends to gather and linger a bit longer than usual. With this in mind, it’s key to begin stocking your pantry with entertaining essentials as early as October. Refer to our blog entry “Entertaining Unexpected Guests” for a list of items to have on hand for no-stress holiday entertaining all season long. Get the full list here: http://www.thecraftyhostess.com/?p=2098!