Geez Louise guys, we are only 3 shorts weeks from Christmas!! This year the holidays have been a little more elusive to me as I’m sitting in the sun on the beach across the world, but it doesn’t enter my mind that I have literally nothing done and still plan on hosting when I’m home for the holidays. However, I feel like with age comes some wisdom I’ve picked up along the way about how to make life easier when you’re throwing together a Christmas bash. Whether it’s a formal dinner or a casual open house, I love these few hostess hacks:
#1- The DIY Bar is your friend! As Canadians, the kitchen seems to be the heart of the home, and try as we might to congregate everyone to the living room, they always seem to end up back at the kitchen island. Want to make it easier so you have time to focus on serving food and visiting with your guests? Set up a DIY bar away from the kitchen, I’d suggest a side table or console if you have one, and close to the wine fridge if you also have one of those. You can keep an eye on everyone’s drinks but if they also have the freedom to make what they want, why not.
#2- Keep it simple- Why we’re on the topic of drinks, it’s always a struggle to know what everyone might like. I with bigger groups usually tell people I’ll have red and white wine and some select beer on hand and they are free to bring anything they might like other than that. If it’s a smaller, more intimate dinner, I usually tailor the drink menu to what they prefer. Another alternative is to make a large batch of punch or mix that people can self serve. One of my holiday favourites is this Rosemary Cranberry Fizz.
#3- Try and Prep/Make Everything Ahead of Time- As a rule of thumb I try and have food ready 1 hr before guests have arrived, that way I can relax and greet them properly when they come through the door.
#4- Make a batch of crock pot of hot chocolate, cider or mulled wine. Give a non-alcoholic option for guests in your crockpot, make it a few hours before that day and set it and forget it! I also love this option for outdoor campfires and then it can be transferred to a stainless steel carafe for serving.
#5- Set a festive feel with stove top potpourri- Candles and Air Fresheners can either smell overpowering and/or artificial. I throw together an easy stovetop potpourri and start it an hour or so before the party starts. One of my go-to’s is this easy stovetop scent.
#6- If you’re having a dinner- set the table early afternoon. That way it’s out of the way and you can prep and organize everything else, well before guests arrive.
#7- Don’t worry about perfect- nothing ever is! You’re guests will remember a happy and relaxed host more than a perfect house or decor, so make sure you enjoy yourself as well.