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Home : Tips & Techniques : Holiday Entertaining 101

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Holiday Entertaining 101

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - The holiday season is the time of year filled with entertaining, parties and social gatherings. Whether planning a small, intimate gathering or a large family affair, it is often the host's attention to detail that impresses guests the most. Creating a festive atmosphere, planning ahead and preparing delicious dishes will ensure guests have a memorable experience. This holiday season, follow these simple tips, guaranteed to delight visitors and simplify holiday entertaining.

Create Atmosphere

  • Limit the size of the gathering, consider several intimate parties rather than a large open house
  • Add distinctive touches that guests will remember. Creative centre pieces, colourful drinks, special serving dishes and bright napkins will all assist in creating an inviting atmosphere
  • Create ambience with candles and festive music or string indoor lights or ribbon around house plants and stairways
  • Treat guests to small favours that they can take home as mementos of the evening (i.e. a small decorative candle or colourful ornament)

    Be Prepared

  • Consider hiring someone to assist with set-up and clean-up during the event. A neighbourhood teen or college student would be grateful for the extra income around the holidays
  • Develop a check list and timeline of things to do before the event to ensure that party elements are well-organized
  • Prepare food, beverages, décor the day before so you can spend more time with guests
  • Set up an area where guests can fix their own drinks. Use a cooler with ice to keep beverages chilled and free up the refrigerator

    Keep Food Simple and Beautiful

  • Plan a combination of hot and cold foods to decrease preparation time
  • Prepare popular, tasty appetizers that are visually pleasing such as Knorr's Classic Spinach Dip in a pumpernickel bread bowl
  • Hors d'oeuvres provide guests with a sampling of numerous cuisines and offer variety. Pay special attention to offer meatless and non-dairy edibles for guests with religious, vegetarian and lactose-intolerant restrictions


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