Can you use some holiday and party secrets to save you stress? I have learned a few tricks, tips, and maybe some party secrets about having a smooth stress-free holiday over the last 40+years. It seems like wherever Mark and I have lived our home was the party house. I love having friends over and breaking bread together. I am going to share some ideas that may help you when you plan family get-togethers, family reunions, or parties with friends and neighbors.
I live a pretty simple life, so my party secrets are not extravagant at all. But, I do love a beautiful table setting. I must confess, my favorite thing is white china. Well, white Corelle, yep, plain white Corelle dishes. No trim, plain and simple white dishes. I buy them at Walmart. I have 32 12-inch plates, 32 salad plates, 32 salad bowls and 10-12 serving dishes. They are all white Corelle and I will tell you why I love them. White dishes go with every tablecloth color or placemat design. Plus, they match ANY centerpiece, because they are white.
Holiday and Party Secrets
- Decide the theme, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, you name it and do it!
- Think about the colors, I use colored tissue paper in silver metal goblets for centerpieces.
- I store all my tablecloths in one cupboard, they all have matching napkins. They go in my goblets. Yes, I have to wash and iron them, but I love them! I only buy iron-free tablecloths. These are my favorite ones (I have several colors and checkered ones): Linen Wrinkle Free Tablecloths
- I prefer not to use confetti, it’s a mess to clean up.
- I bought glass pink hearts, red hearts, green flat circles and clear hearts about one-inch in diameter (great for sprinkling down the tables on top of a tablecloth). I choose the color for the holiday and keep the various colors separate in bags.
- Watch for cloth shower curtains on sale, they are cheaper than tablecloths sometimes, except for the ones above.
- Toille, I buy every color available, it’s cheap and I reuse it for running on top of the tablecloths.
- Set the table one or two days before the party.
- I always serve ice water, nothing else for most occasions, water is cheap and refreshing with my luncheons and dinners.
- I will serve hot cider or hot chocolate around the holidays to make the meals more memorable, yet not too expensive.
- I like to prep my food at least two to three days before the party (meat is the exception unless it needs to be marinated).
- If you are making a cake, make it a week before the party and freeze it without the frosting, it will make the cake very moist. When the day arrives to serve the cake, bring it out of the freezer in the morning and place it on the platter you will use to serve it. Cover it with plastic wrap. Let it defrost slowly. My mom taught me this secret about how to make moist cakes.
- I also make my cream cheese frosting a week before and freeze it. The day before the event I place the frosting in the refrigerator to thaw. I frost the cake the day of the party. Here is my recipe: Cream Cheese Frosting by Linda
- Make as many of the side dishes the day before so they are ready to heat just in time for the meal.
- I always make homemade rolls, so I make those exactly four hours before a party. I like to serve them hot from the oven with some butter, jam or honey, delicious.
- I never totally clean my house top to bottom for parties. I clean my bathrooms every Sunday, that’s my routine and include the tile floors too. Mark dusts the whole house when we see the dust settle on the countertops. My friends don’t come to inspect my home, they are like my family and I love them for that.
- I know sometimes people worry that they don’t know how to entertain, it’s easy and doesn’t have to be expensive.
- People love to bring food items, so delegate the menu items so everyone invited brings something and feels like they really are part of the party. It’s nice for people to be social and talk to each other before, during and after the dinner.
- Don’t forget to soften the butter on plates the morning of the party, put them on your decorated table.
- Salt and pepper is must have, I have two sets to place on my large table.
I hope my short list helps you have a wonderful stress-free holiday filled with some of my party secrets. Please share your tips, I love to hear them. Life is good, may God bless this world particularly during this special time of year.