Celebrate the Holidays Through Entertaining!


Well folks, I think it’s safe to say the holidays are upon us and it’s time to prepare to celebrate with loved ones, even though it hasn’t snowed here yet. Usually Portland only gets rain this time of year, and coming from a place where it always snows has been kind of a shock to my system. Perhaps this adds to my lack of decking of the halls.

There are a few things that always bring me out of my funk, which I talked about in this post, and one thing that can always bring a smile to my face is throwing a great holiday party. Ok, I’m never one to turn down ANY party. Why? Because I love delicious food and great company. However, with a job that has me working at home and trying to mother my three-year-old at the same time makes it nearly impossible to add anything extra into the schedule, like making a million appetizers and cleaning the house while still feeding my family and keeping myself looking presentable. It’s hard to get everything done! But I’ve found ways to cheat the system that don’t take time away from my family and still keep me (somewhat) sane. Here are my tips on how I am able to entertain through the holidays:

Sugar Cookies final 1

1. Cook whatever you can in advance. If you’re planning a party, choose appetizers and main courses that still taste great after being reheated. After my daughter is asleep, I will throw a meal together in the slow cooker and let it cook through the night. That way, by morning, you have a dinner done, or the main course cooked for your party. You can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it . For my appetizers, I take some help from the store and choose simple items I only need to arrange on a platter. Nice salamis, cheeses, crackers, olives, grapes and nuts makes for simple appetizers that everyone loves. For dessert, you could pick up a bunch of holiday treats from a bakery and don’t forget coffee. It makes for a great ending to an evening!

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms Final 2

2. Assign your guests specific things to bring. A lot of times when you invite close friends over for a party, they will more likely than not ask if they can bring anything or do anything to help. Take them up on the offer and send out assignments. Instead of saying “bring an appetizer,” you could say “bring those famous sweet-and-sour meatballs you made for Easter!” or something along those lines. Being specific makes it easier to plan what you’re going to make for the party. That way you will know exactly what you’re going to get and how your party is going to come together.

3. The night before, count place settings, clean glasses, set out your tablecloth and arrange the serving platters. You’d be surprised at how much time you can save just by doing these few little things in advance.
4. Oh, and while you’re at it, clean that bathroom sink and push the vacuum around for a few minutes. A 10-minute power cleaning session can really make a difference!
5. If you have kids, go the extra mile and get a babysitter to keep the kids quiet upstairs for before, during and after the party. Set them up with pizza, popcorn and a movie! That should limit the interruptions and definitely keep them quiet.


6. Don’t have a rigid schedule. People can be late, dinner might take longer to eat, your guests might want to talk a little longer then you had planned. All these things are no big deal and you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. The worst thing for a guest is to feel pressure from their frazzled host! Just plan accordingly! When in doubt, take a deep breath and say “oh well.” I promise it’s not the end of the world.

At the end of the day, you want to have a good time at your own party! With these tips, you should be well on your way to stellar hostess status!
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Answer the following question in the comments below – “What do you like best about spending time with your family during the holidays?

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Good Luck and Happy Holidays!
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274 Responses to “Celebrate the Holidays Through Entertaining!”

  1. #
    Patti — December 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Spending the holidays with family & friends makes memories that will last a lifetime


  2. #
    Erin — December 10, 2012 at 4:28 am

    I love making Christmas cookies with my mom- we make them every year on December 22, her birthday.


  3. #
    Brigette — December 10, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I love making cookies with my kids to deliver to the neighbors.


  4. #
    Megan — December 10, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Rehashing old family drama – I mean ‘memories.’ :)


  5. #
    Cindi — December 10, 2012 at 5:13 am

    All of it. I’ve especially enjoyed starting new traditions with my two-year-old, who is really excited about everything this year – the advent calendar, the cookies, the Christmas cartoons, learning the story of Jesus’ birth.


  6. #
    Kristi h — December 10, 2012 at 5:34 am

    My favorite is setting up the tree.


  7. #
    Heather — December 10, 2012 at 5:38 am

    I love finding and giving the perfect gifts to my family!


  8. #
    Anna — December 10, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I enjoy listening to Christmas music as my family plays games together.


  9. #
    Kaysey C. — December 10, 2012 at 5:55 am

    All of the snuggles I get from my kiddos!


  10. #
    Maggie — December 10, 2012 at 6:00 am

    That there are usually enough of us around during the festivities that you don’t have to spend the whole time with that one relative you don’t much care for!


  11. #
    Whitney — December 10, 2012 at 6:05 am

    My husband travels 50-75% of the year. Christmas is our day together. All I want for Christmas is time with him – and he is able to give it for a few days!


  12. #
    Heather Bonner — December 10, 2012 at 6:06 am

    The food!


  13. #
    Heather — December 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I love traditions, both old and new!


  14. #
    Olivia @ Liv Lives Life — December 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I love keeping up old traditions and building new memories together!


  15. #
    Jessica — December 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I love how my brothers and I turn into kids again when we are all together!


  16. #
    Aviva I — December 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Eating. Definitely the eating.


  17. #
    KrissyW — December 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Love cooking/baking, then sitting in front of the tree watching christmas movies while eating the goodies!!!


  18. #
    Cara — December 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I love this time of year with my children! I love having hot cocoa with them and sitting in front of the Christmas tree.


  19. #
    Lauren — December 10, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I love continuing traditions with them :)


  20. #
    Ranelle — December 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I love joking around with everyone! My Italian family is very loud, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.


  21. #
    Chelai — December 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Just hanging out and spending time with those you don’t see often.


  22. #
    Rebecca — December 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    My favorite thing about being with my family for the holidays is that the world actually slows down so we can give one another our undivided attention.


  23. #
    Baker Becky — December 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

    My sons are both teenagers and I know that my years of having them with me are limited so my favorite part about any holiday is being with them. Enjoying making memories with them. Whether we are baking together, decorating together, driving around looking at all the pretty lights, drinking hot cocoa. I enjoy all of it with them because they are only little for so long. I am making memories with them! :)


  24. #
    Kristi — December 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I love going to the candle-light Christmas eve service and singing Silent Night.


  25. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I love NOT being rigid :) We are easy going and everyone- especially the kids love to have a laid back schedule. Leave room for fun!!


  26. #
    Vickie — December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am

    There is nothing better than seeing my childrens’ eyes light up when they see the tree Christmas morning. I have 3 boys ages 2, 6 and 16 and no matter the age, that element of surprise is still there! It’s not about the gifts, it’s about believing.


  27. #
    anne hill — December 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

    i love the joking merryment & especially the eating


  28. #
    Mary S. — December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

    When we gather together as a family, there is always plentiful food, drink & conversation!


  29. #
    Athena R — December 10, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I love the laughter and joy of being with my family during the holidays.


  30. #
    Sharon — December 10, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Renewing and strengthening relationships is what I like best about spending time with my family during the holidays. We make the effort to get together and take time to be together.


  31. #
    anne hill — December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am
  32. #
    Jaime F — December 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

    My favorite thing about spending time with family at the holidays…reminiscing about old memories and holidays past! And of course, getting together to make food together and making new memories. Thanks!


  33. #
    Jaime F — December 10, 2012 at 7:58 am
  34. #
    Sharidan Dillon — December 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I love that we get to see family that we don’t see other times of the year. its always a great time!


  35. #
    Tara — December 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Cooking together, playing board games, relaxing!


  36. #
    Jill — December 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I enjoy making Christmas cookies and other goodies with my family!


  37. #
    Anastasia — December 10, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I can’t wait to see the dogs. (I know this sounds awful, but I can email and skype the people!)


  38. #
    Lindsey — December 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I love spending time with my family because they never fail to make me laugh =)


  39. #
    Michele E. — December 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I love finding the perfect gifts for nieces and newphews and then watching their faces as they open them!


  40. #
    Nicole C — December 10, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I love having them all around and being able to relax and play with my nephew.


  41. #
    Diana Anderson — December 10, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I like the feeling of spending time with family. But, the activities are fun. We’ve made gingerbread cookies, gone on a Santa Train, and just set up our tree.


  42. #
    Andreea — December 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

    cooking and eating together!


  43. #
    Kayla — December 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Seeing the joy that my daughter brings to my parents and grandparents.


  44. #
    Lyn — December 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I love doing Christmas activities with my family, like decorating the tree
    and baking cookies or wrapping presents all while listening to Christmas music or watching a Christmas movie :)


  45. #
    anastassia — December 10, 2012 at 8:33 am

    i’m gearing up to make truffles and other chocolate treats as presents.


  46. #
    Tanya Phillips — December 10, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I love baking cookies with the kids, listening to the music, and driving to see the lights, we do it every year. 😀


  47. #
    Abby — December 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I love the time spent just catching up. Cooking together, chatting over coffee. Just time. Time with family is good.


  48. #
    Shannon — December 10, 2012 at 8:41 am

    My family moved to another state a few years ago for a job, and while its been hard celebrating Christmas without our extended families, we’ve begun to find some joy in the new traditions we’ve started. One of my favorites: picking up Chinese take out after church on Christmas Eve and watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ together before bed.


  49. #
    Marisa — December 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

    My kids and I love our annual cookie baking day with grandma.


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