Well hello again dear friends. Please accept my apologies for being utterly absent from the blog as of late, but life happens and life has been happening fast! We’re in November now. NOVEMBER. This is insane! While I welcome this season with open arms and a longing in my heart I cannot explain, I also reflect back with a dizzying memory lapse about 2018.
So here we are and I finally have a few minutes to spare to write a quick post while I’m waiting on a friend to meet for holiday market shopping tonight. I’ve been listening to Christmas music ALL day despite the 85 degree temperature outside and jean shorts I wore (on the day I wrote this). It was a bit depressing, but I’m charging forward with my festive spirit anyway.
I’m linking up to share some holiday tips that utilize both for Thanksgiving and Christmas - especially because I love to host dinners and organize events and parties for the holidays.
Make it festive but keep it simple. This is easier said than done as we all get carried away, but truly factor in what you have time for within your schedule that will allow you to enjoy the events and not feel overwhelmed. Find gifts and crafts that you may want to give out that will not be super time consuming and hands on such as a tiny stocking with a candy cane, travel sized Bailey’s, and some chocolate at each table setting versus hand making little personalized wreaths.
Order or buy from the store when it makes sense. This may mean buying desserts instead of baking. Ordering the main turkey and ham instead of making those yourself. Buying gluten free bread or desserts instead of baking them.
Ask for help. The hostess with the mostess does NOT have to do everything. Ask guests to bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert, or even their preferred adult drinks. While you can have stuff on hand, it never hurts to have too much. If you’ll need help setting up or cleaning up, do not hesitate to ask someone in advance if they can come early or stay a little later.
Simplify and plan ahead. You may want to make your grandmother’s 20 step recipe to blow everyone’s mind, but if your schedule will be stressful then consider looking for easier versions of the recipes online. When I’ve hosted Thanksgivings or Christmas dinners I’ve often looked for easier versions online than what I’m used to. Once you have your recipes picked out then review their preparation and cooking times and plan the order in which you’ll make them so the timing is perfect.
Make ahead when you can. This is by all means one of the best things anyone can do, if you can do it and have the space to store the food. For example, last Christmas I made 144 meatballs two days before Christmas and placed them in the freezer. On Christmas Eve I prepared two giant meatloaves and put them in the refrigerator. Then, on Christmas morning I started preparing the sauce and added the meatballs and easily baked the meatloaves in time for a very large gathering of family for Christmas day. The same can be done with a lot of casseroles or mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.
Use nice plastic, disposable plates and utensils. We do not always do this as I like to have specific holiday table settings but on some events we do and it tremendously cuts down the clean up time. It’s possible to buy nice disposable plates and utensils now and quite frankly I’ve always felt that if someone comes over that would judge us using them then I probably don’t want a person like that over anyway! Ha! However, I don’t know anyone that would and I am blessed that it never phases me. =)
Use disposable foil baking trays and pans. Bouncing off of the above, this significantly cuts down on the clean up time and gives you more time to enjoy your company.
Check out the Dollar Store. I’m always surprised by the cute little things they have for the holidays that help for parties or gatherings. You won’t find everything there and not everything there is nice enough to buy and use for your guests. But, I have definitely learned to pop in there for holidays throughout the year.
Shop holiday sales before and after the holiday itself. If it’s something you feel you must have, then get it while you think a sale price is good enough. If it’s something you love but can’t justify then keep your eye on it for it to go on super clearance after the holiday itself. This of course risks it not being in stock. Bonus - if it’s something you buy and set aside and can return and re-purchase it later at the discounted price. ;) Also, start shopping early for gifts and keep a good list of who each item is for. You’ll reduce your stress as the holiday nears.
Drink lots of wine or Titanium tequila. This is conducive for festive and happy spirits as well as perks your guests right up! =)))
What are some tips you would suggest for the holidays? Have you started planning yours yet?
Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday!