Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Entertaining: 5 Tips for a Successful Get-Together.

In honor of the upcoming holidays I have yet another post with advice for entertaining.  I know that over the next several weeks I will have a ton of guests in and out of my home.  Some family.  Some friends.  Some neighbors from down the street.  Regardless, I always take my entertaining duties seriously and today I am going to share with you five tips that I think are crucial for a successful get-together!

Me with really long hair... crazy!

1. Think Simple.

So I'm pretty new at this entertaining thing.  I've only been married for about 3 1/2 years which means prior to our blissful nuptials I was in college.  Meaning entertaining consisted of setting out a bag of chips and a case of beer.  Okay, so maybe I have always had a little bit of the Martha Stewart gene running through my veins, but it has definitely taken some practice and good old trial and error to realize that simplicity if usually better.  Its easy to try and do too much and it is just within the past year that I figured out that creating a simple menu with a few special touches makes for a better party.

Preparing only one homemade dip and adding store bought items to the menu enabled me to
be able to keep things simple, but still have a great spread of food at my crafternoon get-together.

2. Plan ahead.

When I am having people over I try to do as many things as possible in advance.  Obviously this doesn't always work out and sometimes I am scrambling to hide the last of the clutter in the closet, bake a cheesecake, and change out of my work clothes just as guests are starting to walk in the door, but if you combine this step with step #1 I think it is the best way to ensure that you also get to enjoy the party.

I try to start thinking about the details of a get-together at least a week in advance.  At this point I will make out a grocery list, do my shopping, and make sure that I have everything on hand that I need.  If possible I will set the table beforehand to ensure that I have plenty of time to prepare food.  This is especially helpful since I almost always am running behind to finish the meal.

I set up this table the night before which enabled me to cross one thing off of my to do list.
P.S. If you are reading this Chad... don't judge my wrinkled table cloth!  ;)  

3. Remember Ice.

Someone told me once that the most important component to any party is having ice.  Wise advice.  So true.  If people have good food and a cold drink they are usually pretty happy.

4. Set the Mood.

Although it is always best to keep things simple, I also like to add special touches.  Is it a Christmas get-together?  Pick up a pack of holiday napkins.  Are you having a rustic Thanksgiving dinner?  Drink out of Mason jars.  Is it your friend's birthday?  Invest in some fun straws to sip your cocktails.  I live in the South now, so what better way to greet a Northern visitor than with a glass of ice cold sweet tea when they walk in the door?!  Its the little things that really make for a special time.

It doesn't have to be elaborate to be special.  A few small touches can go a long way.

Adding sprinkles to the rim of martini glasses really added fun to a birthday celebration.
And it was so simple! Just dip the rims in icing and dip in sprinkles!

5. Be present.

There is nothing worse than planning a get-together, investing a ton of time, and then being stuck in the kitchen the whole evening.  Truthfully, your guests don't want this either.  I have learned that company would rather spend time with their host than have them holed up in the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal.  If you are able to stick to the previous four steps this should be a little easier.  Also, guests can tell if they have a stressed-out, unprepared host and it probably doesn't make for a relaxing evening for them either!  You want the atmosphere to be fun, not frantic.  At the end of the day who cares if you burnt the bread and the cheesecake didn't turn out quite right?  The most important part is spending time with the people you care about.

Also, wouldn't it be nice to join in on the fun?!

My fabulous Muncie friends and me at my Mardis Gras party last spring.  


  1. Great tips! :)
    Andddd... my favorite Starbucks drink is the Peppermint Mocha! ;)

  2. Hi cutie pie! My favorite Starbucks drink is the Java Chip frappuccino!!! xoxo

    1. Java Chip Frappuccino is another great choice! This giveaway is really making me want some Starbucks!


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