This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InspireWithCheese #CollectiveBias
Welcome to the holiday season, friends! Entertaining is one of the best aspects of the season. Sometimes, with all of the crazy to-do lists, gift buying, grocery shopping, and general merry making, I just want to sit down with the ladies and enjoy a bottle of wine while chatting about how insane the holidays have become. Who has the time, though? Well, a good holiday party shouldn’t add to your stress if you do just a bit of pre-planning. Today, I am sharing tips to host a beautiful and easy holiday party that everyone, especially the host, will enjoy.
Simple Holiday Menu
The first thing to decide, of course, is what kind of holiday party you would like to do. There are lots of options from full sit down feasts to informal get-togethers. Informal cocktail parties where guests mix and mingle without a specific timeline of events are generally less demanding of the hosts time during the party and simple hor’dourves are the secret weapon for hosting an easy holiday party. I recently threw a wine and cheese and this menu works with ease by pairing of wine with fruits, olives, peppers, and a simple charcuterie board. Recipe ideas for filling phyllo shells below. Another option is a cracker bar with a variety of toppings and dips. A Kaukauna® Smoky Bacon Cheese Ball completes the savory pairings. I personally like the Smoky Bacon but there are many varieties including Sharp Cheddar, Port Wine, and Parmesan Ranch. Lastly, I added simple brownies for those who have a sweet tooth. This entire spread was ready in less than 30 minutes, other than the brownies which I baked the day before.
If you need to keep dishes warm, use oven to table server ware rather than re-plating the food into cold dishes. For a fun twist, create a signature cocktail or a blind tasting test. In my most recent party, the wine bottle labels are covered for a blind taste testing. I kept to the white wine varieties and each bottle has a cheeky description to help guests make their selection. It’s also a good conversation starter and guests can vote on their favorite before the labels are revealed.
Decide on Decorations
The great thing about decorating for a holiday party is that you most likely already have decorations on hand. Use them to your advantage. Keep the decorations small and save space for food items. Mix and match food display items including cutting boards, plates, baskets, and cake stands or boxes for height. I like to lay out all of the plates ahead of time to make sure everything fits.
If you need to purchase decorations, have a good plan but also be flexible. For instance, I originally planned the use of light and fluffy faux snow across the table, but it was not to be. Being flexible meant I didn’t stress too much over it.
Some of the best holiday parties I have ever hosted or attended have included activities to whittle down the guests must-do holiday lists. Pair a necessary holiday season activity with the menu and decorations to get everyone in a festive and fun mood. Examples include:
- Wrapping Party
- Online Shopping Party – strong internet connection required
- Decorating Party
- Christmas Card Party – Create cards or Address them
Do a Test Run
Don’t wait until the day of the party to start setting up. Depending on the size and number of guests, setup a few days ahead of time. Except for the food itself, set out any table decorations, plates, dishes, and silverware, and even the holiday music if you have some. This should, hopefully save you from the stressful last-minute dash to the store. Also make sure you have somewhere for guests to store their coats and purses.
One of my favorite simple and savory appetizers is filling pre-baked phyllo shells with toppings. If you are super fancy, you can pipe the cheese into the phyllo shells. Use spreadable cheese such as Kaukauna® Spreadable Cheese Cups (in the deli section). Then add toppings such as freshly cooked bacon and jalapeno bits. I also dice up some ham and add a grape tomato cut in half as another option.
And, of course, the number one rule of hosting a holiday party is enjoy yourself! If you are having a good time, your guests will as well.
Looking to plan a fun holiday party at home to enjoy with your girlfriends? Head to Harris Teeter to grab the full menu including the Kaukauna® Cheese in cups, balls, or logs and the sausage in the deli area. Enjoy your delicious and beautiful party!
More Holiday Ideas: