If you suffer from last-minute party planning nightmares, not to worry – you’ll have your party in the bag and your table set to a tee when you follow these tips:
- Plan your guest list and menu. Keep a list of friends and family that will be arriving at your house during the holidays. Take note of special diets and allergies when crafting your menu.
- Instead of tackling the entire menu yourself, it will be much less stressful for you and way more fun for your guests if each person brings their own dish. While you handle the main dish, assign either a side or a dessert to your guests. Each person can then bring a printed recipe for the dish they brought, and have a great time sharing it with everyone.
- Keep your holiday table simple, yet festive. The food and wine should be the main stars! Plain unscented candles add ambiance. Simple white plates on a solid color tablecloth and placemats will help the dishes stand out. Intersperse pinecones, pomegranates, clementines, pears or apples in between the dishes. Clear vases filled with branches, twinkle lights or holiday ornaments make a statement. Make easy place cards out of wine corks by simply splitting the cork and inserting a name card. Elegant stemware that’s perfect for both red and white wines are an essential for any holiday table.
- Easy appetizers and a holiday playlist set the scene. A variety of cheeses, olives, and crackers are just right for starting out the evening. Holiday music faintly playing in the background as guests mix and mingle will set a festive tone for the rest of the night.
- Make-ahead, crowd-pleasing dessert. Try this recipe for Red Wine Chocolate Truffles, a decadent treat made with only 4 ingredients by Pastry Affair. Perfect for both red wine lovers and chocolate lovers! For this recipe, we recommend using the Artisan 5 2012 Masterpiece or the Dusk 2013 Fair Play Petite Sirah or the Mariana Vineyard 2010 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Franc.