With Halloween, Thanksgiving and other winter holidays around the corner, it’s time to prepare for entertaining friends and family at home again. We know what you’re thinking: Already? Isn’t October too early to be thinking about this? The truth is, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. If the thought of throwing a party stresses you out, then there’s no “right time” to master the art of hosting. No time is better than the present, as you can use our holiday hosting tips for any occasion all year round. And if you start reading and take a few notes, you could soon become the host with the most. Too much rhyming? We thought so too. Just keep reading to see what we suggest in order to make your celebration the greatest one so far.
One of the most important steps in preparing for a holiday party is planning out a menu. But choosing the food you want at your table is the easiest part, while the hardest part is the cooking. Tackling all of your appetizers, main dishes and desserts the day of only adds more stress to the process. How can you be expected to do it all? Some hosts often turn to a potluck-style party to eliminate this issue altogether. But if you prefer to have more control over the menu, the biggest of our holiday hosting tips is to cook ahead of time.
Whatever you can make in advance and throw into the oven to bake should be done days before the party. Freeze your soup and meat. Parcel out the foods you know will hold up well after reheating. Pro tip: toaster ovens can be a great way to reheat, as they save space in your oven and their air frying functions reduce sogginess. Consider buying ready-to-bake cookie dough or other pre-made dishes; not everything has to be made from scratch! In fact, if you’ve already decided to cook ahead of your party, you can plan a menu that works with this strategy in mind. If you do go this route, we also suggest cleaning out some space in your freezer the month before to ensure everything will fit.
Oven & Home Cleaning
Because cooking is one of the most vital parts of hosting a party, many consider using their self-cleaning function on their oven a day or two before. The reason? This may be a way to prepare your appliance for the big meal and make the cooking go smoother. In reality, this is a big no-no. While cleaning your oven beforehand is a great idea, the high-temperature self-cleaning process can go awry if it’s done incorrectly. Our skilled repair services team gets more calls than ever during the holiday season, many from those who experience an unfortunate oven break after attempting self-cleaning too close to the big meal. They recommend that you, instead, self-clean at the very beginning of the month of your party. This will give you time to test your oven with a thermometer and ensure it’s performing up to par.
With the oven taken care of, we have the rest of the house to clean. Don’t fool yourself; no one’s real, lived-in home looks like the magazines. Humans are messy. So first, consider the rooms you will for sure hang out in and close the others down. Don’t bother cleaning a space that you won’t use. If you have random papers or things lying around and don’t know where to put them, just find a closet or a drawer until the party is over. Attempting to organize and find places for everything beforehand is a waste with all you have to do. To prevent a huge mess by the time everyone leaves, we also recommend cleaning as you go. Rinse the dishes as guests finish eating. Use a handheld vacuum to take care of spills as they happen. Decluttering will only be easier if you’re continuously cleaning in small doses.
What To Do The Day Of
The first of the holiday hosting tips we have for creating a celebratory aesthetic is giving your home a nice smell. While your home will probably not be stinky after cleaning, a seasonal scent can make the atmosphere even cozier. You can achieve this through fresh flowers in a vase or your choice of candles or odor-removing sprays. Once your home is fragrant (but not too strong), you can provide ambient lighting. If you have nice lamps or a light switch dimmer, that will work just fine. But investing in string lights or pre-lit tree products from brands like Twinkly for your home will make your party all the more festive.
The last thing we recommend for party decor is pre-setting the table. While you may want to save yourself time and energy with plastic/paper plates and silverware, they may ruin the sophistication of your celebration. At Abt, we carry high-quality colored and patterned dinnerware that will not only enhance the look of your party but will add something special to your china collection for years to come. Feel free to buy a full set of plates and bowls or mix and match for a more eclectic look. Tip: if you can, try to make sure the plates you choose are dishwasher-safe for an easier cleaning experience.
Snacks & Drinks
While dinner is expected to be the “centerpiece” of any good party, there’s plenty of mingling time outside of the meal that may call for snacking. Don’t feel like whipping up appetizers? At the Abt Gourmet Shop, we have crowd-pleasing party snacks like olives, bar mixes, nuts and salsa. Place this food in multiple locations around your home so guests can roam and help themselves wherever they go. Along with small bites, consider your drink options as well. Our gourmet shop has plenty of pre-made cocktail mixers, or you can batch your own custom seasonal cocktail beforehand. One of the most important holiday hosting tips, though, is to make your guests feel included by providing drinks for everyone, especially those with sober lifestyles. If you invest in a beverage center or mini-fridge and put it in a common space, you can provide water, juice and soda free for grabbing the whole night.
After setting up ambient lighting and creating a scent for your home, the last of our holiday hosting tips is to play some music. If the holiday you’re celebrating has thematic music for the occasion, then playing that is the perfect way to set the mood. If not, any joyful, relaxing soundtrack will do. These days, there are so many audio solutions to turn to but ultimately, it’s up to you. Abt has a variety of home and wireless speakers, subwoofers, audio receivers, CD players and more to choose from. As holidays often bring about a lot of nostalgia and tradition, our suggestion is to kick it old school with a turntable. You can purchase a new record, thrift one or even have an older family member lend you their prized album for the night. That natural, staticky distortion from a turntable is a true blast from the past and almost impossible to replicate.
Looking for more suggestions and recommendations? Shop our curated gift list for entertainers, the perfect products for the people who love to host and throw a good party. There, you’ll find an assortment of cleaning appliances, coffee makers, audio solutions, game room goods and more. Start collecting now and make your holiday all the merrier.