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Simple Tips to Entertain With Ease

source: foshie

Over the next couple of months there’s a good chance you will be doing some entertaining.

You might be having the gang over to watch the “big game”, organizing one last Fall bonfire, preparing a huge Thanksgiving feast, hosting a cookie exchange, celebrating Christmas at your house this year, or planning any other number of seasonal get-to-gathers.

Whatever the case, any type of entertaining involves planning ahead… which just so happens to be my specialty!

I absolutely LOVE entertaining — and even if you don’t have a huge house, fantastic decorations, or an unlimited budget, there are a few things you can do NOW to simplify, organize, and prepare for upcoming entertaining opportunities.

1. Stock up on extra paper products.

We never use paper products on a daily basis, and we even use cloth napkins. However, when it comes to simple entertaining, paper products are definitely nice to have around.

Wait for high quality plates, cups, and napkins to go on sale, and then stock up. Don’t waste your money on those flimsy plates that leak or collapse causing bigger messes.

2. Stock up on extra drinks.

To keep entertaining cost down, I usually ask guests to bring a dish to pass — either a side dish, dessert, or snack-type food. We will often supply the drinks; and depending on the type of party that might mean punch, pop, lemonade, water, or alcohol.

Even though we rarely drink anything besides milk, water, and juice in our every-day lives, I’m always fully stocked with a variety of beverages just in case a last minute entertaining opportunity comes up.

3. Line your trash cans with 3 or 4 trash bags.

There are two reasons I do this — the first is so that changing the trash becomes a five-second chore. I simply lift out the bag and we’re ready to go again. The second reason is because it prevents messy leaks from one or more bags tearing.

I know this sounds like a really small detail, but it does make a difference when you’re entertaining… especially for larger groups.

4. Have several snack foods on hand {just in case}.

I’ve had many occasions where I’ll ask people to bring specific items… and they don’t. I honestly can’t comprehend being asking to bring something and then not doing it, but it happens!

So I’ve learned to always keep a variety of nuts, chips, salsa, crackers, popcorn, and trail mixes in the pantry; and sliced cheeses, bars, cookies, and shrimp in the freezer. That way, if my guests show up empty handed, I can simply make a trip to my pantry or freezer and be back to the party in no time.

You might be out of luck if you’re having a huge turkey dinner and someone forgets the stuffing, but this tip has saved me many of times for more casual gatherings!

5. Go with the flow.

There is nothing MORE obnoxious than a host who is constantly walking around and picking up after everyone  instead of sitting back and enjoying the party. Yes, there will be times when you’ll need to prepare food and get things ready; but once the party is under control, sit back, enjoy your guests, and just go with the flow.

There’s a good chance someone will spill — so instead of panicing, simply plan ahead and have a quick clean-up kit ready to go.

There’s a good chance people will be late — so don’t have your hot food ready exactly when you said you were going to {I’ve learned this the hard way MANY times!}

There’s a good chance someone will forget what they we supposed to bring — so refer back to #4 above!

There’s a good chance something might break — so if it’s really that valuable to you, then put it away before the guests arrive.

Entertaining is a lot more fun {for both you and your guests} if you relax, go with the flow, and actually try to enjoy yourself rather than worrying about hosting the perfect party.

I know how overwhelming and stressful entertaining can be — especially if you’re not prepared. So implement a few of these simple tips and I can guarantee your entertaining will be less stressful this year!

What are your best tips for entertaining with ease?

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