Well, if you have or haven’t hosted a holiday get-together you know it can be intimidating, and overwhelming. With these
tips and ideas you too can throw a memorable get-together with ease. It’s never too early to start planning a party. You can rearrange and adjust your plans in the days and weeks to come.
Please share your tips and ideas below. I wouldn’t mind reading about some party don’ts and or tragedies too
What type of party are you going to host? I prefer an elegant hors d’oeuvre soiree and that’s what I’m basing this article
on. Choosing a theme for a party allows you to make quick and easy food choices in preparing a menu and purchasing food. I always include a cheese platter no matter what the theme.
Pick a date: Make sure to get your invites
out 2-3 weeks in advance, and include a start and end time on the invitations and request an RSVP, I know people can be rude and not respond, but if you have an idea of how many people are coming you can have enough hors d’oeuvres ready and not run out.
Evite to email invitations, it’s free.
Live by lists: To me this is the most
important part of hosting any party or get-together. I have three separate lists one for getting the house ready and one for the hors d’oeuvres I’m serving and one for shopping.
Clean the house in the beginning of the week, but save the restrooms and vacuuming for the day before the party. You won’t be as stressed out by cleaning the house early. Set your hors d’oeuvre table
and decorate three days before the party. Tip: Set the table with the platters, bowls, trays and chafing dish etc. place a post-it on each one with what hors d’oeuvre goes in or on that dish.
This will make the day of the party a breeze, trust me. J
Make sure to have a separate table for drinks, I usually serve red and white wine
Tip: I put wine glasses out with wine charm rings already on the glasses; beer, soda (pop), water, and a hot beverage. I have been known to have a martini station too.
Tip: Pick a martini you want to serve, mix ingredients in a large pitcher and set aside. Have an ice bucket with ice and martini shakers ready to go. I have a bunch or martini glasses lined up and ready for my guests to grab, they can pour the martini
mix into the shakers add ice, shake and serve themselves.
Make sure to pay attention to the little details that set the mood for your party.
I place folding chairs and a few of those folding TV trays about so people can have somewhere to sit and place drinks etc. while mingling.
Tip: Buy a few yards of holiday fabric and cut it to fit over those ugly TV trays, very festive! Choose music that is soft and not too loud, instrumental, jazz, classical or holiday music works best. Dim the lights and add candles, make sure no one gets
burned. Add small touches like flowers, bowls of nuts and disposable hand towels in the restrooms.
Food: Well it’s time to talk food, my
favorite subject. I plan my menu of hors d’oeuvres and make my shopping list. Serve a few hot items and the rest at room temperature or cold. By serving only a few hot items you can spend most of the party
mingling and having fun. I always have a large chafing dish on the table with one or two items in it like chicken wings, meatballs, sausages etc., and the other hot item I serve on a platter fresh out of the oven.
I place them on a platter and either put them on the table, or walk around and serve them to my guests; this way I can chat with everyone too.
Tip: Always have an extra baking sheet full of hors d’oeuvres in the fridge ready to go into the oven.
The way you present the food adds to the mood of your party; create elegant platters and food presentations, this brings a touch of sophistication to your soiree.
I buy a mix of crackers, and flat breads as well as baguettes, this not only looks nice it gives your guests an array to choose from. Serve a couple of cold dips and one or 2 hot dips or baked cheese. For the cheese platter serve the cheese in
wedges with a cheese knife, Tip: Add placards with the names of the cheese you are offering.
Serve one soft cheese like brie, a hard cheese like aged cheddar, one made from goat or sheep’s milk,
and either a blue or gorgonzola cheese. I put fresh and dried fruit on the platters as well as some nuts a little honey to drizzle over the blue or gorgonzola is always a plus. I also like to serve a hard cheese like manchego cheese on a separate cheese board
with a small dish of pear honey. I could go on forever about different cheeses and what I like but that’s another story.
Add a couple more platters of hors d’oeuvres and dessert Tip: Serve an array of desserts, homemade and/or store bought; and you are ready to party!
Hors d’ oeuvres list: Reads like this:
2 days before: list the food you can prepare or prep for, two days before the party. 1 day before: list the food you can prepare or prep the day before the party, and the Day of: list the food you need to make the day of the party. The day of
the party is usually just the food I need to cook, everything else is made ahead and plated wrapped and refrigerated.
Tip: As you finish each item I mark it off the list, this way nothing gets forgotten.
Don’t forget to let your cheese and dips come to room temperature the day of the party
Here are 50 appetizer recipes you can choose from for your next party. I have made some of these and
some are on my “to do” list:
Game: At some point when everyone has stuffed themselves, I
like to play a game called
“Night before Christmas” right/left game. I buy 5 or 6 gifts suitable for men or women, wrap them and have them ready to go.
Tip: Purchase gifts at Bed Bath and Beyond, using coupons you get in the mail. Start saving them now and when December rolls around you should have a couple 20% off coupons and one or two 5 dollar off coupons, or ask your family, friends and neighbors
if you can have theirs.
Have everyone sit in a circle and give a gift to every fifth person (depending on how many people are at the party, just
distribute the gifts evenly in the circle of people). This is a really fun game that everyone will talk about it for months after, I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds good hehehe.