Hosting a holiday get-together can be an overwhelming venture, especially if you’ve never done it before. To ease your nerves, we’ve put together our best tips for having all your friends and family over – just add your favourite wine and you’re all set!
PLAN YOUR MENU
The holidays are all about gathering with friends and family to eat good food – so that’s the perfect place to start. Once you’ve established the number of guests you’ll be hosting, you can start to plan what to feed them. Prioritize dishes that you really want to make for your guests, and build out from there. Make sure to stick with dishes you’re comfortable wish, or try them out ahead of time to avoid any day-of disasters. And always be sure to cook more food than you think you’ll need; there’s nothing worse than guests leaving hungry.
Bonus tip: don’t make something for the first time the day you’re hosting 20 people.
MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS UP TO PAR
No matter how meticulously you plan your menu, you need the tools to execute it. If you don’t think your oven is up to the job, it’s time to invest in a new one. First things first, decide what type of oven works best for you: gas range, electric, or induction. From there, it all comes down to style preference. If you’re dealing with a limited amount of space, wall ovens paired with a cooktop is a fantastic way to save space and modernize your kitchen.
PREP IN ADVANCE
Dedicate the day before your event to prep. Doing as much as you can in advance mitigates stress levels for the day of the event. Tasks like ensuring all your platters and dinnerware are clean, chopping up vegetables, and making pie crusts don’t need to be done right before guests arrive, so get these jobs out of the way early. While you’re sipping some wine instead of working up a sweat in the kitchen, you’ll thank yourself for the prep work you did early.
SET THE MOOD AND THE TABLE
Setting the table is something you can do well in advance of your guests’ arrival, too. Before your event, make sure you have enough plates and sets of cutlery, steam your tablecloth, and order your holiday florals well in advance. And of course, make sure your table and chairs are in hosting shape! Nothing will dampen the mood of your party like the table collapsing under the weight of your turkey. If your dining set has seen better days, or it’s too small, you might want to consider a new one. Nothing is worse than bumping elbows with your table mate all night because the host crammed all the guests around a small table. If you’re hosting often, it may be time to consider table extensions or a bigger set.
Just before your guests arrive, create a warm and inviting space by lighting some candles, laying out snacks and drinks, and choosing a playlist that fits the mood.
NAIL YOUR MAIN DISH
Start by cooking the star of the show, as it will typically take the longest and you don’t want your guests waiting hours for the food to be ready, a la Jan Levinson and Michael Scott in the “Dinner Party” episode of The Office. While it’s in the oven, you can focus on the sides.
Despite what every holiday movie will have you believe, the holidays are supposed to be fun and not too stressful. Relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones – and indulge in too much dessert.
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Whether you’re looking to create another space for your family to gather or a room to escape the world in, a home theatre will do the trick. Plus, we hear they also make a great spot for an afternoon nap.
Do you have a home theatre? Tag us using #DufresneStyle - we’d love to see it!