Is it your turn to host Thanksgiving or Christmas this year? We all know that hosting a holiday party is a lot of work! Not only does the home or other venue have to be cleaned and accommodating, but the meal needs preparation (which in itself is a feat). Of course, setting the table worthy of your guests’ appreciation is another checkmark on the to-do list. How on Earth will you juggle it all? It sounds like you need tips to hosting a big dinner!
Follow along as one of Utah’s favorite interior designers gives her top tips to hosting a big dinner in 2019:
Did you know that these meals aren’t meant to be survived but to be ENJOYED?! There – I said it! Your guests are coming to your home or venue of choice to spend time with you and catch up for the first time in a year (or several years in some situations). Here are some tips to hosting a big dinner to helping everyone enjoy the day as stress-free as possible.
I wish someone had told me this before the first holiday meal I ever hosted! This advice is GOLD! Remember:
Start a meal prep worksheet in a Google Doc and share it with everyone that is invited, being sure to allow editing and commenting capabilities. Start with a bare-bones list of appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks, and miscellaneous. Then, fill in all the goodies you want on your table. Include enough for you to make but also some options that someone else could make, buy, or bring with them. Write your name next to the dishes you’ll contribute and let everyone know that they need to do the same (so you don’t have extra or not enough).
Then go shopping! Grocery stores always seem to run out of that essential ingredient that you NEED to have just in time for the big day. So, stock up early so you can avoid the last-minute crowd at all costs.
Finally, make as many dishes ahead of time as possible. Sides and desserts like green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and pies can be made ahead of time and still taste great! Simply pop them in the oven before the guests arrive, and they’ll be heated to perfection (and make your house smell great).
This is where, as an interior designer, I get a LOT of phone calls. If you need help, I’d be happy to decorate or stage your home and table for the big day (since you’re so busy cooking on top of managing daily life events). But, for those of you that have the time and energy to do it yourself, here are a few of my favorite table ideas:
Did anyone else’s parents always have a set of “good dishes” that they saved just for special occasions? If your’s did (and especially if they’re invited and you have the dishes), break them out! Your guests will be tickled to see the dishware that they bought specifically for this occasion.
I love to incorporate green wherever I can. Did you know that green is calming to your psyche and also creates an inviting atmosphere for your guests? Many people love to set their table with a green and white theme. Green and white dishes are both seasonal and chic without being cliche. They aren’t too holiday-themed that you can’t get away with using them for multiple occasions, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or another big dinner. Pair it with some greenery like a vine or a low and long bouquet. Sprinkle the table with event-specific trinkets such as white pumpkins, white snowflakes, pilgrims, or a nativity scene, and you’ve got yourself a memorable table set up.
Gold is timeless and elegant but also sets a luxurious atmosphere. Although some years gold seems to be the enemy, for the last few years, you can’t go wrong with gold. Set gold-rimmed plates on a gold charger with gold drinkware and silverware, and you’ve got a table set for even the most discerning guests. Finish the place setting with a gold or other bold napkin ring, and your guests will be left speechless.
If you are a festive group, feel free to lean into the holiday. Keep in mind that a little bit of the holiday can go a LONG way. A couple of well-placed turkeys for Thanksgiving or a Santas for Christmas are all you need to make a statement and get everyone in the holiday mood.
After putting the main entree like a turkey or a ham in the oven, the next thing I do is set the table (if I didn’t do it ahead of time). Then, to round out my tips to hosting a big dinner, I prepare serving platters of hor’s d ‘oeuvres for everyone to munch on as they arrive. Most guests avoid eating all day just so they “have room to eat.” Reduce the risk of “hangry” guests and have food set out before they arrive. Everyone can immediately start snacking while waiting for the big meal.
Remember, a big dinner isn’t about the food or even the place setting; it’s really about the feeling of togetherness. Pause and take a breath when you feel the stress rising, then jump into a lighthearted and fun conversation. Sit back, admire all of your hard work, then enjoy the day!
If you need help decorating your home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another significant event, a trusted Utah Interior Designer can help. Let us alleviate some stress and ensure your home is ready for your guests to arrive. At Our Nest Designs, we take pride in our beautiful table settings and welcoming entryways, and we would be happy to share that with you. Call Our Nest Designs today at 801-913-8962 to find out how we can help!
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