The holiday gathering is coming—soon. Are you in charge of the get-together? Whether it’s your first time or it’s been awhile, you can reduce the stress by staying organized. Here are some tips for hosting your first holiday.
Do a head count
Yes, it seems like an obvious detail, but some people don’t pay enough attention to this critical point. The number of guests affects how you handle the seating, serving, and quantity of food. Knowing dietary restrictions—like diabetic, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan—helps you plan a menu that includes items for every guest. You also should know how many children will be attending, and their ages, so you can accommodate their needs, including beverages.
Create the menu—and stick with it
Are you planning a traditional dinner or introducing a new take on the holiday meal? Don’t feel you have to stick to “what we’ve always done”. Even if you want to prepare a traditional feast, try adding new holiday recipes, whether it’s an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. Take a different approach on a conventional holiday dish, like the stuffing or vegetables. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a piecaken, with layers of pie and cake in one devilish dessert.
Once you have chosen your holiday menu, don’t let yourself be diverted by recipes you see on television, online, or in magazines. The distraction will only elevate your stress with confusion.
Write a detailed menu and post it on your refrigerator as a steady reminder. Keep a grocery list on your phone so that you can pick them up when you see them on sale.
Decide on your party floor plan
Your day-to-day interior layout can be changed to accommodate your party plans. Whether you need to set up a buffet for a large crowd or make room for overnight guests, look objectively at your spaces. Shop the rooms of your house to look for furnishings that can be repurposed for holiday entertaining.
Prepare a schedule
Give yourself the luxury of staying on track by mapping out the holiday preparation schedule, day by day, leading up to the celebration. For Christmas day, make an hourly schedule so that your dinner’s menu items are ready at the desired time. Make a list of the cooking temperatures and times so that you know what goes into the oven and when.
Get a head start
There are many chores on your Holiday To Do that can be completed in advance of your holiday party. Set the table and cover it with a cloth or clean sheet. Prepare casseroles and refrigerate or freeze them, depending on when you are going to serve. Wash your linens and holiday serving ware, and keep it tucked away where it will stay clean until you need it.
If you’re giving gifts to your guests, make sure everything is wrapped and ready to share. It’s also a good idea to have a few generic gifts ready for those unexpected visitors. A bottle of wine, box of fine chocolates, a gift bag with something decorative or scented, or a gift card is always a welcome gift.
Be your own DJ
Music is often overlooked, but a steady song stream enhances the ambience. You can build a playlist to play continuously throughout the holiday. If you have a personal digital assistant (Siri, Alexa, Google Home), you can simply ask for holiday songs.
It’s holiday time—festive and fun
Don’t let details and deadlines create unnecessary stress. From everyone at McGuinn Homes we hope your holiday entertaining is a success, and you can enjoy lasting traditions, start new ones, and create lasting memories. In the year ahead, if you’re ready to make the move to a new home to host more holidays, talk to us about in our new home communities, including quick move-in homes, throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area. Contact us to learn more!