Hey Guys! Today’s post is a big one. I’ve got a simple, yet delicious holiday appetizer, my top five tips for easy holiday entertaining and a $500 Wayfair gift card up for grabs. So hold on to your hats! My buddies over at Wayfair invited me to share some of my favorite holiday entertaining tips. They even paid me for my advice…so it’s pretty awesome that I get paid to spout off about something I love doing: throwing parties! All while earning money to throw even more parties! So thanks, Wayfair!
Holiday parties come in all shapes and sizes: ugly sweater parties, intimate family gatherings, fancy work parties. My favorites are casual dinners where the adults just hang out around the food and the kids run amok with their cousins. Whatever the occasion, I’ve got my top five tips for holiday entertaining:
- Prepare ahead of time. Choose a menu of items you can fix a day or two in advance. Some recipes (like my spicy chili) are even better after they sit in the fridge for a couple days. Lay out your food table or place settings so you can make sure everything fits. Test your grill or fondue pot or whatever equipment you’ll be using. (Last summer, I had my girl Jill and her family over for a BBQ. When we fired up the grill, we learned that all the wood pellets were soaked from a prior rainstorm and it wouldn’t work. We ended up ordering pizza. Lesson learned.) But just double-check that you’ve got enough seating for everyone, their favorite drinks, and a place to put their coats, etc.
- Ask for help. Really. Nobody said you have to do it all by yourself. If someone offers to bring dessert, let them! If you need someone to put out the napkins, speak up! Obviously, don’t boss everyone around; but most of the time people mean it when they offer help. And if you’re not in the mood to slave for days in the kitchen, have the party catered by your favorite restaurant or food truck. You need to enjoy the party, too!
- Use white serving dishes. I’ve collected white porcelain dishes throughout the years. I like white because it works for every occasion, and it lets the food take center stage. I’ve picked up dishes from IKEA and Pottery Barn and everywhere in between, and they work together for a cohesive look.
- Serve low-maintenance foods. Whether it’s made from scratch or catered, choose foods that don’t need a lot of attention. Soups are perfect this time of year. Just let them simmer and guests can serve themselves as they’re ready to eat. Or appetizers that do well at room-temperature: crudités (fancy!), bruschetta, olives, hummus and pitas, or the super-easy cheese ball I’m sharing below.
- Don’t scrub the kitchen floor until AFTER the party. Don’t. Unless the floor is so gross that guests will stick to it, just give it a quick once-over with a vacuum, and maybe a wet-jet, and you’re good to go. Nobody’s there to inspect the floor, and your time is better off spent on the fun stuff. It’s inevitable that someone will drop something on the floor during the party. Just wait till after the guests leave, give it a thorough cleaning and enjoy your shiny, clean floor all by yourself (while it lasts).
Now that I’ve dropped all my party knowledge on you, let’s talk about food! This simple cheese ball requires just a handful of ingredients, and is always a crowd-pleaser. One quick tip: when it’s time to shape it into a ball, dump the whole mess out on to a piece of plastic wrap. Then use the wrap to help shape the ball so your hands aren’t covered with cream cheese when it’s all over.
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon finely diced green onion
- 2 Tablespoons finely diced green pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Lawry's seasoning salt
- 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained well
- 1 Cup crushed walnuts
- Combine ingredients (reserving 1/2 C. of the nuts for the outside of the ball).
- Mix well
- Refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight
- After mixture is chilled, mold into a ball and roll in remaining crushed walnuts.
- Serve with crackers or vegetables for dipping.
- Tip: When molding into a ball, place the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, and use that to help shape the ball, without making a mess of your hands.
- Tablecloth: This one is Anthropologie-esque without all the ruffles and pom poms, and it’s a great price, too!
- Ribbon Drinking Glasses: Gorgeous! I need these in my life.
- Fall Glass Candlestick: Such a great color to layer with other metals; and add some height to the centerpiece along with some flickering candlelight.
- Surface Lines Serving Platter: This is why I love white serving dishes…you can find the most unique shapes and textures, and they look great together!
- Purple Cake Stand: I’ve got a real weakness for cake plates. This one’s no exception.
- Serving Pieces: I always need more serving pieces, and these have such a cool shape.
- Textured Serving Bowl: Looks antique-y, and really versatile.
- Napkins: I can never have enough table linens. Napkins are a great way to add some color and pattern to your tablescape.
And now for the BEST PART!!! One of you lovelies has a chance to win a $500 Wayfair gift card. Enter here via Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends on Dec. 17th; and you can enter as many times as you’d like! The mandatory entry is that you leave a comment on this post linking to your favorite item on Wayfair. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway