10 Tips for Hosting a Festive Holiday Dinner Party

Here are 10 tips for hosting a fresh & festive holiday dinner party so you can be the hostess with the mostest

1. Mark your calendar: It goes without saying that your holiday calendar should have the parties you are both hosting and attending. But there are endless other tasks that frequently leave us in a last minute panic that should also be noted to ensure that we make it through the holiday season fresh and festive. Be sure to allocate time for buying or making hostess gifts, grocery shopping, cleaning out the coat closet and most importantly taking the night off to re-charge between busy periods.

2. Rent what you need: Having limited dishes, tables, chairs, linens and stemware should not inhibit you from hosting a large festive event. As soon as you decide to host a large party, the first call you make should be to a party rental supply company to ensure they have everything on hand to help you pull off a fabulous event.

10 Tips for Hosting a Festive Holiday Dinner Party

From the #FreshFestive Pinterest Party Board

3. Stock your pantry: Ensure that you have a fully stocked pantry, and freezer as the party approaches to prevent last minute dashing from shop to shop. The added benefit of having a stocked pantry is being able to accommodate last minute dietary requests or be able to deliver a quick meal if unforeseen cooking disasters strike.

4. Revamp your home bar: Keep the party going with a fully stocked bar. Replace those seldom used, dusty bottles with new ones. While they do have a long shelf life, serving up a year old, half empty bottle of brandy will give your cocktail the antique effect that your guests won’t appreciate. Stock the bar with light and dark beer varieties, mixers, fresh garnishes, and especially the essentials for the signature cocktail you plan to serve

5. Clean out your fridge: Serving a menu full of fresh food means that most of the shopping needs to be done a day in advance of the party to ensure that it is served at its best, often taking up a great amount of space in an already packed fridge. The day before the party, clean out your fridge to make room for your fresh produce and those dishes that can be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.

6. Arrange a greeter: Hiring a butler for the night is an amazing treat, but not in everyone’s budget. Instead, hire a local college student to answer the door, hang up coats and then lend a hand in the kitchen when you need it.

Fresh and Festive7. Adorn your table: When considering your table décor, think about how you want your guests to feel when they sit down to enjoy the meal. Take inspiration from your menu to capture the heart of the festivities and stick with 2-3 colors to build your décor around. Mixing eclectic vintage pieces with modern dishes and accenting with natural holiday décor is a great way to capture the modern farm-house style with little to no cost.

8. Consider the conversation: Take all the stress over table conversation topics by defining a seating plan that allows everyone to hear the conversation and removes any hint of seating cliques. When defining your seating plan, ensure that single guests and those with hearing problems are placed in the center of the table, and split up couples and/or best friends to give everyone a chance to mingle at the dinner table.

9. Be prepared for the unexpected: A dinner party disaster is the last thing any host wants to prepare for, but something that even the most veteran of hosts has encountered. If the red wine reduction burns or the power fails, remember that a calm host who faces the trial with confidence and humor will give their guests a night they can both laugh about and enjoy without letting a few disastrous moments get in the way.

10. Know how to end a party: The side effect of hosting a fabulous party is that often times the guests are having too much fun to know when to leave. Changing the tempo of the music, blowing out the candles, transitioning from cocktails to coffee and wrapping up left overs is a sure fire way to signal that the party is over without insulting your guests

Get Inspired: visit the #FreshFestive Pinterest Party Board for more ideas

This article was written by Coryanne Ettiene as part of the Fresh & Festive booklet from California Berry Farms and used by permission. Coryanne Ettiene is a Kitchen Living Expert, TV host, columnist and blogger who believes that life is more delicious spent at the kitchen table with the ones you love. Passionate about fresh ingredients, signature cocktails and a well organized kitchen, Coryanne lives in Seattle WA with her husband, 3 children and 2 rather spoiled pooches.

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