Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

holiday 2015 1Thanksgiving is in 2 weeks, and the Christmas entertaining season is upon us. We’re especially excited this year because our granddaughter is coming home from college for the first time and we can’t wait to see her, and all of our family. We have a spreadsheet for the dinner, but there’s much more to do. The ideas from this article are helping us get organized for the best holiday season ever. Hope they help you too.

Is the whole family coming over for the holidays? Or perhaps you’d like to share some festive cheer with your neighbors? Whatever the reason, ’tis the season, so now’s the time to start planning.

Stock Your Pantry — Get ready for hosting with a well-stocked pantry and freezer. Must-haves include quick, no-cook appetizers; basic baking ingredients; spices and marinades; and frozen puff pastry, pie and cookie dough.

Set the Mood — Keep decorative accessories handy during this season of entertaining. A vase with fresh-cut flowers and tea lights in frosted glass holders are enough to add that festive touch.

Pre-Plan and Prep Cook — Come up with a few go-to holiday menu plans and try to prep cook many of the elements in advance. This will prevent you from spending the day slaving over a hot stove and allow you to enjoy your guests.

Find a Place for Everyone — Consider your holiday hosting capacity. Do you have enough space at the dinner table? Do you need extra chairs or place settings? Is your oven space adequate for the quantity of food you’ll be preparing?

Bring on the Fun — Have a variety of board games, books, playing cards and movies ready for those times when your guests need to entertain themselves. If you’re hosting young ones, have a few age-appropriate toys available as well.

Ready the Guest Room — If your houseguests are staying overnight, make sure they have everything they need to enjoy their stay. Set out extra towels, toiletries and bed linens, as well as maps and guidebooks for the area.

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