From Thanksgiving to Christmas, and then New Year, these holiday occasions all have one thing in common – dinner celebrations and parties here and there. A sit-down dinner with your loved ones is always a great idea. It’s a great time to reconnect, catch up, and just enjoy each other’s company. So put that phone or tablet down, and let’s nail this Holiday dinner party. Here are some of my tips to make it wonderful and fancy.
Plan Your Menu in Advance
The holiday season is probably the busiest time of the year. While it’s most certainly fun, it can be stressful too. So you want to plan a menu that won’t take too much of your time, won’t stress you out, everyone likes, and at the same time, let you stick to your budget.
- Holiday Ham – Who doesn’t love Holiday Ham? Everyone I know (except for vegans, but we’ll get to that later) likes it. Plus, it’s so easy to prepare, won’t take up 10 minutes. Just pop in the oven and wait for it to be done. And while the ham cooks in the oven, you can prepare other things.
- Add your Signature Dish – Is there a signature dish that you make that everyone loves? Then you can cook that to go with the ham. Or, if like me you’re totally out of time and need something easy, grab a tried and tested, crowd-pleaser in the grocery. I found these beef steak appetizers one day and boy was I glad I discovered them. They are so good and no one would know you didn’t put hours cooking them!
- Easy Sides – Choose side dishes that you can just heat on the stove-top or roast in the oven with the ham. This will make your life easier. I made some asparagus that I simply washed, snapped the ends, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and popped in the oven for a good 25-28 minutes. Super easy. I also heated up mixed vegetables, and added butter and salt for another side. Mashed potatoes would be a good idea too.
- Appetizers and Desserts – Appetizers can be as simple as a couple of cheeses, nuts, and crackers, especially if you’re serving wine. Desserts can also be as simple as fruits on a platter and a delicious fruit cake from a bakery you love. But if you like to bake, you can do this ahead of time too. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have some chocolates handy. Just think about what kids and adults will like.
- Special Menu – make sure you find out if any of your guests have certain diet restrictions. If you have vegans coming over, make sure there’s a dish they would be able to eat. Are there guests with allergies? Make sure to adjust your menu accordingly.
Prepare What You Can the Day or Night Before
To avoid chaos and being a nervous wreck, prepare ahead of time. Do these ring a bell?
“I can’t find the nice serving plate.”
“I’m missing a set of flatware.”
“OMG, the white tablecloth is in the dirty laundry.”
You don’t want to panic the next day, trying to look for that fancy server plate you want to use, only to find out they are in the basement or stored in boxes somewhere in the garage. Then, you’ll have to dig through, wash it, and before you know it, the guests have arrived.
The night before the dinner party, I like to set up the decorations, flowers, and the table. That way, I can just focus on the food the day of. This will also allow you time to set up the table nicely and add fancy touches as you please… or find out if you’re missing or lacking something, and adjust accordingly.
So, let’s talk tablescape. Here are some finishing touches I’d like to share with you.
Holiday Dinner Plates
I like to set my dinner table to match the theme. So for a Holiday Dinner, I used the Market Street New York Collection by Corelle. The collection includes different patterns or designs. But this design featured here is called the West End. This classic pattern is an updated take on historic scroll motifs as seen on the West End of Market Street. It mixes gold and platinum for an elegant setting that’s perfect for the holiday season, but will work for everyday as well. The set includes three plates, a bowl, and also a plastic, food-safe charger. I’ve always been a fan of Corelle because of their lightweight feel yet exceptional strength. Trust me, I put one of our plates to the test and let’s just say it passed the test with flying colors.
How elegant and beautiful are these Corelle Market Street New York dinnerware sets?
Jazz Up the Napkins
One of the things you can play with are the table napkins. Sometimes, I’d fold them into a fan or a flower. Other times, I’d simply roll them up and add a DIY napkin ring to match the theme. For this holiday table setting, I inserted my special gold flatware and left only the top showing. I proceeded to tie up the napkin with some jute and inserted a jingle bell. You can also use a small ornament to add a holiday touch to it. The next day, because I felt like it needed something else, I decided to insert mini pinecones in the tie. And they were wonderful. Don’t be afraid to add natural elements to make it feel more homey, just like this Christmas tree table top decor. I also spread pinecones throughout the table.
Have a Dessert and/or Drinks Bar or Bar Cart
If you have the space, a separate drinks and desserts bar would be nice to have. That way, you free up space on the table and you’re not nailing your guests to the table the entire time. Plus, it’s always nice to decorate or dress up a dessert/drinks bar. If you don’t have the space, a serving or bar cart like this will do just fine. In a small apartment, that’s what I currently use. It’s so convenient having a cart to hold the extras and move it around as needed.
Now, relax and enjoy your Holiday Dinner Party with your loved ones. I hope I was able to help you out with these tips. Happy Holidays!