‘Tis the season to be jolly but hosting a holiday party presents some common dilemmas. Consult our helpful guide and get ready to make merry in your home.
Hosting a holiday gathering? If you’re worried about what you’ll serve or the size of your space, relax. Here are tips to help you manage common party hosting issues and make your next holiday celebration fun for everyone (including you!).
Hosting Problem: My House Is Too Messy
Solution: Clean and Declutter Selectively
You don’t have to clean your entire house to throw a party. Thoroughly clean the fridge and freezer. Put away paperwork and unnecessary items that take up floor and counter space, wipe off surfaces, deep clean one bathroom and the kitchen, and make one entertaining area clean and cozy. Then shut the doors to the other rooms.
Bonus Pre-Party Cleaning Tip: Don’t self-clean your oven until after the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or damaging the control panel. This isn’t a risk you want to take before hosting a party, especially since it can be hard to find an oven technician during the holidays.
Related: 10 Easy Ways to Make a Cozy Home for the Holidays
Hosting Problem: Unsure What Type of Food to Serve
Solution: Keep the Menu Simple
Food is a significant part of any party, but it doesn’t need to be a major source of stress for you. The trick is to select as many make-ahead dishes as possible. It requires a little planning, but the more food you prep ahead, the better. Also, while it may be tempting to try your hand at fancy dishes to impress your guests, it’s safer to stick with recipes you know you can cook.
Bonus Party Menu Tip: Taking your guests’ dietary requirements into consideration makes them feel loved.
Related: 33 Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes
Hosting Problem: Keeping All Hot Dishes Warm Until It’s Time to Eat
Solution: Use That Warming Drawer
Having more dishes to prepare than appliances to cook them with is typical for most party hosts. Pop each dish in at a planned time so it will be ready to serve. Next, if your kitchen has a warming drawer, use it. A warming drawer is great for entertaining. It can keep food warm for hours while maintaining the flavor and quality.
Bonus Party Prep Tip: If you don’t have a warming drawer, the next best thing is the “keep warm” setting on your oven. Just be sure to cover your dishes so they don’t dry out and use the lowest heat possible.
Related: GE Appliance Warming Drawers
Hosting Problem: There’s Overcrowding in Key Areas
Solution: Take the Time to Plan Your Space
Hosting a holiday party can be a blast but trying to get food cooked or served while you dodge guests, not so much. And it seems like everyone wants to gather in the kitchen. Of course, the crowding is worse in a small kitchen. To reduce overcrowding in specific areas, set up food and beverage stations outside of the kitchen work zone. This gives guests a comfortable place to hang out that isn’t in your way.
Bonus Entertaining Design Tip: Planning a proper work triangle—the relationship between the sink, refrigerator, and stove—keeps workstations within reach and minimizes traffic in that area. This keeps guests out of your way while you prepare for the festivities.
Related: How to Create the Best Home Coffee Bar
Hosting Problem: Expecting Everything to Be Perfect
Solution: Manage Your Expectations
When you’re hosting a holiday party, it’s natural to want everything to be perfect, but perfect is a pretty high bar. Instead, focus on your intention for hosting the gathering in the first place—to reconnect and have fun. In the end, your guests won’t remember the food, playlist, or your decorations, but they will remember how you made them feel. Take the time to socialize with your loved ones.
Final Holiday Party Tip: Have fun!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Harrisburg Kitchen & Bath!