The holidays are upon us, no turning back now folks! If you are anything like we are, it is easy to get caught up in the expectations that come with this season. Here’s what’s on our list: finding the perfect gift, saying yes to all the festivities, house decorations galore, and hosting the greatest holiday party to date – that’s a heavy list of expectations. We are here to tell you that you don’t have to play into those (whether they are yours or somebody else’s’) expectations. The holiday season is about creating memories and being present with those you love, maybe even those you just like, regardless, it is not about how beautiful your table is set or if you have a hot cocoa bar for your guests. If you’re hosting that epic holiday party, don’t pull your hair out and forget to revel in the moment.
We want to give you a few simple tips on how to host a dinner party without the stress and expectations. There will be a little something for everybody, if you love to decorate, we have some suggestions, if decorating isn’t your jam, skip it! This isn’t an all or nothing list, this is a helpful guide to add a touch of the magic without going overboard.
Focus on the senses to add that little magic, we sometimes forget that there are five.
Pumpkins. No, not just at Halloween, pumpkins or gourds are simple additions. They add a pop of color, come in various sizes, and give the illusion that you tried hard. We like the illusion without the stress. Pine branches and cinnamon sticks tied in ribbon have the same effect. Mix them together, just keep it simple.
A table cloth shows that you have it together, such a simple step tidies the table. We recommend a fabric cloth over plastic, this plays into the sense of touch, plus the table cloth can be reused, that is a win-win.
Music is a life saver during awkward silences, it makes them less awkward. The music does not have to be holiday music; classical, jazz, the top 50 pop charts, anything works! Keep it loud enough that your guests hear more than the beat, but you’re not hosting a rave here. A little hum in the background is like a little hug from the air, it’s comforting.
Candles are lovely, and can add to the visual esthetic, but sometimes the smells can be a little too synthetic. Our suggestion is to grab some unscented candles to upgrade the visual and then brew your own smell on your stove. It could be as simple as throwing a couple of cinnamon sticks into a pot of boiling water or place cloves in oranges, think all natural ingredients, vanilla, anise, bay leaves, apples, it’ll have your whole house smelling delicious. The power of smell is strong, and it will be the first thing to greet your guests as they walk through the door.
Naturally at a dinner party there will be food. Playing with the taste buds can be exciting. An easy way to do this is focus on the different elements sweet, sour, salty, bitter. A Charcuterie board is a brilliant starter that can play with all four. It also allows for plenty of different options for the preferences in the room. It also doesn’t counteract a main dish, if one if being served.
We already mentioned a fabric table cloth. Using glass plates and cups over paper is another really simple way to step up the dinner party. Silverware over plastic is on the same list. If this is something you want to do, check the day before that you have enough, if you’re short, consider stopping at a thrift store to add to your collection. It doesn’t have to be new or fancy. Who wants to have to do dishes in the middle of the party or leave somebody hanging when it is time to serve the main course, just add to your table with an eclectic piece.
As we mentioned, this is not an all or nothing list. These are just a couple of helpful tips. Use one suggestion, or use none, this is your party and it can be however fancy or casual as you want it to be. Spend the time with your friends and family. A present host will outshine any of the preparation. Let your guests, and yourself, leave with memories of great company and a good time, if you can do that they won’t even remember the other stuff. Just knock the clutter off and enjoy your holidays. Deliver memories this year.