“Never let ’em see you sweat. Guests feel guilty if they think you’ve worked too hard to make dinner for them—which of course you have!” – Ina Garten
Entertaining is hard work. Luckily, with some planning and a little festive magic you can be a whiz at holiday hosting.
- Signature drinks make everything special. Serve a special cocktail to really impress your guests. Options include mulled wine, spiked eggnog or your own punch concoction.
- Plan ahead. Don’t leave everything until your guests arrive. Figure out all the important details in advance, like how long you’ll need to thaw and cook your turkey. Or skip the thawing altogether with a cook from frozen whole turkey. Once you’ve got your holiday meal hero prepped and ready to go, everything else will fall into place. You can also prepare a lot of side dishes and desserts a day or two ahead. Consider washing your veggies and peeling your potatoes and carrots before the big day arrives (just remember to store them in water overnight). For more on planning ahead, check this out.
- Set your table the day before. Tackle this task early to make it an enjoyable activity rather than a stressful necessity. Give yourself plenty of time to clean and iron your festive linens and find the perfect napkins. Everyone will be impressed by the thought you put into setting your table.
- Create a playlist. Music will make everyone feel at ease. Stream holiday classics all night to charm even your most grinch-like guests.
- Stock up on games. Before you host for the holidays, make sure you have a good selection of games. This is a great way for everyone to bond after dinner, and ensures the evening stays lively from start to finish.
- Send a gift home. Give your guests something to remember the night by. This could be homemade baking, a festive candle, or an inexpensive ornament.
- Make no apologies. As the great Julia Child once said, “no matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” Once you’ve put in all that hard work try to relax and enjoy yourself. That way you can focus on your guests and spending time with them. That’s really what matters most.
Thankfully, you’ve got this. Thankfully, there’s Butterball.