We’re just a few weeks out from the official start of the holiday season. Over here in blogger-land though, I’ve been busy prepping holiday content for weeks – which means taste-testing holiday recipes, pulling together entertaining tips, and of course keeping my glue-gun warm with some fun seasonal DIYs.Also getting me in the holiday spirit is a little project I’ve been working on with my friends at Better Homes & Gardens. For the past few summers I’ve partnered with Better Homes & Gardens to share some recipes in their Summer Entertaining Guide. This year I’m excited to have contributed a few ideas to their annual Holiday Entertaining Guide and have been using some of the items they sent me in their Holiday Entertaining Box to prepare for celebrations! I thought I’d share a few of my best holiday entertaining tips with you here to get you ready for the season too:
Prep my Party Panty. I like to start the holidays with a fully stocked party-pantry so that I’m ready to entertain houseguests, friends popping by, and unexpected visitors. I typically have more festive cocktail napkins and drink stirrers than I know what to do with, and this is a perfect occasion to add a few seasonal options to my collection. Having some key ingredients on hand for a cheese plate is another must-have in my party-planning arsenal. Keebler Town House crackers, some mixed nuts, a few fun spreads and dip-mixes are all great to keep on hand in the pantry. I always keep a block of sharp cheddar and some sour cream in the fridge too for perishable additions to a snack plate that won’t go to waste because of their versatility in many other recipes. Don’t forget to prep yourself for parties too; Boost is a great way to start your day off with lots of energy to conquer the holiday to-do list.
Test New Recipes. I have spent the past few weeks digging through my favorite entertaining cookbooks, organizing my Pinterest boards, and of course, ripping out recipes from my favorite magazines. I have quite a few holiday side dishes earmarked in the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens to try. When testing new recipes, try them out before the main event. Our friends host a “friendsgiving” party before Thanksgiving Day, and it’s a great opportunity to try a new recipe before the official holiday dinner.Pick a Theme. One way to spice up your holiday menus is to pick a seasonal flavor theme and ask guests to bring their favorite recipes in that genre. I’ve hosted an apples and pumpkins themed party, and for a more wintry menu, try a cranberry theme.
Indulge in Sweet Holiday Treats. Is there any better time of year to indulge in dessert? I just don’t think so! My favorite dessert is a rice krispy treat made with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies; give them a seasonal spin with crushed up gingersnaps pressed on top as they cool. For a last minute sweet to bring to a party, melt dark chocolate with just a touch of butter in the microwave and dip Snack Factory Pretzels in the warm mixture. Once the cool they’re a delicious, chocolaty, and salty snack to share with friends and family. I also rely on quite a few family recipes at this time of year, and Grandma’s cookies are a must-bake in November and December. This year I might try to swap in Stevia In The Raw sugar to test some lower-calorie options, because less calories means more cookies!
Add DIY Décor Details. Adding some DIY touches to your tablescape makes for an extra special experience when you’re hosting guests. I have a library of ideas from past holidays to draw from. Check out my ideas for DIY additions to your party for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Stock the Bar. Keeping a well-stocked bar is not just important for entertaining, it’s key for holiday survival! I’ve got a timeless guide to stocking your holiday bar cart that you can rely on for building your own holiday survival cocktail station. Don’t forget to include some options for after cocktail hour too. It’s nice to offer your guests coffee at the end of the evening before the party wraps up; I stock up on Folgers for my party pantry. Some chilled water bottles are also a nice touch to hand to guests as they leave for evening!You can get more holiday entertaining tips in the Better Homes & Gardens’ Holiday Entertaining Guide online, and be sure to enter their sweepstakes to win a holiday entertaining box prize package – there will be 100 winners!
Please note: This post was created in partnership with Better Homes & Gardens. All opinions, images, and content are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support this site!