Thanks to Kirklands for sponsoring this post, and forcing me to consume large quantities of hot cocoa.
It’s the holiday season, y’all! We all know what that means: calories stop counting and you don’t need an excuse to gather friends around mugs of steaming cocoa and warm fireplaces. I LOVE IT. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
(I learned this weekend that broken cookie pieces don’t contain calories. The breakage of the cookie causes calorie leakage. #Science.)
We had some friends over recently and I used the excuse to set up a little holiday party table, where sugary substances can gather to be consumed with abandon.
I used to become a wild, crazy person anytime we were having a party. I had to prepare 65 different foods, scrub UNDER every rug and along all baseboards, and have everything perfect before we could open the house to anyone. I always hoped that frazzled, exhausted look was working for me when guests arrived, but I suspect it did not.
Now, I’m all about EASY parties so we can stress less and connect more. (And I can have more opportunities to beat my friends at Taboo. I will welcome you warmly into my home so that I may destroy you in the game of Taboo.)
Here are a few of my favorite ways to make entertaining simple and low-key for the holidays:
Pick a color scheme and run with it
Even if nothing else is matchy or well-decorated, I try to pick one or two colors for the food table, and it makes it look like I know what I’m doing. I grabbed this glittery striped garland from Kirklands and laid it on top of a plain white sheet as my tablecloth.
Create one “signature” drink
I made a simple fruited punch in this pretty mason jar-style drink dispenser:
Sparkling Christmas Punch
- Bottle sparkling apple cider
- Equal parts lemonade and cranberry juice (For “grown-ups,” Replace lemonade with champagne.)
- Frozen raspberries
The red echoed the rest of the colors and the dispenser situation made serving super easy – no need for punch bowls and ladles that always spill the drink over the side of your cup, causing the dreaded sticky-cup-sticky-hand disaster. You know what I’m talkin’ about.
One or two festive decorations go a long way
Seriously, you guys — this coffee filter wreath has been with me for YEARS. It is a loyal friend which works in any situation. It’s a perfect simple base on which you can add any ol’ embellishment – this time I popped a snowflake ornament in the center – and it’ll help things feel decorated.
Here’s where I used it in my Christmas mantel a few years back:
Fun containers make all the difference
Fact: it feels 65 percent more fun to eat out of a pretty container than the store-bought one. I poured our hot chocolate mix and some GINORMOUS marshmallows into this mason jar set and suddenly the hot chocolate tasted better.
(I won’t even mention how much fun Andy and his friends had trying to play the “chubby bunny” game with the oversized marshmallows. We keep things classy around here.)
Keep the end goal in mind
How often do you go to a get-together at a friend’s house and think, “This party has been fun, but I would’ve had MORE fun if it had looked more professionally decorated or the food would have been more elaborate.” Never, right? NO times.
This is what I’ve learned: who the heck cares? It’s all about getting together, laughing, and beating people at board games. A hastily thrown-together party with store-bought food and no decorations beats NO party 100 percent of the time.
But you’ll never regret making some apple pie dip. YOU GUYS. I found this recipe at Seeded at the Table, popped it in this chips and dips bowl with cinnamon pita chips and had to keep myself from eating it by the spoonful. (I like this dip because it’s good warm, cold or lukewarm.)
I won’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you there were certain small people in our house who didn’t seem to mind having some party foods within reach.
How ’bout some free Kirklands gift cards!
We’re giving away TWO gift cards valued at $100 each via the rafflecopter below! Fingers crossed for you! Don’t forget to use ’em in combination with Kirklands’ new K club rewards program to get rewards on what you spend with the gift cards!
Now let’s hear it!
What are your best tips for easy holiday entertaining? Want to come over and play Taboo? I’m just asking, innocently.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
P.S.: Today kicks off the annual holiday housewalk at JenniferRizzo.com! I’ll be sharing my house tour Thursday, but you can head over now and check out the house tours that are up today.
I received compensation for the “Holiday Hostess” campaign blog post. Kirkland’s partnered with several bloggers like me to raise brand awareness. All purchases and content are on my own accord and reflect my personal opinion and style. Kirkland’s blogger outreach policies abide by the WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. For official Kirkland’s giveaway rules, visit http://www.kirklands.com/content.jsp?pageName=blogger_rules-03.