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Expert holiday entertaining tips: Stress less and cut costs

Eddy Rocq began his culinary career in the heart of France at the Mederic Culinary School of Paris. He has since embarked on a journey that’s yielded a list of esteemed awards, including placing first at the world-renowned French pastry ...

Holiday entertaining cheat sheet

Want to approach your holiday gatherings like a pro? Be it your first time inviting holiday guests into your home or your annual holiday soiree, here are a few holiday entertaining tips and tricks that will help you stress less and cut costs.

Christmas Decor

Holiday décorating tips to stylishly set the festive mood

I've learned that with decorating, less is more, even for extravagant events. My advice for less experienced party planners is to keep it simple and tasteful. You can add really nice touches that set the mood without the commotion, frills or expense.

Simple holiday decorating ideas

  1. Use plenty of white candles. They cast a room in warm and romantic lighting and set a festive but sophisticated mood.
  2. Keep it simple and trendy with no more than 2 to 3 main colors in your event. Green and red are typical and expected, but purple and white is up to date, relevant to the season and pleasantly surprising. A white Christmas is also very classy and popular this year.
  3. To make beautiful center pieces, you can use vases with underwater lights or floating candles. You can also use fresh fruit and walnuts, or chestnuts. These are so easy to obtain and add a nice, clean and seasonal touch.
  4. Fill your house with beautiful seasonal smells. A nice trick is to buy your Christmas tree close to your party date. That way the evergreen smell is at its peak potency and freshness. There's nothing like the smell of fresh pine, and no fragrance compares to the real thing.

Holiday food and entertaining tips

  1. These days it's more popular to have just a few appetizers rather than a huge buffet. That way you can enjoy guests without being stuck in kitchen the whole time.
  2. Plan ahead and do all the prepping the day before. There is so much less mess that way.
  3. Prep, don't reheat. Get your dishes to the point where they just need to be placed into the oven, or cooked the day of. We do lots of catering, and so we know that it's impossible to feed a lot of people by reserving all the cooking and prepping for the day of the event.
  4. Offer fresh baked cookies. To make your house feel more like the holidays, bake some cookies the night of the event or at least the day of. There is nothing like fresh cinnamon and cookies. The aroma is delicious and cozy, and carries all sorts of pleasant associations that guests will enjoy. Fresh cinnamon sugar cookies do the trick and. Guests will love the smell – and the taste!

Holiday cocktails

  1. Just stick with a couple cocktails. You want to keep down the amount the work - if have a full bar, then you'll be behind it all night.
  2. Serve punch. People are actually coming back to punch. I suggest a festive fall fruit sangria. This way people can then serve themselves. It's better to make it the day before to have all flavors meld.
  3. Warm up the wine. Hot wine is also very popular. This type of drink is served in a place called Vin Chaud in the French Alps. It's in the principal of hot chocolate, but with alcohol. It's a very cozy drink as it's nice to have hot glass of red wine when it's cold out. You can fully garnish with the likes of cinnamon sticks and cranberries. You can even put walnuts shells on table to make the whole presentation look wintery

Hot wine recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart red wine
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar or crystal sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. Pour the wine and cognac in a pot over medium heat. Flambee, if desired, then stop the flame.
  2. Add sugar, zest, cloves, and cinnamon. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste and add water, if necessary.

More budget-friendly holiday tips

Affordable holiday celebrations with Robert Verdi

Its almost holiday time again, and that means all sorts of festive events are around the corner. For anyone who dares to host one for themselves, it can be a daunting task. But dont panic, because entertaining expert Robert Verdi, is using his fashion expertise to show us how to throw the ultimate stylish soiree without breaking the bank.

More holiday décor and style

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