November 11

6 Tips To Organize Your Way to Holiday Entertaining Success


Everyone loves family gatherings and holiday get togethers.  And everyone hates all the work.  So, let’s try a new approach.  Let’s go into this holiday season with a plan for the work to be minimal, and for enjoyment to be optimal!

Simple Holiday Organization Tips:

1. Make a plan
Don’t think I’m crazy, but I make a list for everything.  The second I put something on paper, it frees my mind to think of other important things.  When I’m involved in planning a family gathering of any kind on any holiday, I start with the same lists: a guest list including their contributions, family assignments, a menu plan, a two or three week plan, and a shopping list for each store.

2. Potluck
How much easier can dinner be if you don’t have to make everything?  This is especially true if your host is the host location because you have the added pressure of cleaning and arranging seating and service for all those extra people, not to mention clean up!  When you are planning the menu and making out the guest list, recruit the great cooks in your family to make some of the traditional holiday dishes you enjoy.  Even the younger ones can contribute drinks, paper goods, flowers, or even rolls from the local bakery.

3. Shop early
Shop at LEAST a week ahead, two is preferable.  Shopping early also saves you the agony of the store being sold out of something you need last minute.  It will help you avoid the crowds, too.  When you return from the stores, gather and group supplies for each dish in a prep area as you shop for them, then check them off the list.  It helps to have staging areas in your fridge or on a counter surface or table to group items together.

Late summer family event where I used stemware, pillars, and tea lights as simple, inexpensive buffet area decorations.

4. Advance preparation
Lots of items can be prepped in advance and still be fresh and delicious the day for the celebration.  Desserts can be made ahead and frozen, without cooking first.  Vegetables for stuffing and dressing can be pre-chopped.  Bread and cornbread for dressing and stuffing is actually better pre-made because the dishes turn out better if you use stale bread.  Casseroles can be pre-made and refrigerated.  Homemade crafts for decorations can be made weeks ahead.  You can start making extra ice and storing it in freezer bags.  Get the idea?

There is no reason everyone can’t work together to make the day a success.

5. Enlist help
There is no reason everyone can’t work together to make the day a success.  Put the men on trash duty.  Have them empty uneaten food off of plates, stack and carry all the dishes to the kitchen.  Then take out all the trash bags as they notice a bag getting full.  Teens can be in charge of games and entertainment.  The older women can keep the little ones busy.  The younger women can wash linens, load the dishwasher and wash pots and pans.  Before everyone leaves gather an assembly line to help prepare leftover plates in aluminum foil containers, then help load cars with leftovers, dishes and any borrowed tables, chairs and games.

6. Serve buffet style
I love a beautiful table setting.  There is something about fancy ambiance that gets the girly part of me going.  But your dining area doesn’t have to be meticulously turned into a front page holiday spread of Southern Living to be beautiful and festive.  You can use whole, clean, fall colored leaves (FREE) to place around food service dishes, and small tea lights (CHEAP) to create a beautiful buffet area.  On your table use your stemware as candle holders.  Stage some candles turned right side up and turn some upside down.  Then place pillar candles on the bottoms like pedestals.  Put more colorful leaves under the stemware.  Inside the glasses put dried beans to nestle the tea lights down into.  Use a simple bread basket or canning jar to hold utensils.  Stack plates and sit beside utensils and napkins at the head of the buffet line.

Use a little forethought, enlist a little help, and reap the relaxing rewards of a simple, stress free holiday entertaining season.  Then you can focus on what really matters:  being thankful for those around you and all your blessings!

What ideas are you implementing to make the holidays a breeze this year?


Family Celebrations, Holidays, Organize

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Broken & Blessed

Broken & Blessed
  1. Great Tips! Making a list is my favorite way to keep on track with big projects or parties. Sometimes I multiple lists to break it down further. For example: shopping list, tasks to be done or food to be cooked.

    1. I’m not sure I could get through a regular week without lists, let alone the holidays! lol April did a great job of breaking it all down for us, and making an enjoyable celebration seem very attainable 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting! ♥

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