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Holiday dinner: Food and entertaining ideas

Hosting a dinner party requires a bit of talent, balance and time management. We all wish we had a magic wand that could cook dinner, serve appetizers, create a music list, decorate and keep the conversation flowing.

Christmas dessert table

Photo credit: Glorious Treats

listPlan, plan, plan

You must first decide what food will be served and if there is a theme for the night. Write out a list of groceries and supplies, and then go through your house and kitchen, crossing off everything you already have. Next, write on your calendar when you will go shopping and what you will prepare and do each day up until the big night. You will have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when. This is a great strategy for avoiding a day filled with stress over too many things to do and last-minute runs to the grocery store.

Entertainment is key

If you know you will be mostly occupied in the kitchen that night, have family members, a significant other or best friends help with passing out drinks and hors d’oeuvres. You will feel less flustered about how the guests are while taking care of the food. Arrange for games and music either before or after dinner. Also, planning a secret gift exchange ahead of time helps reduce stress on the night of the exchange. Simply tell guests on the invitation to bring a gift under $10. It takes up a substantial amount of time and is sure to result in nonstop laughs.

Easy decor

Pick a color scheme that will tie the look and feel of the night together. You don’t need to do anything expensive. Some large ribbons tied around the back of each chair look expensive without actually breaking the bank. You can also find plenty of easy tutorials online for tissue paper pom-poms to hang from the ceiling and topiaries placed along the tabletop or mantle. Draping white holiday lights in doorways or as backdrops requires very little creativity and gives that wow factor. Keep it simple and clean.

What’s for dessert?

For dessert, have guests bring something sweet and instruct them to follow a specific color scheme. For example, green, red and white would be an obvious color scheme for those who celebrate Christmas. All you need to worry about is setting up a table and some lovely platters. With very little effort, you have a wonderful dessert table. No need to cut cakes — just serve on dishes and clean up.

Have guests help you create a beautiful dessert table to finish up a dinner party. See more of this Christmas dessert table above by Glorious Treats here.

More on holiday entertaining

Fun color schemes for holiday dining
Tips and tricks for holiday food presentation
Must-try holiday cookies

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