(NC) Not much is as taxing as hosting a large group and things can derail fairly quickly.
Stop, take a deep breath, and follow this simple guideline to holiday entertaining that is certain to be merry and bright:
Set a budget: It’s easy to get spendy when everyone will be scrutinizing the details of your event, but make sure to set a realistic limit. If you plan early enough, there are many DIY projects to spruce up your home décor without breaking the bank. Head to Pinterest for inspiration and your local dollar store for supplies. Whatever your budget, you can throw a great party.
Make a guest list and check it twice: Who you invite to break bread with is important to a successful event. Don’t feel that you have to invite everyone and their friends in order to be a good host.
It’s hard not to invite your crazy Aunt Evelyn, but you can probably skip the gossipy co-worker.
Fill their plates: Whether you’re having it catered or tackling the job yourself, the holidays are a time for old favourites, but don’t be afraid to throw in a contemporary spin. Just don’t try a new recipe the day of the party. Test the food out on your family first to avoid serving 50 collapsed soufflés. And make it easy on yourself by only serving nibbles. People love to graze, it’s easier to make the dishes ahead of time and this gives you the opportunity to offer variety to a group of diverse eaters.
Set the mood: Don’t forget an essential element to entertaining: music. The tunes at any event really help to set the ambience, but with everything else that you’re doing, don’t add the time-consuming task of building a perfect mix. “Make it easy on yourself,” says SiriusXM Canada. They advise to simply use your computer or mobile device to access commercial-free music to suit every taste through SiriusXM Internet Radio. From Christmas classics to Hanukkah favourites, keep the party going with hits from the past, current club anthems, or traditional tunes. You can listen free for a limited time at www.siriusxm.ca.
When it’s all done: Make sure all your guests have a safe ride home by having a few cabs pre-ordered. Surprise them with an adult “goodie bag” to take along, which may include water bottles, ibuprofen, a recipe for a “hair of the dog” cocktail, and anything that shows you care. Get creative.
And as the door closes behind the very last guest, you deserve to sit down, relax and toast yourself for throwing a sensational holiday bash.