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Take the stress out of holiday entertaining

The holiday season is all about spending time with friends and family, entertaining and enjoying great food and drinks.

Don’t let entertaining become a burden. Easier said than done right? Here are some foolproof tips to ensure that parties, family gatherings, pop-in guests and out of towners feel, warm and welcome and the hostess is relaxed and joyous as well.

Be ready for those pop in guests:

It’s inevitable, over the holidays there will always be those few friends or family members who “pop-in” at the most unexpected time. Having a few items on hand for these surprise visits can turn a chaotic visit into a fun spur of the moment gathering – for afternoon guests Keurig’s Special Edition B60 Gourmet Single Serve Coffee Maker (available at Bed Bath & Beyond) is ideal.  Add gingerbread, sugar cookies or fruit cakes to the mix. They can be stored in the fridge or freezer and warmed up when needed for the perfect afternoon pairing.

Overnight Guest Check List:

No matter how large or small your home is, setting up a space where out of town guests feel at home is essential. For small space living Modern Sensibility has stylish love seats that can transform into a double bed and also has storage so you can stash away extra pillows, sheets and a comforter for your guests. Add some comfortable and cozy bedding and some fluffy towels from Bed Bath and Beyond. As an added luxury, a basket filled with bathroom items and slippers is always a nice touch.

Budget friendly centerpieces:

Flower arrangements can get expensive so why not use some of the vases sitting in your cabinets collecting dust?  Add ornaments, pine cones, cranberries or even holiday candy and place the vases in a cluster of all different sizes. Your backyard, if you have one, can be great for finding sticks, and greenery that can be added to create a rustic arrangement.  Use gold or silver spray paint to add an extra festive flare to sticks and dried flowers. If you have a mix of candles in different colours, shapes and sizes, cluster them together as well.

Stress Free-Holiday Party:

Don’t become a slave at your own party. A few key pre-party set up tactics will ensure the hostess can enjoy the party as well. Set up an open bar. Offer guests a drink upon their arrival but once they are settled in, have a space where they can pick and choose their drink of choice. Pre-plan your menu. Have some simple appetizers and munchies that can be made ahead of time and refilled easily throughout the night. Set the right music. Sonos offers wireless hi-fi music that you can tailor to different rooms in your home. It’s also great as you don’t have to create play-lists, you can simply stream music from an online source so the work is done for you. You can play holiday music as people enter your home and have more upbeat music playing in the living room to get your guests dancing. Great for the hostess, it also makes a perfect holiday gift for the music lovers on your list.

Setting a holiday table:

Setting a gorgeous holiday table for dinner is a tradition in my family. The key to de-stressing when it comes to a large family dinner is preparing in advance. White dishes and serving trays are timeless and versatile. Bed Bath and Beyond has a great collection called Everyday White Rim Dinnerware with pieces starting at $4.99. Sticking with white means you can accessorize with beautiful napkins, table décor and candles to further set the mood. If small space living is your challenge, Modern Sensibility has created a small foyer table (called the Campbell) that transforms into a full size table that seats 10 so you aren’t left out of the holiday entertaining mix!

Happy entertaining this holiday season!

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