Are you hosting the holiday festivities this year? These ideas can help you beat the stress and save your energy for the party.
Things to consider while planning…
Don’t try to do everything yourself!
You may want to impress your friends and relative and really wow them, but trust me, keeping it simple will turn out best in the long run. Plan on providing the main course for the meal and then ask your guests what they would like to bring or assign dishes and supplies for your friends and family to be in charge of. Often times, people have signature dishes that they would love to make and share. For those who are not talented in the kitchen, give them simple things to bring, such as beverages or rolls. This way you can focus on making a few things really spectacular rather than a million things that turn out just pretty good.
Carefully select the dishes you are making. You want to be able to do as much of the preparation and cooking as you can before the day of the party, so choose dishes that allow you to do that with minimal cooking necessary the day of. Make sure you have enough equipment and serving dishes for the foods you are making and that you won’t have to juggle preparing too many things at once. Choose dishes you are comfortable making or have made before and really enjoyed so that you aren’t stressed out and working with unfamiliar ingredients and techniques. Make it easy for yourself!
Allergies and dietary restrictions
Make sure you ask your guests if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions. This can greatly affect your menu planning. You might have to leave certain ingredients out or keep some dishes separate. If you aren’t familiar with a restriction or aren’t comfortable cooking food for a restriction, just ask that person for suggestions! If you aren’t able to find out about allergies or dietary restrictions, it’s best to have a variety of food options so that if it does so happen there are restrictions, that person still has plenty of food options.
This is closely related to menu planning. Grocery stores are not fun places to be during holiday season, they can be crowded and stressful, so it’s best to have a plan of attack. Choose dishes that don’t require obscure ingredients; you definitely don’t want to be going to multiple stores searching for one specific thing. Make a list organized by where you will find the food in the store; all produce listed together, canned goods etc. Go to a store that you are familiar with so you don’t have to spend time wandering around searching for what you need.
Keep a list
Keep a running list of what people are contributing so that you don’t have doubles of certain items, too many similar dishes or something that is forgotten altogether.
Have to go containers available to send off with your guests. Then you aren’t stuck with too much food to store. And eat.
Check your inventory
Make sure you have enough serving dishes, plates, utensils, glasses etc. You don’t want to be scrambling the day of to find where you stashed your paper plates and plastic silverware.
Feng shui the space
Look at your space and make sure it isn’t cluttered. Rearrange the furniture so there is ample seating space but also enough free space for people to move around in. Clear off table tops so there is room for people to set drinks and plates. When decorating, stick to a few simple pieces; this both make your life easier because you won’t have to spend so much time and money in decorations and it will most likely create more space for your guests.
Check back for clever tips to use on the day of the party!