Advice from Jill Nystul, Writer and Founder of the daily lifestyle blog One Good Thing by Jillee
1. Don’t forget to set the mood!
It’s easy to get caught up in the food and decor when you’re entertaining, but it’s really the mood that will make or break your party! Set the party mood with two simple elements. First, candles. Artfully placed tea lights or small, unscented candles are a simple and inexpensive way to make your space feel festive and inviting.
Second, music! Having music playing in the background will make your guests feel at ease and encourage mingling and conversation. So take half and hour or so the day before your party and put together a playlist of your favorite holiday (or just plain favorite) tunes!
2. Don't start your evening with a full dishwasher.
Not only will having an empty dishwasher ensure that you have plenty of clean dishes and flatware, but it also allows you to put dirty dishes into the dishwasher as the food and snacks are eaten. This will make the after-party cleanup a breeze, plus you won’t have to stare at a growing pile of dirty dishes in the sink all night!
3. Think outside the refrigerator box for chilling drinks.
If you have lots of drinks to keep chilled and your refrigerator is already overflowing with food, fill your washing machine with ice in the morning of the party and chill in there. Bring drinks out as you need them. The washing machine will drain as the ice melts, and you won’t have to stock coolers all night or empty all the melted ice the next day! (Works with front loaders too.)
4. Don't try new recipes!
Grocery shopping during the holidays can be a nightmare, and you’ll only make things harder on yourself if you’re planning on making new, exotic dishes for your party. Not to mention adding unneeded pressure during an already stressful time.
Instead of spending hours in the store pulling your hair out while searching for obscure ingredients, streamline the process by sticking to recipes and dishes you know. You’ll be in and out of the grocery store in no time, and you’ll be much happier for it!
5. Don't do double duty.
If you’re going to be doing all that cooking anyway, why not double the recipes and keep the extra in the freezer for those nights when unexpected guests show up? Dishes such as soups and casseroles are all handy items to keep in your freezer. Garlic bread or bake-at-home rolls can be frozen right alongside them.
6. Don't forget about your crock pot!
There’s no more festive drink during the holiday season than a delicious cup of warm apple cider, but keeping it warm throughout an evening can be tricky. Solve that problem easily by pouring your apple cider into a crock pot on the warm setting. Place the cups and a ladle next to the crock pot, and your guests can serve themselves a warm drink at their leisure!