Several years ago my longtime friend, Briony, introduced me to Real Simple Magazine, and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. I love their simple (easy) approach to hosting, recipes, social situations, and life in general. This weekend, I devoured the November issue, and with the Holiday season just ahead, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite points from their feature, A Moveable Feast, which offers expert advise on easy entertaining.
“Universal Party Truths: The first guest will arrive early. The pots and pans won’t be washed. And a half-dozen folks will squeeze into the kitchen while you’re still slicing and dicing. Instead of fighting the facts, finesse your game plan. With these clever tips from entertaining experts, you can keep holiday (or any day) guests happy and occupied–and make yourself less harried, from hello to good-bye.” -Deb Schwartz, A Moveable Feast
- Create a conducive party flow by staging easy access to the bar for guests upon arrival.
- Be prepared for kitchen congregating and give over the far end of your counter or island to appetizers for those who want to chat where the action is.
- Reserve certain small jobs for guests who want to help, such as setting out dishes, plating hors d’oeuvres, and opening the wine.
- Be present. “A host’s primary duty isn’t to feed people (really!) but to spend time with them.” I tend to get caught up in all the details, so this one in particular is a good reminder for me to just relax and focus on my fantastic company!
- Serve dessert in the living room. “Relocating for sweets and coffee lets guests stretch their legs and switch up conversation partners.”
- Accompany dessert with champagne. I love this one. Champagne makes anything feel more special.
- “Instead of asking who wants coffee, it’s nice to just bring out a tray of small, prepoured cups. (And) serving only decaf saves a lot of trouble and makes most everyone happy.”
In addition to the useful advice, the shoot is beautifully styled in a sort of modern, mid-century meets Scandinavia feel. For the full article and more gorgeous images, pick up the November issue on newsstands now, and good luck with your upcoming Holiday entertaining!