Holiday parties can be a lot of fun — especially if you’re not the person throwing the big bash.
But if you are that person, here are five tips to help you host a successful party… without totally stressing out…
1. Start planning early.
Develop a menu, make a list of ingredients, and go shopping several days before the big event. Think about where you want people to congregate in the house, and set up folding chairs and other “temporary furniture” such as card tables in those areas.
2. Make room.
In order to accommodate those extra pieces of furniture… not to mention your guests… it may be time to de-clutter. Do you have items that are basically taking up space and collecting dust, rather than enhancing the ambience? Donate them to your favorite charity, or host a yard sale. Think of it as spring cleaning in the winter.
3. Prepare food ahead of time.
No cook is perfect, and things can go wrong in the kitchen. To avoid disaster on the day of the party, make as many dishes as possible the day before, and then simply reheat them when your guests arrive.
4. Put together a wine table.
Unless you’re preparing a formal, sit-down dinner, don’t sweat the wine pairings. Simply put a number of different bottlings on a table (nicely decorated, of course), and let your guests sample and select on their own.
5. Have a focal point.
You can dress up a wine table by placing an attractive Champagne bucket in the middle. Williams Sonoma always has a nice selection, including a gorgeous hammered copper model from Mauviel ($345).
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Tomorrow: Festive food and wine pairing possibilities.