My husband said to me a few weeks ago that he would like to invite his team over to our house for a holiday celebration. Instantly I was full of questions. When? How many? What kind of celebration? Dinner or hors d'oeuvres? Just staff or spouses included?
Entertaining is different from having a few friends or family over for dinner. If my parents or close friends are here, I have no problem putting them to work, but with guests, it’s a much different picture. I feel required to make a fuss, and when it’s 20 guests, well that takes time and preparation. Below are tips to help make the planning and entertaining process a bit easier
- Plan around the number of guests. Serving a sit-down dinner to 6-8 guests is not a big deal but for 20 it is. Think about the number attending and plan your food and drinks accordingly.
- Give yourself plenty of time. Putting together a holiday gathering in a couple of days creates lots of stress. Plan your event far enough in advance so that you can do 1-2 tasks per day. For instance, purchase table linens and décor 1-2 weeks out. Decorate a couple of days before. If possible, do grocery shopping several days in advance. Do some food preparation the night before.
- Ask for help. Delegate simple tasks to your kids like having them stock the powder room with extra toilet paper, soap, and towels. Ask your spouse to run errands. If a close friend or family member is attending, ask them to bring a dish or two. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
- Assess your setup. Depending on your entertaining space, you may need to remove or move a piece of furniture temporarily to create good flow. Set up seating areas so that guests can mingle and visit comfortably. If you’re serving buffet style, use both sides of the table if possible, and direct guests in one direction so that there’s not a bottleneck. Have the drinks in a different area so that there’s not too much congestion.
- Enjoy yourself. Do things so that you can enjoy the party as well. Having it catered, choosing a simple menu, creating a self-serve drink station will reduce your workload so that you can enjoy the evening as well.
Make cleanup a breeze by getting the whole family involved and dropping off your dirty table linens and napkins at any A Cleaner World location. Lightening your laundry load is the one thing we can help with.