Sleigh the Holidays
This magical season has several reasons to make us pull our hair out! Whether it is the exhausting party circuit, the cooking, the relatives, gift buying and giving, or in general, getting your home, life and kids all set for Christmas – we could all use a few tricks of the trade to get us through with a bit more ease and a lot less strife! YOUR Williamson staff members and hostess extraordinaires, put together a little list of their favorite ways to combat the holiday mania! Enjoy!
Hosting a holiday dinner? How to Make Others Feel Welcome at YOUR Table
By Amelia Rose Smith
There is something momentous about hosting a dinner party.
The first and of the utmost importance, is sending out invitations– paper, digital, text, etc. This will give you, as the host, a chance to inform guests of important information and communicate that you are expecting RSVPs. It is essential to know how many guests to expect and a polite gesture for guests to let you know if they will make it and if there will be a plus one or two.
Set the dress code. Whether fancy or casual, it is necessary to let guests know what to wear, so you are not receiving last-minute texts the day of. A fun twist: Get creative and assign a theme for the night; casino night, black tie, or PJs, whatever your prerogative; I am sure your guests will have fun dressing for the occasion.
At dinner parties, setting the mood is just as crucial as setting the table. That’s where music comes in– Curate some tunes to get the party going in a way that fits the night’s vibe. You can create a customized playlist or browse various platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube to find plenty of options!
Now it is time for the party to begin. Start the night by greeting everyone with a hug and a drink. Bubbly, Budweiser, Bacardi or water…whatever they prefer, be prepared to offer it up!
Appetizers are a must, and a charcuterie board is a beautiful option to satisfy all. Charcuterie boards consist of preserved foods, cured meats or pâtés, crackers or bread, and cheeses – A lovely choice for guests to munch on. You can elevate the experience by pairing wines and cheeses together – of course, this is only if you have ample time or desire.
You have been a guest, and whether you are apt to admit it or not, you know the daunting thought of, “Where do I sit?” So, save your guests the stress and create a seating arrangement.
You can customize their place setting with a name card and token – whether a note, a flower or a baked treat, it’s a kind gesture. Lastly, a seating arrangement shows you thought about whom they’d be best seated with and opens the door to new conversations with different people.
Bring out the fine china! Covered in dust and stuffed away, it is waiting for its moment to shine. So, pull it out, give it a rinse and plate the dinner you have prepared (or catered; we don’t judge!). It will elevate the table aesthetic and is a much better gesture than disposables. Don’t be afraid to host a gathering. Give yourself grace, look for inspiration and go for it! You will be surprised at how fulfilling it will be.
Making Life Easier During the Holidays
By Shelly Robertson Birdsong
You know that exhausting moment on December 19th when you crawl in from work after sitting in Christmas shopping mall traffic? And what to your wondering eyes should appear, but your neighbors, your husband’s golf buddy and your cousin Suzy – with six kids in tow! It’s the holidays – so spread some instant cheer with these tips to keep your home and kitchen, holiday guest-ready at a moment’s notice!
Keep the house clear of those pesky tree needles and stray mistletoe balls and invest in a cordless vacuum that you can keep charged and ready to pick up minor messes at a moment’s notice. Even the kids can manage it and help!
Buy five candles in varying holiday scents at the start of the season; Something Fir Tree, something Winter Snow, something Cranberry, and scatter them in your common area rooms. Keep lighters close by and accessible so as soon as the doorbell rings unexpectedly, you can light and create a festive and non-smelly atmosphere right away!
If you are really ahead of the game – form cookies and freeze the dough in ready-made balls to quickly pop in the oven. Or, make sure you buy three or four rolls of pre-made in your favorite holiday flavor – peanut butter, sugar or gingerbread, to slice and bake with no muss or fuss!
Speaking of pre-planning: keep on hand cans of frozen orange and lemon concentrate and brew up some tea by the gallon. This, too, can be kept frozen. Guests coming? Mix all that and add some fresh cranberries or sprigs of basil for color. It’s fabulous Tea Punch! This is also a great mixer for champagne or vodka if you need to pligh your guests with holiday “spirits.” It’s also a good idea, especially if you know you will entertain throughout the holidays or will have a party or two to attend yourself to just go ahead and buy a case of wine – mix red, white and champagne – and you are ready to serve or take a bottle as a hostess gift at any moment!
Speaking of hostess gifts: buy five to ten unique ornaments and get small gift bags, tissue paper and cards. Wrap it in advance and have it in the closet. Co-worker got you something, and you never even considered getting her a gift – there you go!
Buy holiday or festive cocktail napkins, plates and cups – keep them tucked away for that moment when you haven’t run the dishwasher in over a week. If you are lucky enough to have crystal or glass wine glasses – go ahead and pull that stuff out! And maybe think about polishing the silver at the beginning of November… Those trays and serving pieces can come in handy and make you uber Martha Stewart looking for at least four months before they need to be polished again!
And lastly, and really a year-round trick of the trade of hostessing – buy mixed nuts, multi-packs of crackers and keep hard cheeses and/or brie or specialty cheese on hand at all times and voila – add some olives, grapes, jam or other favorite crudité. You’ll have a ready-made and seemingly fancy and well-thought-out party tray! Especially if you serve it on a silver platter!