Holiday get-togethers can be stressful with all the planning, cleaning, shopping, cooking and finally hosting! Here are a few suggestions to help you be a calm hostess when your guests arrive so that you too can enjoy the party!
1.) Keep the beverage options to a minimum.
I usually do only beer and wine, water and juice/tea.
I do not want to be mixing drinks all night and prefer people to help themselves.
If you love this - then do it! I do not want to discourage your creativity, but I suggest one specialty cocktail that can be made in advance.
2.) I separate the drinks from the food.
This allows people to circulate. It also helps if people can break off their conversation and move to another area. "Sorry. I need to go refill my glass." Guests appreciate the opportunity to move around and talk to different people.
3.) I use real dishes and glassware whenever possible.
Borrow some from a friend or head to Dollar Tree. It does not have to break the bank, but it really takes your party "up a notch" when people are not spilling their food on your rug from a flimsy paper plate. They are also more likely to hold on to that glass of wine in a real glass.
These markers are a fun activity and they help to keep control of the glassware.
4.) Label your food.
With the many allergies and food considerations (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan), I find it helpful for guests to be able to make informed decisions about the food choices at the buffet table. I use ceramic ones like these you can purchase on Amazon, but a paper folded tent works great too! I give a brief description of each item.
5. Appetizer etiquette
Most appetizer will be eaten with your hands. So I make sure:
a.) The edges are clean - so their hands do not get messy and they are free to warmly shake hands in greeting!
b.) Small enough to be eaten in NO MORE THAN 2 BITES!
c.) When they bite... pieces will not fall on the floor. Bruschetta is one of my favorites, but not when its served standing up. Those diced tomatoes land on the floor and guests are bending over in their finest attire picking up the pieces.
YES, that happened to me. I never served it again at a cocktail party.
d.) Space between - don't overfill the platter so that guests are touching multiple appetizers to pick one up.
e.) Cold or room temperature - especially at an open house, I do not want to reheat a half platter of appetizers every few minutes or give half the guests a cold unappetizing one that has been sitting out.
I hope these tips help you plan a successful and enjoyable event!