Looking for Regional Information?

How to Entertain During the Holidays

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Entertainment

One of the great things about holidays is that it gives you the chance to have family and friends come together for a special celebration. If the holiday in question occurs on either end of a weekend, or is a protracted season of celebration, there is the chance to open your home on more than one occasion. Here are some tips on entertaining in your home during the holidays.

First of all, take into consideration the space you have available. If you have a formal dining room and a large den area to go along with a formal living room, then good for you. The basic element you need to accommodate a large group of persons is already in place. On the other hand, if you live in a one-bedroom apartment with a main room that acts as living and dining space, chances are you should go for something along the lines of small and intimate rather than big and brassy. It is important that however many guests you have in your home, they feel comfortable and not crammed in like a bunch of sardines.

Next, consider how the food and drink will be arranged. A lot of this depends on what type of entertaining you plan on doing. If the idea is to keep it casual and allow people to help themselves, go for a buffet. Make sure you strategically place extra napkins and coasters around the space you are using for the celebration. That way, your tabletops will suffer much less wear, and your guests will not have to interrupt a fascinating conversation in order to find something to rest their drink glass upon.

If you want to do a sit-down affair, consider family style dining, with the food placed in advance on the table amongst the place settings. Should you be striving for something more formal, arrange to hire kitchen help for the evening and have your guest served each course. Of course, the holiday itself may help give you an idea of what you want to do.

Keep in mind some of the traditions regarding food and the holiday you are about to serve. As an example, Thanksgiving would call for a traditional dinner with everyone relaxed and sitting together around the table. A Fourth of July celebration may involve firing up the grill and setting up various picnic tables in the back yard.  Of course, there is no rule that says you must be traditional. However, it is the mark of a good host and hostess to take into consideration what may or may not be comfortable for the guests. Have fun and do be willing to go outside the box; just make sure your guests know in advance what to expect.

Lastly, do as much advance preparation as you can. Clean the space, decorate if you like, set the table and arrange the sideboard if necessary. Cook as much of the food ahead of time as possible and practicable. Wash up the cookware and other utensils when you are done with them. The idea is to eliminate as many demands on your time as possible, so that you can enjoy the celebration along with your guests.

Having loved ones in for the holidays is a great treat. Plan your get together wisely and you will have memories you can treasure for years.