Tis the season for entertaining. Even when we are all rushed and exhausted, it is always nice to open our homes and invite our friends and family to come spend some time together. When Jordan was in high school and college, we hosted a dinner party each December for her best friends and their families. I spent a lot of time planning, preparing the menu, and decorating, but every minute was very much worth it. It was a special time for the girls to reconnect after going in separate directions for college. Even though we don’t host the big dinner anymore, I still like to host some sort of holiday shindig. However, since we have down-sized, entertaining is now much smaller and simpler. You don’t always have to plan a dinner party for holiday entertaining. We came up with five very special and less time-consuming ways to entertain this year.
Serving afternoon tea is one of my favorite ways to entertain. Making tea time a ritual is not something we Americans tend to do, but sitting down with some friends for a few Christmas cookies and a warm cup of tea is a nice way to spend some time together. Tea time can be as fancy and proper or as relaxed as you choose. You can serve an assortment of cookies, cakes, scones, and tea sandwiches, or you can just offer one variety of cookies presented on a pretty tray. Use your best dishes and a pretty teapot, and those cookies will taste really great. Either way you go, your guests will appreciate your effort.
WINE AND CHEESE PARTY
Hosting a wine and cheese party is another way to entertain over the holiday season while still keeping your sanity. All you need to do is have a few bottles of red and white wines opened and ready to serve. Buy a selection of cheeses and crackers and plate them up on a nice serving platter. The Barefoot Contessa recommends a soft cheese, a blue cheese, and a sharp cheese served along side a bunch or two of grapes. This is one party you can host without even turning on the stove. It can’t get much easier than that!!!
When we were first married, Mr. Right and I lived in Switzerland where he played professional basketball. Every Monday night we ate fondue, and we couldn’t get enough of it. When we came back to the states, we brought with us a Swiss fondue pot and forks so we could throw authentic fondue parties here. Our friends loved them because eating fondue was so European. That pot and those forks are long gone, but having a fondue party is still a great way to entertain. You can certainly host a cheese fondue party and buy your pre-made cheese fondue in a store like Sam’s or Costco, or you can make it from scratch. Just dip crusty bread that has been cut into cubes into it. However, you could also chop up meats and have your guests cook them in a communal pot located in the center of the table. Better yet, you can have a dessert party and serve chocolate fondue. Ahead of time be sure to cut up various fruits, and pre-made cakes or donuts. Serve some decaf, and you’ll have a wonderful time.
I am invited to a cookie exchange this week and am really looking forward to it. Kate, the hostess, has asked each of us to bring three dozen cookies. One dozen will be for sharing/eating at the exchange, and the other two dozen are for trading. She will have coffee and tea ready, and we will all enjoy each other’s company and then leave with a varied selection of cookies. Attending a cookie exchange is an easy way to have cookies for the holidays without spending hours with your head in the oven. Hosting a cookie exchange gives everyone a break in their day while meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
By making a breakfast casserole, a coffee cake, and an ambrosia salad ahead of time, a week-end brunch is another great way to host a low-stress holiday get-together. It can be a casual buffet on a Saturday morning, or you can host a sit-down brunch on a Sunday morning when your guests might dress a little fancier. Either way, it will be over by noon leaving plenty of time for you and your guests to still complete the week-end errands.
Hopefully, one of our suggestions is one you will take and make your own. Please let us know how it turns out. Thanks so much for stopping by. We’ll see you tomorrow.