Hosting a holiday party always seems like a great idea — until you get down to the brass tacks of actually planning, organising, worrying about the atmosphere and (worst of all) cleaning up. To make things go a little more smoothly and worry-free this year, try out these tips:
Make grocery shopping easy and quick
When planning your menu, try to stick to standard, easy-to-find ingredients. That way, you will know where everything is in the store and won’t have to traipse around several places to get what you need.
Prepare as much as possible before your guests arrive
You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests arrive and the party starts. Wherever possible, choose to serve items that can be made ahead of time. The same goes for utensils, cutlery, glasses and all the other paraphernalia you’ll need. Have it all laid out and easy to access before your guests arrive. You should also check that you have enough of everything. This means that you won’t end up scrabbling in the drawer for a cake fork or reaching into the back of the cupboard for a tumbler.
Now is not the time for experimentation
Speaking of menu, don’t add stress by choosing a complicated recipe you’ve never made before. Instead, go for something that you know how to make and feel comfortable with.
Serve food in more than one place
Party guests tend to gather around the food, leaving one small area crowded and the rest of the room empty. Avoid this by setting up two or three places where guests can get their food from.
Help your guests avoid over indulgence
It’s well-known that food in the stomach can slow down alcohol absorption. Rather than putting out all your food at the beginning of the evening, keep some back to serve later and help people soak up their drinks.
Limit the drinks list
If you have one guest wanting a G&T, another thirsty for Manhattans and a third preferring scotch and soda, it’s going to be a while before anyone gets their drink. Keep things simple by offering one variety of beer, one wine and one simple cocktail that you can mix in a pitcher.
You can also set out a drinks table replete with chilled beers, bottles of wine, cocktail pitchers, glasses and ice. This allows your guests to help themselves and limits the amount of running around you need to do.
Cool drinks outside
If you are short on fridge space, at this time of year drinks left outside will usually keep nice and cool. Just leave them close to your back door or balcony door for easy access.