Let’s get holiday ready
Holiday Entertaining Prep- Food and Mood Edition
As we digest the decadent meals and togetherness of Thanksgiving, our thoughts redirect to the details and planning for the marathon of holiday parties and gatherings ahead.
We are each likely to find ourselves as both host and guest throughout the upcoming month. With that in mind here are a few ideas that run the gamut between going big and simplifying:
Set the Stage
This one most definitely qualifies as going big.
How do we plan to deck the halls this holiday season? A company named Wallsauce invites us to go all out and bring the spirit of Christmas into our homes by decking the WALLS with peel and stick, removable wallpapers. All are customizable to your specific dimensions. Whether we create an entrance hall first impression, photo-op background or an entire room transformation, it is a fun idea, right? Wallsauce has more festive options to browse here- Wallsauce.com
Light the candles
The most skilled party planners, hosts, and hospitality designers know to incorporate as many senses as possible into the guest experience. Scent can make an impactful first impression and elevate the mood. Having checked out this year’s options, these two holiday scents remain the hard-to-beat classics:
THYMES Frasier Fir, for those who love the Christmas Tree scent
NEST Holiday Scented Classic Candle, which packs a punch with a more clove, cinnamon, vanilla amber blend
Set up the bar
You handle the drink offerings… leave it to New Orleans native and hostess with the mostess Alexa Pulitzer to design great quality party essentials. *Bonus- she is offering 30% off of all orders through November 28, no code needed. Stock up for yourself and throw in a few hostess gifts because you know you will need some. Shop here.
Set the Table
These stylish tartan placemats elegantly set the holiday mood – so you might want to make sure your menu lives up to them! 100% cotton, they come in rolls of 6, in green or red tartan.
Aren’t these Fornaseti-vibe Christmas crackers cool? They also have better prizes inside than what you might expect.
Plan your menus
Most everybody has their own holiday meal traditions, so I won’t go there. It’s the other meals to consider for family and friends… I highly recommend these two new releases for your menu planning.
And by the way, these books make excellent host gifts as well.
Ina Garten and Donna Hay have our menu planning covered with newly released cookbooks offering updated ways of dining at home in post-pandemic times. Trust me when I suggest that you order these for yourself AND for gifts. Both are inspiring, stunningly photographed, and accessible to any level of cooking expertise.
Ina Garten literally made my day with her latest cookbook, Go-To Dinners. Her post-pandemic reconsideration of menu planning simplifies without sacrificing. Garden’s mindset offers a delightful response to the inflationary times we find ourselves in, with clever ways to transform (planned and unplanned) leftovers into the next evening’s impressive meal or cocktail bites. Her recipes are consistently satisfying without skimping on flavor or style. See more here.
Donna Hay hit it over the fence with her latest, The Fast Five. First of all, she understands that we all have our go-to favorite types of food. Secondly, that many of us live in the comfort zone of putting a handful of recipes on repeat for meals at home. The Fast Five promises to keep us from getting stuck in a rut by offering five flavor-forward spin offs for each food category (ex: tacos, schnitzels, burgers, rice bowls, noodles, curries, dinner salads) AND for the sides or toppers to accompany each category. Hay packs a lot into this book, reimagining our favorites with fresh flavor combinations that will transform eating at home into an experience that is more like eating out at a great restaurant. See more here.
This next book is more specifically geared to the mixologist in your life or for a cocktail party host, offering a perspective that I had not considered- fancy cocktails paired with specific recipes to bring to the best in both. Author Andre Darlington is a long-time food writer with an elevated palette who invites us to consider that food pairing is not just for wine. His cocktail recipes include eye-catching presentation pointers and complementary recipes. This one is definitely for someone who is detail oriented and adventurous about their cocktails. See more here.
One last gift idea for the dog loving host:
If you prefer to use cookie cutters, King Arthur Flour has a few dog-approved mixes:
Wishing you safe and happy holidays!