Hosting a holiday party? Let us help you with some of the questions we get!
Dear Michele: I love the idea of having a sit down, intimate dinner for my holiday party but I’m worried that I don’t have the space or talent to pull it off. What would you suggest?
Michele: Holiday dinner parties are some of my favorites and a sit down plated dinner can be exquisite! If you really want that feel, there are definitely a few things to consider. I also have ideas that could work to get the feel you want without the stress!
– Your guest count. Less people equals easier!
– Your help. Is it just you making dinner or you and your significant other? Then you will more than likely need to enlist help. You do want to enjoy entertaining, correct?!
– Your budget. Flexible budget? Great! You can find help and great food without having to do it yourself. Slimmer budget? No worries! Detail out different options for the entire meal. For example, a home cooked vegan meal to help the world can come across extra special and offer you less expense.
– Make it family style! If you’re not up for plating everyone’s dinner while keeping it hot, forgo the trouble of presenting a perfect plate and offer dinner family style on beautiful holiday platters that you hold for each guest while they serve themselves. Guests love to be able to take what they want many times and you can always save that stunning plate for dessert.
– Catering! Central Florida has some of the most wonderful caterers and many can work with a variety of budgets. Imagine having scrumptious food already prepared for you while you just concentrate on how it will be presented. Easy and delicious! Email me if you have questions on which caterers may be best for your dinner!
– Ask for help! Still stuck on the idea of doing it all yourself? Find a co-worker, friend, family member or even a high school student in the neighborhood looking for a little holiday spending money that you can enlist for help for a few hours. Let them stay in the kitchen, help clear the table, and even clean the dishes so you can relax and enjoy!
Here’s to a fabulous holiday dinner! Oh, and if you have an extra seat, I’d love to join :)!
Dear Michele: I have a variety of people attending my holiday party that don’t know each other. How can I keep it welcoming and fun for people to get to know each other?
Michele: Great question! As a host, it’s important to be mindful of the guests who will be attending and their personality characteristics. Here are a few tips we have seen work well:
– The Right Introduction! Rather than allowing guests to introduce themselves (as sometimes that doesn’t happen), as a host/hostess you may want to introduce your guests to each other, noting any commonalities or interesting facts. For example, if both of your guests love cooking, a brief suggestion of “You two will have to swap your favorite cook book names!” can help them get a conversation going.
Just remember…it’s not your job to keep them conversing. Not everyone will hit it off every time and that’s okay! However, a polite introduction can go a long way.
– Plan one interactive activity. Yes, I know you may roll your eyes at the thought of a game and no, I don’t mean one where everyone wears a red blinking nose. Consider something fun and easy!
Our favorite? Holiday charades! First, it won’t cost you a thing other than printing out songs, movies, characters, etc. that are holiday related. Second, even if not all of your guests want to participate, it’s fun for everyone to watch. And if you entice them with a cute prize, you may have more participants that you thought!
– Use Name Creative Name Tags! Name tags can make a party feel stuffy but how else do you remember everyone’s name? Think about giving everyone unique reindeer or holiday themed “nicknames” for the night! Vanilla Cupcake, Twinkle Toes, Mittens, and Vixen are much more fun to call people!
Dear Michele: I’m hosting a holiday party with appetizers and a buffet style dinner. What’s a good timeline for a holiday party like this?
Michele: Good for you for planning ahead! Having a foundational timeline can take the stress off and give you a great idea of when to do what.
Even if you don’t stick to your timeline perfectly (and you probably won’t!), just having one is a fantastic tool.
Here is a sample timeline for a holiday buffet dinner party:
5:00pm – 6:30pm Guests arrive, cocktails and appetizers served
6:30pm Toast from the host/hostess
6:40pm Dinner Served
7:30pm Dinner is cleared, Entertainment begins (games, musicians, etc.!)
8:00pm Dessert Bar is Open
10:00pm Entertainment ends, Cordials and Coffee may be served to wrap up the evening
This isn’t a must-follow-exactly timeline, but can give you a great idea of when to serve, how long for entertainment, and how to close the evening. Print yours out and place it where you can see it. Oh, and ENJOY!
Are you planning a holiday event in Orlando and need help with additional ideas, a menu, and entertainment to fit within your budget? Contact me and we’ll make sure your party is one to be remembered this holiday season!