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{living well home & garden}

Entertain Like a Pro Holiday Entertaining Tips Without Anxiety

"Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." – William Arthur Ward

words by Becky Calvert

Entertaining over the holidays, when the family gets involved, can sometimes be nerve-wracking. However, it doesn’t need to be. With a little planning and imagination, entertaining can be a breeze, no matter the occasion. When planning the menu, resist the urge to try an elaborate meal full of dishes you’ve never made before. Stick to tried-and-true recipes. If you do want to try something new, do a trial run of it before the actual day to make yourself comfortable with the recipe. And don’t be afraid to delegate to your guests! When they ask what they can bring, have a plan for what you’d like others to be in charge of getting. Not only does it make your job easier, friends and family generally love to contribute. Accommodating a large group of guests always has its challenges, particularly with how much space it requires. If patching together tables, ensure they are all the same height. Otherwise, leave gaps between them to visually cue the height difference. To tie multiple tables of the same height together into one larger one, take a tip from hospitality professionals: layer overlapping tablecloths in different directions to create a cohesive unit. Having enough tableware to go around can be a challenge as well, but mixing and matching several patterns of tableware, glasses, silverware and napkins for an interesting

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décor can be charming. When mixing patterns, find a shared element, such as a color or floral pattern, and run with it. Don’t be afraid to mix old with new. Your life is busy, so plan ahead! Four to six weeks before your party, begin to map out what small tasks you can do each week to prepare for the event. For instance, clean the silver bowl of your grandmother’s you’d like to use and take an early assay of what you need for the party so you can shop well in advance. About a week prior to your party, set up the table(s) and chairs and detail clean the guest bathroom so it’s just an ease wipe down before the party starts. Other ways to prepare can include picking out the music you want to play and having a playlist ready, cook as many dishes in advance as possible and do what you know you can. Even if your effort is only 10–30 minutes each week, in over four–six weeks you can accomplish a lot! All that effort will make the day of the party far less stressful and as easy as opening the door with a relaxed and welcoming smile. Lastly, remember, when hosting for a holiday, it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be memorable, it just has to include a joyful and at-ease hostess who enjoys having friends and family over. If things don't go as perfectly as planned, let it go, and few will notice.

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM November 2017  

Volume 18 Issue 11

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM November 2017  

Volume 18 Issue 11