5 Ideas for Keeping Entertaining Simple

This month as part of the Let's Look At.. link up we're talking all about entertaining.  Having hosted every single holiday and family event for over 10 years I became quite adept at entertaining.

Wanting every single thing to be completely perfect every single time led me to get completely burnt out with hosting and I had to take a few years off from hosting anything! We even started having the kids' birthday parties at other places just so I wouldn't have to deal with cleaning, organizing, and planning.



I've slowly been adding in some hosting duties with a few holidays, parties, and family events and I've learned that if I keep my ideas for entertaining more simple I too can enjoy it!

1.  Plan early!  I find that writing out a plan of what I want to accomplish each day before the big day helps me stay on track.  I often set the table the day before (if we're going to be sitting down to eat!), figure out what serving dishes I'll be using ahead of time and labeling them with sticky notes as to what is going in each dish, and planning my menu at least a few weeks in advance.  I try to cook, bake, and prep as much as I can ahead of time to so I'm not spending the whole day or party in the kitchen.  It's no fun entertaining if you don't get to mix and mingle and visit with the family and friends you invited.


2.  Delegate and ask for help.  Admittedly this is the are I am most lacking in.  I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist so when I delegate or ask for help I really want that person to do it just like I would; which I know is nuts and I am getting better on letting go of the little things.  For Thanksgiving we'll often ask each family to bring a dish to share, I always ask my husband and boys to help peel potatoes or other prep cook tasks I know they can handle, and everyone in the house pitches in with cleaning up before and after any party.

3.  Don't be afraid to keep it casual.  Think paper plates, a food buffet set up in the kitchen... heck, we've even switched over to a family pizza party on Christmas Eve and it is a HUGE hit!  Much better than trying to cook a meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

4.  Have a drinks and dessert party... or an appetizers only party.  Picking a smaller menu with easy to make and prepare items makes it less stressful than trying to wrangle up a full meal to feed all of the guests.



5.  Think Outside the Box- We started hosting a Christmas brunch a few years ago and I find that it is one of the most relaxed parties we host.  We just invite a few family members, the menu is pretty simple with a few breakfast dishes like fruit, bacon, and quiche and some pastries.  Also most people are so busy in the evenings with other commitments that the morning party tends to be a nice break from all that.



Comments

  1. Holiday burnout is a real thing with the entertaining! I’ve experienced it before. Love the brunch idea

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    1. My sister in law and I take turns hosting brunch and it has been such a fun and low key way to celebrate together.

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  2. It’s perfect my friend! I need to start simplifying more! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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    1. I have definitely found that simplifying is key... like most other things in life it turned out that less was actually more.

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  3. Love this list! I get super stressed out when I am having people over. I try to make it more than it needs to be. More often than not, they care more about visiting for the company. :)

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    1. Oh I do too! I love having people over but I spent the time before they actually arrive running myself ragged to make sure it's all perfct. And yet when I go to someone else's house I'm really not looking at all the details; I'm looking to relax, socialize with them, and have fun. I am trying to keep that in mind more and more and remind myself that they won't care.

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  4. Keeping it simple is so key. I'm planning Thanksgiving and I have a running shopping list now. My sister in law is going to do a lot of the cooking so I'm excited for that!

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    1. That sounds wonderful! I have my shopping list started already too; I even bought a few things like stuffing mix this week.

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  5. Your post is so timely. We are hosting 21 people for Thanksgiving this year. As self-proclaimed control freaks, we find it so hard to delegate.We are always worried that someone will forget what they were supposed to bring or something else. LOL Thanks for sharing your good ideas.

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    1. It is so hard to delegate and I can tell you from experience that we have had some real blunders with people not brining what they claimed they would (like the year we had no coffee/drinks because that person brought a side dish instead!)… but in the end it gave everyone a laugh and it's still a funny story we talk about to this day. We all had water and whatever I could find on hand and it was just fine.

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  6. Oh my goodness! Is your Christmas china Lenox? If so, we're twinkies! I have the same exact pattern! Great post!

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    1. Thank you!... and that first photo is a stock photo. I don't have Christmas china anymore. I don't know what happened to it but the set I used to have just white with gold trim.

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  7. YES! I am committed to the belief that my guests come to see me and my family--not my clean house or perfect food. I plan ahead and try to keep things simple and yet special enough to make everyone feel cherished.

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    1. It's taken awhile for that lesson to sink in but I'm getting there!

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  8. Thanks for these great ideas! Entertaining is not my gift, so keeping it simple has been my jam. lol. What I have realized is that keeping it simple is the best way to truly enjoy your guests and have true fellowship. This way you aren't getting caught up in the pomp and circumstance of it all, but truly being present and enjoying.

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    1. Absolutely! It took me YEARS to realize that.

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  9. We're definitely using paper plates this year for Thanksgiving!

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    1. They have so many great options for disposable plates now that sometimes I think it's more festive than my "good" dishes.

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