One of the busiest, most stressful times of the year has arrived. Planning ahead for holiday entertaining will make the process less stressful. In fact, you will even have fun!
First, to decorate your home or table, think of the season or the holiday, or choose a theme, such as a birthday. The week before your guests will arrive, look outdoors or in garden shops for a few items you might use to set the stage in your home. A fun choice might be to use live plants or herbs you can later plant in your garden. Take a walk around your yard or neighborhood and clip interesting greenery to place in a favorite container in your home. About three days prior to the party, if you’ve chosen to decorate with flowers, arrange them and begin to set your table.
When deciding who your guests will be – family, bridge group, book club, or neighbors, ask yourself how you most like to entertain. Are you comfortable with large groups enjoying only appetizers or a dessert, or do you prefer a group that can sit at your dining table comfortably for a dinner, where conversation is more intimate?
As a retiree, I have time to cook ahead during the week. If you have a career, you will need to find time on weekends to shop and put a few items into the freezer.
Cooking or baking can be a joy for some folks. If it is not your passion, in today’s world there are many options that will help you assemble prepared items from places like gourmet shops, grocery stores, and bakeries. You can even pre-order your entrée from your favorite restaurant. Beverages can be bought as soon as your menu is set. Keep the menu simple. Use extra hands, a spouse or a teenager, to help. Asking an invitee to bring a dish, possibly the salad or dessert, is another way to lighten the work. The joy of sharing special time with friends and family is a gift for all.
Soon, I will suggest a simple holiday menu with recipes for a dinner party for six to eight guests around your table.
Paula’s passion for foods began in Tennessee, where she and her family enjoyed entertaining friends and spending time together in the kitchen. Living in New Jersey for many years broadened her interest in ethnic foods and markets. It was while living there that she formed her own business, Creative Catering. She continues to find joy in cooking in her Davidson kitchen.