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Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Entertaining’

Boxing Day Buffet Lunch Christmas Tree and Log Fire

If you’re the one Ho-Ho-Hosting Christmas festivities this year, here are a few tips to help you be prepared for your guests.

There is nothing that can send a host into a tailspin faster than running out of some basic necessities right before or during a party. Make a list of what you need well before hand, stock up and then relax.

Preparation makes entertaining so much more simple and enjoyable!

Some things to be sure you are well stocked on:

Napkins

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Facial Tissues

Aluminum Foil

Plastic Wrap

Garbage Bags

Baking Soda (works well for so many things from neutralizing orders to shining the stainless faucets)

Bleach Wipes (you know someone is going to show up sick and these are a quick and handy way to keep things wiped down and as clean as possible)

Milk and Eggs

Ice

Club Soda (mix it with any type of juice for automatic punch! It is also great for removing stains, polishing jewelry and glass, and settling upset stomachs!)

Munchies (people arrive hungry and get hungrier with all the great smells coming from the kitchen. Have an ample supply of munchies like veggie trays, crackers and cheese on hand.)

Games (if children are in the mix, have a few easy to play games ready. Coloring books and crayons are also a great diversion.)

Last-minute Gifts (keep a few generic gifts on hand wrapped and ready for giving. You never know when you are going to need one. It can be something simple like candles or lotion sets for women and candy, a book or a car-related item – think furry mitt with ice scraper attached – for the guys.)

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If you are looking for a stunning centerpiece and are short on time or money, sometimes simple really is best.

Try one single beautiful poinsettia plant surrounded by white tea lights. Go for a plant that looks healthy with lots of flowers. If you are feeling adventurous, choose one of the funky new colors rather than traditional red.

Use a wicker basket and fill of pincones. Tie a tartan plaid bow on the handle of the basket and this says “country christmas” loud and clear.

Fill a pretty footed glass bowl with Christmas balls. Choose silver and gold for an elegant statement or go with colors that tie into your decorating theme like red and white or silver and blue.

If you have two or three cake pedestals of varying heights, stack them together and put either a selection of edible treats on them or place a nice candle on top and wrap holly garland around the other sections.

Wrap three to five boxes of various sizes and pile them casually in the center of the table. Again, stick to silver or gold for elegant, plaid for traditional or go with something that ties in to your decorating scheme.

Whatever you do, have fun with it and remember to focus on your guests a enjoy your time together!

She Who Loves Holiday Parties

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Now is a fantastic time to take stock of what table linens you have and what you might need for holiday entertaining.

Does your tablecloth need pressed? Are there stains that need removed? Do you need to replace it with a new cloth?

If you fall into that last category, there are a lot of great choices for affordable prices. This one is from Bed, Bath  & Beyond.

Another fun idea would be to purchase a plain white or cream flat sheet and have markers scattered across the table. Ask your guests to write a message, sign their name or draw a picture.  That would most definitely be a keepsake for years to come.

Think about what table or tables you will be using. Do you need tablecloths for side tables or card tables? Do you have plenty of napkins, dish towels and pot holders. Take stock of what you’ve got, replenish as needed now and be prepared for your upcoming company.

She Who Needs to Follow Her Own Advice

 

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Traditional Green Wreath

Yesterday’s blog was about welcome mats and how they set the tone of greeting for your holiday guests. Another way to say welcome at your door without saying a word is a wreath. These come in literally all shapes, sizes and colors, so find something that matches your unique personality, your home, or the type of welcome you want to extend.

My recommendation is to have fun with this!

If you don’t have a wreath hanger on your door, you can buy inexpensive hangers that hook over the top of your door.  Just make sure your door will close with one on. I like the metal hangers because they are relatively flat and work with most doors.

Traditioanl Fresh Green Wreath with Berries

This time of year a lot of service organizations and clubs also sell fresh green wreaths to raise funds. You can get a very nice wreath and contribute to a good cause at the same time.

Boxwood Wreath

Boxwood Wreaths are fun and can come in some interesting shapes and styles. The greens are always vibrant and look great with nothing more than a simple red or plaid bow.

Cedar Wreath

Cedar Wreaths are another fun, fresh alternative that runs toward the classic holiday look. The best thing about these wreaths are the fragrance. If you’ve never smelled fresh cedar – you must sniff some this holiday season. It is divine.

If you are concerned about getting sap on your door, I’d steer away from fresh greens and go toward something a bit more out-of-the-box.

Pinecone Wreath

A pinecone wreath is a fun, woodsy way to say welcome. Just gather an assortment of pinecones and glue to a styrofoam form or wire to a wire form. You can get creative and add in different accents like nuts, twigs, cinnamon sticks, etc. If you wanted to stretch your effort to last a bit longer, you could use this wreath for Thanksgiving and right on through the holiday season.

Red Berry Wreath

Red Berry Wreaths are guaranteed to grab some attention with their bright red pop of color. You can purchase these wreaths pre-made or make one yourself by hot-gluing berries onto a grapevine or evergreen wreath form.

Candy Wreath

Candy wreaths are super easy (just time consuming) and make a whimsical splash at your entry. Don’t be surprised if you find a few missing as people pass by and can’t stop themselves from grabbing one. You simply hot glue the candy onto a styrofoam wreath form and finish with a bow.

My niece and I decided to make one years ago. After multiple burns, much grumbling, several pieces of eaten candy and possibly a few tears along with an annoying whiny-pants who kept asking “can’t we quit now?” she finished up the wreath while I ate another piece of candy and we hung it on the front door. Neither one of us has been up to the challenge of repeating the process. But it did look great!

Traditional Green Wreath

I think my favorite wreath, though, is one of traditional mixed greens finished with a plaid bow. Boring? Maybe. But to me that circle of green with the bright plaid bow says “holidays” like few things can.

You can decorate your wreaths as elaborate or as plain as you like. Most wreaths look nice finished with a bow – how much easier can it be than that?

So go hang a wreath, pat yourself on the back for adding some holiday cheer outside your door and go eat a sugar cookie for me.

Happy Holiday Entertaining!

The Traditionalist

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Happy December!

Starting today running right through to Christmas, I will be posting a daily holiday tip, idea, how-to or recipe. You don’t want to miss out on any of the fun!

So today, in honor of Day 1 of our Holiday Hoopla, here is our first holiday tip.

Start your welcome to holiday guests at the front door. There is nothing quite like a cheery welcome mat to say “thank you for coming to our home” as your guest walks up to your door.

I like to buy a new one every year because let’s face it, no matter how much you scrub on these after a season out in the weather they just never look very spiffy when you unpack them the next year. I cheat and buy a couple on the after Christmas clearance sales.

If you live in an area where you are going to get a lot of snow, slush and gunk tracked in your house, I highly recommend having a sturdier rubber-type mat outside your front door with a fabric mat inside the door. This will help cut down on the mess.

What type of mat you put outside should reflect your personality or the feeling you want to convey. It can be traditional, elegant, whimsical. Find what speaks to you and run with it!

Here are a few ideas:

Traditional

 

Elegant

Fun and whimsical (I am digging the word whimsical today. See how many times you can work it into a conversation!).

 

Scenic

 

Contemporary

Check back tomorrow for ideas on wreaths!

Happy Entertaining and Happy Holidays!

Shanna

 

 

 

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Here we are in the final days before Christmas and everyone seems to be rushing around with last-minute lists of things to be done.

As you are compiling those lists, make one of things to be sure to have on hand through your holiday entertaining. If you are prepared, it makes entertaining so much more simple and enjoyable!

Some things to be sure you are well stocked on:

napkins

paper towels

toilet paper

facial tissues

aluminum foil

plastic wrap

garbage bags

baking soda (works well for so many things from neutralizing orders to shining the stainless faucets)

bleach wipes (you know someone is going to show up sick and these are a quick and handy way to keep things wiped down and as clean as possible)

milk and eggs

ice

club soda (mix it with any type of juice for automatic punch! Also great at removing stains, polishing jewelry and glass, and settling upset stomachs!)

munchies (people arrive hungry and get hungrier with all the great smells coming from the kitchen. Have an ample supply of munchies like veggie trays, crackers and cheese on hand.)

games (if children are in the mix, have a few easy to play games ready. Coloring books and crayons are also a great diversion.)

Last-minute gifts (keep a few generic gifts on hand wrapped and ready for giving. You never know when you are going to need one. It can be something simple like candles or lotion sets for women and candy, a book or a car-related item – think furry mitt with ice scraper attached – for the guys.)

Enjoy the time spent with loved ones who gather in your home and remember, it is all about the memories you make through time together.

Happy Holidays and Happy Entertaining!

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In case you missed it, we are officially into the holiday season which means ample opportunities to entertain and be entertained. If you have never hosted a gathering in your home before, don’t know the difference between and frying pan and a fondue pot, and have no idea where to begin, I have three little words for you: Keep It Simple!

Entertaining, particularly during the holiday season, should be as stress-free as possible and that is why keeping things simple is a must.

If you can’t cook or don’t have time, a great and easy rule of thumb is to serve something salty, something sweet and something to sip. Now, that doesn’t sound so hard, does it? You could serve something as simple as a  meat and cheese tray with crackers, some holiday cookies and hot chocolate.

If decorating isn’t your cup of tea, keep your focus on a few simple things that can bring a festive atmosphere to your home. Put a red or green cloth on your table. You can pick these up fairly inexpensively this time of year. If you are on a really tight budget, buy a flat red or green sheet at a discount store. No one will ever know the difference. Fill a basket or bowl with gold, silver, red or green Christmas balls or pinecones and use as a centerpiece. Purchase a few inexpensive poinsettias and place around your home. Hang a wreath on the door with a red bow, and you are set!

If you avoid entertaining because you hate to clean, get over it! Focus on cleaning just three rooms: the living room, the kitchen and the guest bathroom. Guests really aren’t going to be wandering through your home, so clean those three areas and call it good enough. Make sure the guest bathroom is shiny and spotless. This is one room that people will notice if it is less than pristine!

Light a few holiday scented candles or put a pan on low on the stove with a couple cups of water, some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. The house will have a warm, welcoming aroma as guests come in the door.

Pinecones and greenery are inexpensive (or free, depending on what is growing in your yard) and can quickly and easily be whipped into festive decorations. Just add some red ribbon and you are set!

Remember, the most important part of entertaining is to connect with your guests, be gracious and make them feel welcome in your home.

Happy Entertaining!

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