It’s The Holiday Season – Let’s Entertain

ByPeggy-headshot Peggy Fiandaca

Everyone entertains at the holidays. Holidays are meant to be spent enjoying your family and friends not breaking out in hives from stress. For most people, a holiday may be the only time they will entertain during the year. The key to holiday entertaining is preparation. Having a plan in place will reduce the stress tremendously. So decide early which holidays you will host and begin planning early. It is not like you don’t know what day of the year the holiday falls on well in advance.

Here are some tips for stress-free holiday entertaining.


  • Choose your holiday well in advance and make sure everyone knows that you are claiming that holiday.
  • Decide who will be invited. Determine if any of your guests have food limitations. Nothing is worse than having to run to the emergency room because Aunt Louise had a reaction to nuts.
  • Determine if you are going to do a sit down dinner or buffet.
  • Delegate some of the items so you do not have to do everything yourself. People like to be able to contribute to the holiday celebration. There is nothing wrong in being specific when delegating so you don’t get three different green bean casseroles. If someone doesn’t cook, assign them to purchase the rolls or flowers for the table. Again, you might be specific and people appreciate that.
  • Week before I set the agenda. If I am using certain recipes I pull them all together into a notebook and make my shopping list.
  • Develop a party schedule. I will outline very specifically everything that needs to be done with specific tasks and timeframes. Details include oven temperatures and when dishes go into the oven and the time it comes out. I have learned that when things get crazy I don’t want to depend on my memory.
  • Set the party stage the night before by setting the table or buffet table, creating centerpieces, and ensuring that everything is in place. I also put sticky notes with the name of the dish on all serving platters and bowls.
  • When setting the party stage, think about putting things in different locations so people move around. For example, I set up coffee and desserts in one location, drinks and wine in another, and buffet table or dinner table in another. It is a great way for people to mingle easier.
  • Don’t make your menu too complicated. Everyone should be known for a signature dish and the holidays are a perfect time to showcase that favorite dish. I am known for my lasagna and every holiday, people want my homemade lasagna. People don’t realize that it takes almost all day to make but I do it because I love to make my guests happy. But choose a menu that will allow you to enjoy the holidays too.
  • If you are having a small group for dinner, do not serve dinner on paper plates. Even if it is just family, please show them you care and serve dinner on a real plate with real silverware. It does not take long to wash dishes and it is better for the environment. Some of my best conversations have occurred with my aunties or girlfriends while doing dishes after a holiday event.

And most importantly choose Arizona wine to serve this holiday season.


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