So you’re having a holiday at your house this year. You are excited to host but between your children’s schedules, work, taking care of an elderly parent and general life commitments how are you going to purchase the food and drinks, create the meal, set the table(s), and look happy and relaxed when your guests arrive? Let’s face it, it’s challenging enough to cook dinner on a weeknight, how are you going to pull off a holiday with relatives and friends?
Here are some tips from H2H to help you through:
Lists, lists, lists – whether on your phone or paper start your lists as soon as possible.
List 1: The Guests. How many will be joining you? Knowing the number of guests will help you figure out how much food you will need to purchase, and how many tables and chairs you will need.
List 2: The Menu. Put together the foods you think will make everyone the most happy. Don’t be shy about asking people to bring food or drinks. Maybe they have an amazing family sweet potato recipe or pecan pie recipe. Not having to worry about making all the food yourself is extremely helpful. If you don’t have time to cook yourself, (or just dislike cooking) ask your friends for local recommendations on where to buy tasty prepared foods especially if some of your guests have dietary restrictions. Parenting groups on Facebook is also a good resource for recommendations.
List 3: Food shopping. Once you have determined what you will be cooking, make your shopping lists. We usually make 2 lists. One for things you can purchase in advance such as canned goods, condiments, and baking products; and one for things that you need to purchase closer to the holiday such as produce, meats and dairy. Try to get what you can into your home sooner than later. This will help alleviate long lines at the food market as you get closer to the holiday.
Check your menu. What can be made in advance? Some foods such as certain breads and casseroles can be made and frozen in advance.
Set the table(s). The weekend before (or sooner) arrange your room(s). Set your tables in advance. Take out your linens, napkins, place-mats, whatever you are using. Items like decorations and centerpieces are not used frequently they should be stored in remote areas of your space like the attic or basement. If you have certain centerpieces you only use for entertaining, don’t think of them as centerpieces but as the category “entertaining.”
Guest Rooms. If you have any guest rooms or bonus areas in your home, take the time to get them ready. During the year these spaces tend to become “make it go away” areas. Even if you don’t have family or friends spending the night, chances are someone will want to lie down at some point. Taking the time to organize now will save you from throwing everything in the closet and drawers. Eventually, the holiday season will end and you want to be able to find everything.
Is everything clean? Do you need to replace anything? If you are using china or crystal does it need to be washed? If you are using paper products what do you need to purchase? Do you need extra chairs? Do you use different utensils or serving dishes at the holidays? Do you need to buy new candles? By setting up in advance it gives you time to make sure everything is in good shape and now you can focus on the delicious food and drinks.
Make a quick trip to the liquor store. Don’t wait till the last minute. Hit up the liquor store the weekend before your event. You don’t want to be searching for the perfect wine to pair with turkey the day before Thanksgiving when you should be home cooking!
Take out anything frozen. A day or two before remember to take out anything you froze to de-thaw in time.
Food prep the night before. Is there any food you can clean, chop, dice, the night before? If so, do it. This will be a huge time saver as you are cooking the next day.
Start your cooking. After a good night’s sleep get up early to start your cooking. Try to do one recipe at a time. Cooking too many things at once is a recipe for disaster. Keep your menu list nearby. Check it off after each dish is made. Ask family members to help, remember holidays are a family affair.
Make a list of when to put things in the oven to heat up. Keep a list by the oven of what temperature to have your oven on and what time to put things in. How many times have you finished a holiday only to remember you forgot something?
Relax and smile. -All the food is ready, the drinks are out, the table is set. Light the candles and enjoy your family and friends!
At H2H we can help you organize your home and get you holiday ready. Contact us Today!