I love entertaining. Few things make me as happy as my home filled with people I love. Every year I host a Christmas party that I call “A Mistletoe & Holly Affair” after one if my favorite Rat Pack songs. I insist on cocktail attire because it makes it that much more festive. I play Christmas music, serve eggnog, and thoroughly enjoy myself. Here’s how.
1 Month Ahead
Send out invitations. December is a busy time so I like to give plenty of notice. My party was on the first Friday of December starting at 6 pm to accommodate my friends with kiddos. I invited about 40 guests.
1 Week Ahead
1) Decorate your house and trim your tree. There’s nothing worse than decoration overload so decorate just enough to set the mood. A few Christmas touches in the guest bathroom will make you look like a true entertaining pro. I trimmed some branches from my crepe myrtles, spray painted them silver, and dusted them with glitter for a wintery statement.
2) Plan your menu, including when each dish needs to be made. I had four savory and four sweet dishes for which I was responsible. If friends ask what they can bring, take them up on their offer and enlist their help!
Try-And-Beat-It Spinach Dip
Cranberry Brie Bites
White Chocolate Mousse
Buche de Noel
Melting Mint Brownies
White Chocolate Lemon Bars
Plus an assortment of olives, nuts, and candies.
Two Days Ahead
1) Buy your groceries and make whatever can be made early. I made the filling for the tortilla rolls and mixed together the meatballs.
2) Set your buffet table. Take heights into consideration. I used a mix of decorative, low plates, and high serving pieces. Unsecured candles add a nice touch. This year I dusted cut branches from my Christmas tree with silver glitter to set under the Buche de Noel, which I thought added a festive touch. I always set out the dishes I plan on using, then pop a note on each with the name of the dish so I don’t forget what it’s for.
1 Day Ahead
1) Check baking off your list. I powered through making all four desserts by 3 pm!
2) Make sure music is covered. I have Uverse so I tested out their Christmas channel and found it quite enjoyable.
3) Tidy your house.
1) Finish as many tasks in the kitchen as early as you can.
2) Set out cups, plates, napkins.
3) Get yourself party-ready two hours before the start time so you don’t run into that, “That was the doorbell and my hair is in curlers!” panic.
4) Enlist help from a few key people. My parents and best friend came early to assist with prep because no matter how well you plan, you can’t avoid needing to cook – or at least warm – dishes right before the party. Mom and Dad brought shrimp, artichoke squares, and stuffed tomatoes.
Nicole brought chocolate crinkle cookies.
6) Turn on holiday music.
7) Set food out. (Don’t forget to thank past you for the helpful reminder cards all over the table!)
8) Set out ice in ice bucket. (Pro tip: freeze a few cranberries in ice trays for a cheerful holiday surprise.)
9) Set out drinks last, since you want them cold. I served red and white wine, Italian soda, sparkling water, and self-spike eggnog.
10) Pop on your heels and have a fabulous time!
The Rose Table