One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is entertaining at home. From cocktails and kid-friendly beverages to delectable food, scrumptious desserts, and inviting home decor, featured in the Inspirations & Celebrations’ Holiday Entertaining Guide are fun, festive party ideas that will delight and entertain both adults and children.
Holiday Entertaining Guide
When planning a holiday party, the first aspect to think about is the type of party you want to host. Will it be an adults-only, cocktail party or sit-down dinner? Or do you want to host a kid-friendly daytime party, complete with stimulating and engaging activities that keep your guests happily occupied while nibbling on treats? If that sounds like a festive way to celebrate the holidays, then a Gingerbread House Decorating Party is a fabulous way to go.
Holiday Entertaining – Decor
One of the best parts about hosting a party during this time of year is that your home will be especially beautiful, since it will be filled with holiday decor. From decorated Christmas trees to blooming fresh flowers, holiday decor instantly adds a warm, festive touch to any holiday party.
An easy, affordable way to beautify your dining table is to add a vase of vibrant colored flowers, enveloped by rustic-looking collection of twigs, branches, and pinecones. You can either take a walk through the woods to collect these elements, or simply swing by a local market or florist to buy this inexpensive foliage.
To minimize costs when making a floral arrangement, head to Safeway supermarket. Their gorgeous array of seasonal flowers are not only affordable, they also last longer (than many florists’ expensive arrangements). The arrangement featured here only cost $25, although it looks like a $100 arrangement. The secret to making a full, plentiful-looking arrangement is to incorporate inexpensive greenery (such as these tree branches) and filler flowers (like Daisies). Then add spotlight flowers (like Roses & Lilies) as the key focal points in the arrangement.
Holiday Entertaining – Beverages
Whenever you plan a party, think in terms of offering guests both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
To minimize costs and effort, stick with the basics: Champagne and Wine (serve both Red Wine and White Wine), Coffee, and Ice Water (which can be infused with cucumber slices for added flavor). For holiday parties, seasonal (non-alcoholic) beverages such as Hot Cocoa and Eggnog are great options to offer your guests as well (plus they make the little ones happy).
And, instead of stocking a full bar (which gets expensive), if you want to serve a Specialty Cocktail to your guests, opt to make one recipe in advance of the party. Here is a great holiday cocktail recipe created by Ian Adams of 15 Romolo in San Francisco:
- Suerte Blanco Tequila
- Manzanilla Sherry
- Spirit Works Sloe Gin
- Carnival Bitters
Holiday Entertaining – Food
When hosting a party (that you intend guests to walk around and mingle at), it’s best to serve bite-sized food, such as appetizers and mini sandwiches.
An assortment of cheeses (like Blue Cheese, Brie, and Smoked Cheddar) displayed with crackers, fresh fruit, meats (like sliced Salami), and mixed nuts is always a palette-pleaser. When selecting the cheeses, go for a variety of flavors – from salty to spicy. This type of food offering not only looks beautiful on a serving platter, it’s also easy for guests to enjoy (since it doesn’t require utensils to eat).
Relative to desserts, instead of featuring cakes or pies (which need to be sliced, served, and eaten with a fork), display cookies (like this assortment of Pepperidge Farms cookies) and home-made Cupcakes with sugary sprinkles and frosting on serving platters and pedestals.
Holiday Entertaining – Activities
From wreath-making to Gingerbread House decorating, holiday parties are a fun time to gather your friends and family to do creative activities. Not only does this give guests something to do (which keeps them mentally-stimulated and engaged), it also enables them to go home with a hand-made item that reminds them of the fun experience they had at your party.
With easy-to-use kits on the market (like this Create-A-Treat Gingerbread House Kit), it’s easy for both adults and kids to gather around a table and decorate Gingerbread Houses with frosting and candies. These adorable kits come with all the pre-baked house panels, icing (with attached tip), tray (for easy assembly and carrying), and assortment of colorful candies.
Within minutes, anyone can easily put together their Gingerbread House (allow about 15 minutes for the house to set before decorating). And just watch your guests have fun being creative and decorating their houses in the manner they enjoy.
In addition to having your guests leave the party with their beautiful Gingerbread Houses, a great party favor is a bag filled with cookie cutters. Not only will this encourage them to have fun baking holiday cookies through the season, it also will always remind them of how much fun they had at your holiday party.
Have fun this season celebrating the holidays with the people you love. Merry Christmas!
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