In the wake of Thanksgiving, as our first of many turkey comas wears off, it can be overwhelming to anticipate the surplus of festivities that await us over the next few months. Next up, Halloween, especially if you have young ones! After that, get ready for pre-Christmas cocktail parties, lavish dinners, and to put the cherry on top of the wilting cake, the inevitable New Year’s eve bash. If you’re on deck for hosting the holidays this year, or you’re one who just likes to entertain, here are a few tips to help make it through the madness without a hitch.
Plan and Prepare!
You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you leave your party prep to the last minute. The trick is to be uber-organized. Allow yourself ample time to set up. Sit down and make a detailed to-do list, and do as much of your shopping in advance as possible. This way, you’ll only have a few last minute things to pick up (fresh vegetables, etc.) and won’t find yourself forgetting important items or feeling frazzled.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you know you’ll be busy the day of the party, don’t be afraid to ask someone to grab the ice, or bring the dessert. Obviously, there is different etiquette depending on the nature of the gathering you are hosting. With family, it’s appropriate to ask your relatives to help out and even contribute a dish or an appetizer to your spread. However, when hosting a social dinner or cocktail party, try to handle most of the preparations yourself, and limit your requests to small favours from close friends, like a forgotten item or last minute pick up. If your friends and family do pitch in, it’s a nice gesture to formally thank them afterward with a hand-written thank you note.
Add a personal touch.
As part of your planning process, make time to add a special personal touch to your soiree, one that will make yours stand apart from the dozens of others your friends and family will most likely be attending this season. For example, creating hand written place settings, with a short but sweet note to each person at your table is a really thoughtful way to make your guests feel special. If this feels too forced or simply too time-consuming (yes, we know you have lives) a formal invitation they can place on the bulletin board goes a long way in the age of paperless post e-mail invites!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
This seems obvious but is surprisingly often neglected during this jam packed festive season. With all the late nights, high sodium hors d’oeuvres, booze, and sugar packed treats… hydration has never been so key. Not only will it keep you going, it will help ease bloating, and keep you looking fresh. Particularly if you are hosting, hydration between drinks is essential. No one wants to be the host that had to leave their own party early after a few too many! Don’t let all your preparation go to waste, stay alert and focused on being a respectable host from the beginning to the end of the evening.
Hire Help for the Clean-Up.
If you’re hosting a large party, it can be quite costly. Many people feel that splurging on a cleaning service post- soiree is an unnecessary expense. However, if you’ve ever woken up to the remnants of a successful holiday bash the morning after, you’ll understand what we mean when we say it is money well spent. Hosting is a rewarding and fun experience, but it is also exhausting. From the extensive preparation, to being on your game all night, you will be more than ready for a break by the end of the evening. Do yourself a favour and hire a service or your regular housekeeper to help take care of the clean-up.
We hope these tips are helpful in getting you through the upcoming holiday season. Remember- it’s a marathon, not a race! Pace yourself, and don’t neglect to add your signature personal touch, whether you’re hosting or giving a hostess gift.