I just threw an all-in dinner party for the first time in months and realized like since the pandemic and realized I was soooo rusty that I felt like I had forgotten the basics. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with pulling together the meal itself let alone having not truly pulled out all the stops for ages to wow the guests and turn up the fun.
There’re so many details to make the moment of festivities easier and fun for all and I’m sharing some tips that will make it great!
Between making recipe lists, assigning dishes to family or friends, shopping and cooking to make holiday themed cuisine, it is easy to lose the energy to add the seasonal decor to the mix. Martha Stewart will be jealous of these ideas to upgrade and enhance the decor adding a lot of flair to the festivities without adding too much more cost or work.
The amount and the type of lighting directly impacts mood, concentration, appetite and many other aspects of daily living. Adding some decorative lighting features is an easy way to create ambience and enhance the holidays. I swamp out a lot of our outdoor floods with amber and red color bulbs that warm up the scene instantly. The poinsettias pop in the red and yellow light… even during the day.
My favorite Edison string lights move from the backyard to the front yard to give it some festive cheer and brighten the entry. You can even frame a doorway or window with string lights as an upgraded tip.
The primary activity of the holidays is centered around the food and cheer, which makes the dining table the most central and important part of hosting a fun party. Even if it is easier to cover the table with platters of food and throw caution to the wind, subtle decor additions will signal how special this meal is compared to every other meal of the year.
More eco-friendly, luxurious feeling and heftier than paper napkins, nice linen napkins can add a touch of elegance and quality to the meal. Set the celebration apart from the rest of the year with holiday themed cocktail napkins like these Better Together simple and elegant ones that say exactly how you feel. I’m not one to swap into holiday themed dinner table linen napkins. Instead I go for a good quality linen/cotton white and accent the rest of the table in holiday tones. This is the napkin we use everyday and for entertaining. You can’t beat the price and quality for these 20 inch dinner napkins.
Holiday festivities are notorious for gathering everyone in family and friend groups, including the very same folks that don’t get along. A classy way to keep or separate certain people at the table is the use of name cards. It’s a fun and subtle way that instantly makes people feel that a place has been set especially for them. Particularly useful are the Mini Chalkboard name cards, which not only is reusable but only requires a piece of chalk to use. The Supla 20 Pcs Rustic Wood Place Card Holders adds a woodsy element but doesn’t take up a lot of space on an already packed tabletop. They also provide sturdy craft cutouts you can write names on to keep for the following holidays or toss out.
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Whenever I get over 40 guests, out with the good china or ceramic plates and in comes the disposable plates meant to impress. Unlike the flimsy, cheap discs that come to mind when you think of paper plates, newer, eco-friendly disposable plates are sturdier with a look and feel that’s upscale.
With so many things to prepare, cook and clean, there is no judgment when it comes to cutting a few corners so you stay sane and spend more time with your loved ones.
Not only will you feel less guilty throwing them away at the end of the night, but they also look far more elegant than your average paper plate. In fact, the Pure Palm plates, which are naturally biodegradable, look festive because they appear like polished & sanded wood plates. Though much lighter in weight than real wood, it definitely holds up when topped with heavy food without getting soggy or falling apart. Perfect for younger guests and limiting the number of plates to wash at the end of the night!
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There are many entertainment traditions such as turning on the football game or playing some tunes. There are simple tweaks or additions that can make the evening more fun and smooth. Whether it is keeping the peace between in-laws by making sure your drink stays yours to not having to overthink what song is playing in the next room, here are some wonderful ideas to bring more ease to your festivities.
There’s no worse feeling than grabbing a cup and taking a full swig only to realize that it was actually your Aunt Susan’s brandy, who just happened to complain about feeling under the weather.
Discussions on whether Aunt Susan should’ve stayed home or not aside, help keep your beverage yours by implementing some of these fun ideas.
If you’re in a casual, familial setting with tons of kids (or clumsy adults), the Wine Sip cups with name decals are a fun way to keep your drink yours. Each tumbler is insulated to keep your beverage cold, comes with a contour, splash proof lid to keep your beverage in the glass, and you can label it so there’s no mystery!
The Drink Marker is a simple way to keep track of your drinks with 6 different colors bands in the 24 pack. These stretchy, flexible bands can easily fit around different types of drinks: bottles, cups, wine glasses, etc.
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|Top Top||24 Pieces Drink Markers, Glass Cup Wine Glass Bottle Strip Tag Marker, Silicone Drink Markers Wine Glass Charms Markers Tags for Cups Dentification, Cocktail Glass Party Solution for Guest||Buy on Amazon|
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|Top Top||Name It Marker, Metallic Wine Glass Pens, Food Grade Ink in Fun Colors! Personalize Your Drinks Like Wine Charms , Set of 8||Buy on Amazon|
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For wine lovers, there’s unfortunate reality that all wines contain some level of sulfite. Though the jury is out, there are many circles that believe that sulfites are directly related to the headaches people get when drinking wine.
Cue the discovery of wine purifiers that claim to remove sulfites from your favorite reds and whites. The Ullo Wine Purifier is a reusable and elegant solution for purification.
It’s a sleek filter that sits right on top of the glass that both aerates and purifies as the wine gets poured into the glass beneath it.
A more cost effective way to handle ridding your wine of the impurities is the Drop It Wine Drops, which uses natural ingredients to reduce the headaches caused by tannins and sulfites.
|Top Top||Drop It Wine Drops, 2 Pack - Only Product to Naturally Remove Both Wine Sulfites and Wine Tannins - Can Eliminate Wine Headaches, Wine Allergies and Histamines in 20 Seconds - A Wine Wand Alternative||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||Ullo Wine Purifier with 4 Selective Sulfite Filters. Remove Sulfites, Restore Taste, Aerate, and Experience the Magic of Ullo Pure Wine.||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||PureWine Wand Purifier Filter Stick Removes Histamines and Sulfites - Reduces Wine Allergies & Eliminates Headaches - Drop It & Stir Aerates Restoring Taste & Purity - Pack of 8||Buy on Amazon|
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A great way to welcome guests into your home as well as make preparing, cooking and hosting more fun is great music playing throughout the day and evening.
If you’re too busy to download and upload music and curate playlists, try one of the top streaming services to get the tunes going throughout the day with minimal effort.
If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to Prime Music and the plethora of playlists created by mood, theme or genre. You can stream over 75 million songs and podcasts as well as create and customize your own playlist with Amazon Music Unlimited. Normally, $9.99 per month. Prime members can get the additional service for $7.99 per month right now.
Sure you could put your music library on shuffle or create a special playlist on repeat on iTunes, but there’s much more you can do with Apple Music. With their free Apple Radio feature, you can stream mainstream favorites such as NPR & iHeart Radio to local news stations. If you want an even more robust collection beyond your own library, new subscribers can get 3 months free of Apple Music unlimited, which expands your options to over 75 million songs plus your entire music library on 3 devices for $9.99/month. Another fun fact about Apple Music is that unlike other streaming services that are compiled with an algorithm, Apple Music playlists are actually created by Apple Music editors (read: human beings!).
Spotify is the world’s largest streaming service with over 75 million songs and podcasts for your consumption. It is free for those who don’t mind brief commercials in exchange for access to free music with limited functions. It starts as low as $9.99/month to switch to the premium service that gives you the capability of streaming music without commercials, creating customized playlists which you can share and make with other users, and listening to playlists offline. With plans starting as low as $9.99/month (or as low as $4.99 for students of accredited higher education institutions), the power is in your hands to use Spotify to curate a holiday playlist for you or to create one yourself with the help of your loved ones.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
How you get the music is up to you but adding a portable bluetooth speaker to the mix is an easy way to make sure everyone at your gathering can enjoy whatever you’re listening to with ease.
The obvious benefits to a bluetooth speaker is that there are no wired connection between the speakers and the music device, which means no cords to trip over and the ease of taking the speaker where the music needs to go!
The Anker Soundcore Bluetooth is waterproof (IPX5) with 24 hour battery life and sound quality that most reviewers raved about for the cost. The OontZ Angle 3, however, rises to the top because while it too boasts a long battery life, portability and waterproofing, it has 100 ft wireless range.
That means if you’re connecting the tv’s bluetooth from the living room to the speaker in the kitchen, you won’t have to miss a beat of the festivities when you have to prep or grab items in the kitchen.
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Wrapping Up the Night
One of the best parts of good holiday party is the leftovers and finding all the creative ways to repurpose dishes to last you the week. To keep things fresh and stored away safely, the products below help keep food and drinks beyond your average Tupperware.
A vacuum sealer is one of those items you never think you need until you’re faced with a mountain of leftovers, which you don’t want to waste nor have the refrigerator space. While you have the option of stuffing leftovers in your standard baggies and food containers, vacuum sealers enable you to keep leftovers fresh longer while saving you space.
Like its namesake, the FoodSaver VS2150 does just that with the ability of keeping food fresh 5x longer. Larger vacuum sealers such as the FoodSaver VS2150 come with the ability of customizing the size of the bags you want to vacuum seal as well as indicating whether it is a wet or dry item so you get the appropriate seal.
Because the device sucks out the excess air in the plastic bags provided, the food item you are storing actually takes up less physical space. If you are strapped for counter space, the FoodSaver 31161370 Cordless Sealer is a better option because it fits in the palm of your hands. Not only does it work with all FoodSaver bags and containers, but it seals up to 60 1-quart bags on a full 24 hour charge.
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A no-fuss item that should be an addition to every kitchen is Bee’s Wrap. A fun, easy, economical and eco-friendly take on cling wrap. While the plastic variety sticks to itself more than anything else and has to be thrown away after each use, this wrap (which is made in the USA with certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin) can be washed and reused for up to a year. Though not microwavable, it comes in 3 handy pre-cut sizes and seals with the heat of your hands around containers. Perfect for sealing food already plated so that you have to transfer to store.
Instead of pouring out cans and bottles of potentially expensive or tasty beverages, there are several options to preserve the carbonation or flavor of unfinished drinks.
Whether it is a can of pop or a bottle of the most expensive merlot, there are several options on the market to help preserve the taste and freshness of your beverage.
The Vacu-Vin comes with 4 wine stoppers that can be used instead of a cork. Once placed in the wine bottle, you can use the pump included to draw out the air in the bottle creating an airtight seal.
There is nothing more disappointing than cracking open a bottle of soda to find that it has gone flat. While larger bottles of soda tend to be more economical, the risk of not being able to finish the bottle before it goes flat is the dice not many want to roll.
The Jokari Keeper Pump & Pour, however, is an easy way to keep all standard 1-, 1-1/2-, and 2-liter soda bottles sparkling. It’s a small pump on top of bottle cap replacement that twists on the soda bottle. When you manually pump the top, it creates an airtight seal keeping the bottle fresh longer. Once screwed on the bottle, you can flip it open to pour with ease.
Contractor Garbage bags
Wildly enough, a solidly constructed trash bag makes all the difference in post-party clean up. There is nothing worse than grabbing the trash bag out of the trash can only to have food and drink juices drip through.
Contractor grade bags are meant to handle composting and moist trash making it a much safer bet. While most contractor bags are not scented because of their sturdiness, it tends to keep odor in the trash can until it is opened or ready to be taken out. A huge help if it is too cold or too late to take out the garbage after a long day of cooking and feasting.
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While you likely have old standbys and methods for getting ready and through any holiday, we hope there were additions in this article that makes your holiday easier and a lot more fun.
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