For a great festive soirée, avoid these pitfalls!
Yes, you’ll want the food and drinks prepared, but it’s better to do the last-minute assembling or baking when you are showered, dressed, and feeling like a calm, organized host.
Serving knife-and-fork food at a stand-up cocktail party makes eating awkward and messy. It’s difficult to mingle and cut
big pieces of meat, so serve bite-size nibbles like these easy recipes:
Beef Tenderloin Yakitori
Curried Coconut Shrimp Balls
Oysters with Mignonette Ice
Trying to make every kind of mixed drink for guests is futile. Pick one festive cocktail (like our Holiday Mojito!) and make all the ingredients available for guests to mix themselves, or assemble in pitchers for guests to pour.
Some guests don’t drink, so be sure to have water, juice, or a fun virgin punch for those who prefer not to indulge.
Try our Hibiscus Tea Punch.
Photo: Mel Yates for Living Etc.
Some guests will abandon a wineglass or plate but want to go back for seconds. Be sure to have extras for guests to use. If you don’t have enough china and crystal, buy festive but elegant disposables.
It will improve guest flow and make it easier for you to replenish platters if you place nibbles on several tables. Consider a second bar spot as well—one for wine and another for mixed drinks.
Save the experiments for family—you won’t want the stress of recipe failure right before guests arrive. Consider a signature dish, such as our Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip, which guests can’t wait to try each time they visit.
Have a variety of foods—meat, seafood, and vegetables—so anyone eating kosher or vegetarian will have something to taste.
Try our Green Apple-Cucumber Salsa.
Candlelight is beautiful, but you don’t want loose sleeves around the fire. Keep any lit candles on a fireplace mantel or in glass lanterns. Don’t use scented candles, either—the smell will interfere with the aroma of your food.