Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Entertaining Secrets by Debbie Rosemont

Between Halloween and the New Year are a multitude of opportunities to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. If you will be entertaining this year, whether that's hosting Thanksgiving dinner, a decorating party, an open house, or a cookie or gift exchange, there are steps you can take to minimize the stress, maintain balance and control and maximize the joy of the holidays. Just consider the "who, what, when, where, how and why" factors to keep you organized as you plan and execute your get-together.

Who will you celebrate with? 

Make a guest list and ensure you have contact information for your guests.

What will the gathering entail? 

What do you hope to accomplish by hosting the celebration? What traditions (new or old) would you like to incorporate? What will take place? Will you and
your guests share a meal, express appreciation in some way, give gifts, create something together? What outcome do you want? Set your intentions (in writing) and keep them in mind as you prepare. These intentions (or your "vision" for the occasion) can help guide your decisions about the particulars involved.

When and where will it occur? 

Set a date, a time and a place. Create invitations if you'll use them, or extend invitations by phone. Make sure to request an RSVP well in advance so you know how many guests you should expect.

How will you pull this event off? 

Create an action plan up to a month before the event. Block off time on your calendar to accomplish entertaining related activities that are on your action plan. Making appointments with yourself to get these things done will ensure that you identify when you'll make things happen, spread out the tasks and budget your time.

Make a menu. From that, create a shopping list. Make a timeline of what can be done in advance and when you'll do these tasks. Run associated errands. Go shopping for any non-perishables a few weeks beforehand. Shop for fresh foods a few days before the event. Clean out your refrigerator, freezer and pantry so you have room for newly purchased goods and dishes you'll make for the occasion. This will also make it easier to see everything and find what you need when you need it for food preparation. Prepare foods when you can in advance. Some items can be made in the weeks leading up to the occasion and frozen until you need them. Avoid the last minute rush to get it all done in the day or two before the gathering.

Clean and decorate your home. If you're using a dining room table not used for your "everyday" meals, you can set the table a week or few days in advance. Decide on, create or purchase a centerpiece if you'll use one. (One of my favorite centerpiece ideas costs nothing, is pulled together easily, and has created a wonderful tradition in our home: Take a pretty bowl and cut colorful strips of paper large enough for someone to write a sentence on. As your guests arrive, ask them to take a strip or two and write something they are thankful for, fold the paper in half and then add it to the centerpiece. You'll end up with a bowl full of gratitude. You can choose to share the pieces of "thanks" with one another or not. Either way, it's a lovely tradition.)
Select favors or gifts if you're using them and make sure they're wrapped. Clear out the entry way closet so you'll have room for your guests coats. Just before guests arrive do a last minute tidy, get yourself ready, put on music, light candles and then prepare to relax and enjoy your company.

Why did you host this event?

Remember the reasons. Keep the event simple. Ask for and accept help. Reflect on the beauty of the season, the good company, the warm surroundings, delicious food and rich tradition. Have fun and enjoy the special occasion.
With compassion as my driving force, I was inspired to make a difference. Founder of 'It's Simply Placed', I am able to assist individuals in getting past their unhelpful patterns and thus achieve their full potential. For more information and to join our newsletter visit:

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