Home Tip Tuesday: Tips for Hosting a Christmas Party

Keep it simple for a stress-free party.

What’s your idea of the perfect Christmas party? Whether it’s an elegant sit-down dinner or cocktails with music that keeps everyone on their feet, the most important thing is that everyone has fun - including you. Minimizing your stress level will go a long way to making sure you and your guests enjoy a memorable ho-ho-holiday party this year.

Get Out of the Kitchen
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is sharing Christmas cheer. Plan a menu that doesn’t keep you chained to the stove. Items that can be made ahead and reheated quickly and those that can be served room temperature will give you more time to mingle. For example, a luxurious cheese platter with figs and dates makes a wonderful accompaniment for cocktails or an elegant dessert with absolutely no cooking. Other menu options might include hearty vegetable salads that can be made ahead, stuffed mushrooms or smoked seafood. 

Punch It Out
Try something both new and old to make your Christmas party special. A fortified punch flavored with seasonal spices is both a delicious and budget-friendly alternative to cocktails. Any combination of fruit juice and liquor can be called punch, but wassail may be the most well-known Christmas drink of all time. Recipes for traditional wassail include tempered egg meringue and roasted apples. Each cup is then garnished with a slice of toast. For a more modern version of wassail, combine 1 cup of robust red wine like zinfandel with 2 quarts hard apple cider,  1/2 cup brandy, 1 cup sugar and a variety of spices such as clove, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Warm but do not boil the punch to let the spices permeate. Serve warm or chilled in a punch bowl with slices of clove-studded oranges floating on top. 

Deck the Halls Simply
Of course you want your home to look festive, but loading up every table and every inch of floor space with Christmas tchotchkes may make guests feel crowded. Before the party take a quick sweep through your home for a last-minute de-clutter and make sure there are no extension cords people might trip on and that no decorations are blocking the flow of foot traffic. If you like to include real candles in your Christmas decor, make sure there are no open flames that might singe someone’s sleeve as they reach for a drink or bite to eat. 

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