This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.
Oh, the holiday season! Such a wonderful magical time…
Hosting a party for family, one for close friends, another for neighbors, playdate mom group, coworkers, book club… and you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Yes, the holidays can be stressful! We all put on our best jolly faces and pretend we are spreading the cheer 24/7, but the truth is that most of the time we are working so hard that we barely enjoy the parties.
True story! In fact, that happened to me this Thanksgiving. After being on my feet all day, cooking and cleaning, I could barely eat and couldn’t get out of the chair once I finally sat down!
As much as I love hosting and take pride in my over-the-top holiday parties, I can only do it once or twice a year. But since I love getting everybody together, I still do several mini parties, only I take it easy! Does that mean they are not as classy? Oh no! They are still memorable, just not as stressful. And I get to enjoy them!
But without any further ado, here are some of my tips on how to host a low key yet classy holiday party.
1) Appetizers? Go the easy, pre-made route!
You’ve probably seen some of my cheeseboard style posts on the blog. While they are impressive, they do take time to curate and put together.
If you’re hosting a party and want to save time on prep, why not give yourself a break and buy something at the grocery store instead? Most stores have beautiful spreads that’ll wow your guests without any effort on your part.
This season I’m going with the NEW flip-and-serve Hillshire® Snacking Social Platters. Bold, flavorful, premium ingredients that are chef curated. A combination of high-quality meat, cheese, and crackers that is ready to be served!
Look for them in the refrigerated deli section of your local Stop and Shop grocery store, near the party platters.
2) Set the mood with candles and music!
No need for an expensive centerpiece. Just dim the lights and set out some candles for a warm glow and festive ambiance! I also like to add a touch of life with some fresh greenery that I get at the flower shop of the grocery store. It’s a small touch that doesn’t cost a lot of money but makes an impact.
As for music, you could create a playlist to play during the party. But curating music takes time and the whole point of this post is quick and easy prep-time.
My newest obsession is my smart home assistant. All I have to do is ask it to play holiday tunes and I’m all set! And, if (when) you (or, ahem, your husband) get sick of that kind of music, you just have to ask it to change for jazz, party tunes or whatever else floats your boat! How great is that?
3) Set a beautiful table
That doesn’t mean you need to dust off the fancy china. Your everyday white dinnerware will do, but a few touches – like pretty placemats, charger plates or a nice tablecloth – will add that classy vibe we’re after.
Beautiful cloth napkins are also a great and efficient way to dress your table. You can fancy them up with napkin rings, but I sometimes like to put a personal touch, like tying them with rustic twine and adding seasonal elements, like cinnamon sticks and rosemary.
If you are the crafty kind, Pinterest has a bunch of fun ideas and tablescape inspirations that are effortless and will make you look like an entertaining queen/king!
4) Keep the menu simple!
Anything you can make ahead (and pop in the oven or reheat before serving) is gold!
Here are a few of my recipes that are impressive and you can make ahead:
- Lasagna Bolognese
- Braised Beef Ragu (you just have to cook the pasta before serving)
- Coq au Riesling
- Beef Bourguignon
- Carbonnade Flamande
5) Skip the cocktails
And this is coming from a former mixologist/bartender, folks!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna spend the party working the cocktail shaker. A selection of wine and beer will please everybody and you can even have fun pairing the food with it!
As for how much to serve, a good rule of thumb is calculating three drinks per person. A bottle of wine usually has about 25 ounces, so 5 servings. Go from there and you’ll be good to go! Just make sure to have a few varieties – at least one red and one white – for your guests to choose from.
If you absolutely must serve a cocktail, you can craft a pre-made seasonal drink – like a punch, for example – or make a DIY bar (with a few spirits and mixers) and let your guests serve themselves.
I hope this tutorial is helpful! If you follow these tips, I guarantee you will have a great time and actually spend the party enjoying yourself and your guests instead of running around trying to get everything perfect.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll even have everything ready 30 minutes before the party starts and will be able to sit down and relax with a glass of wine! Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely? #entertaininggoals #marthastewartwannabe
Have a joyful holiday season, y’all!