Lifestyles by Estelia… It Takes a Plan to Make the Holidays Stress-Free
Over the years we have all hosted family and friends for holiday gatherings. It’s especially challenging in today’s world of “gotta have it in a minute” whether it’s the latest news, fashion, tweet or twitter. With so many distractions pulling us in so many directions, we need a plan to pull off a successful, enjoyable and, yes, stress-free party. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned – some the hard way – and would like to share with you.
- Write out a menu. This is a crucial step. If a recipe has a large or complicated ingredient list, forget it. Think about what people eat – you can’t make a dish for each guest, but you do want a menu everyone can eat.
- Skip complicated appetizers. Just serve wine, cheese, crackers, good olives, etc.
- Never test a “new” recipe on guests. What you’ll get is a “recipe” for disaster!
- Make a game plan and stick to it. Take a large, blank sheet of paper and work backwards on your timeline. For example: If you want to serve the meal at four o’clock, the turkey has to go in the oven at noon, come out a three and rest of an hour. Then look at your vegetables…. Can they be made in advance and reheated while the turkey rests? Mark that in your schedule.
- Make an aisle-by-aisle shopping list. Put all the vegetables in one column, dairy in another, etc. This way you won’t spend time racing around the store helter-skelter. Save perishables shopping (fruit, flowers) for a day or two before the event.
- Prep as much as you can in advance. For example: cut vegetables a couple of days ahead and store in plastic containers.
- Set your table the night before. The appearance of festive table is so important. It says to each guest, “Welcome – stay a while and enjoy this gathering of good food and conversation”. Take time to fuss over it… create a tablescape.*
- Ask each guest to bring a dessert. You’ll make them feel they are part of the team and will enjoy their favorite sweet – but most of all it will cut down on your work.
If you have a holiday tip (or recipe) you’d like to share, please let me know.
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