Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Entertaining!

Holiday Entertaining!
N. J. Walters

This is the time of year when we entertain the most. And, if we’re not careful, it can also be the most stressful time of year. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Host a Christmas cookie swap with friends, family, or the girls at the office. A lot of women are doing this nowadays. You make a bunch of your favorite kind of cookie, save some for yourself and take the rest to the cookies swap. Be sure to decide beforehand how many cookies every person should bring. It will vary depending on how many people take part. If there are six of you, you would probably want to bring at least three dozen each so everyone gets a half-dozen of each kind. You might want to bring a few extra to “sample” as you all divide the cookies. This way you get a few hours out with friends and a bunch of different cookies to take home for the holidays, which you don’t have to bake yourself. It’s a win/win situation.

How about that formal Christmas party you always throw? You know the one I’m talking about. You stress, you shop, you worry about your table displays. That’s fine if you truly enjoy doing it, but if you find it more work than pleasure, how about throwing a different kind of party this year.

You could have a skating or sledding party. You don’t need kids to act like one yourself. Or, if you choose, you can have people bring their kids. Make huge pots of soup and chili for when you’re all ready to come inside. They’re quick to reheat and let you enjoy time with your friends and family instead of spending all of it in the kitchen. Put out loaves of thick, crusty bread or rolls a few plates of those cookies you got at the cookie swap and you’re all set.

Another great idea is a potluck dinner. Invite friends and family to share their favorites with you and others. It’s a great way to try out new foods. You could have a theme if you wanted or you could simply have folks go with tried and true. Maybe you could even print off recipe cards on your computer and put them by each dish so if someone likes a particular one they can recreate it at home.

If you’d like a more formal party for adults only, have a buffet. Help yourself out by going to the grocery store and buying pre-made finger foods. These days, you can find everything there from the most basic to the more exotic. Put out some fruit and cheese platters and let people mingle and enjoy.

Have a quiet dinner for a few close friends or family. Pick a meal you’re comfortable making. This is NOT the time to try out new recipes. It’s not hard to make the table festive. A few candles, some red napkins and a pinecone or two and your set. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to be nice.

Above all else, have fun. The people you invite over want to spend time with you. And if they’re more concerned with what your house looks like or what you made or didn’t make, then they shouldn’t be on the guest list.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all. Hope you all have fun entertaining!

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Charlene said...

Great ideas, NJ. I think we're going to do an open house kind of thing with a pot of soup and snacks so people can drop in whenever. Love the idea of a sledding party!

N.J.Walters said...

I think folks enjoy that just as much, if not more. Takes the pressure off everyone. I'd drop by if I lived closer. :-)