Tips for Elegant, Stress-free Holiday Entertaining

Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. We’ve all likely heard this phrase, and while it’s lovely to enjoy all the holiday season has to offer, hosts may find their plates overflowing with to dos, with little time to relax and celebrate the season. However, with a little planning, prioritizing and self-care, the holidays can be enjoyed by one and all.

Here are 7 tips to embrace all the merriment the season has to offer.

  1. Get Organized: During the holiday season, calendars fill very quickly. Keep an appointment book and make sure you’re not overscheduling yourself. Also, as your event is approaching, make sure you have a detailed list of everything that needs to be done, as well as a timeline for when you’re going to do it. There are lots of tasks that can be done days, even weeks, in advance of a holiday party. Keeping organized and on schedule will keep you cool, calm and collected.
  2. Ditch Complicated Dining: While multi-course dining is a treat, the time, fuss and stress that accompanies it typically doesn’t match the reward. If hosting duties don’t allow you to relax and enjoy your company, it takes all the fun (and purpose) of bringing loved ones together. Consider cocktail foods (like our featured recipe: Pork & Pumpkin Empanadas) or one-pot meals instead of the large, sit-down, multi-course dining.
  3. Don’t Overdue Expensive Items: It’s generous and thoughtful to provide guests with luxurious foods, but don’t let it break the bank. Share a couple expensive items and economize on the rest. Fancy flatbreads and spreads are a great way to save money and enhance your holiday feast. Our Garlic & White Bean Bruschetta is a Spanish version on the classic Italian dish. It’s a beautiful hors d’oeuvre that exudes elegance but is simple and inexpensive.
  4. Potluck, Potluck, Potluck: When hosting friends or family, any good guest will typically ask, “What can I bring?” Make your list and be prepared to share suggestions that complete your menu and shorten your to-do list.
  5. Know What’s the Best Use of Your Time: Some foods that are absolutely worth the time and effort to make homemade, and others are just as good store bought. Most guests would rather have a calm, happy host and some prepared food than time-intensive dishes and stressful holiday dining. Take some help from the store and don’t apologize for it. Also, think about other time-intensive tasks on your to-do list. Determine if they are necessary or if there’s someone else who can take them off your list.
  6. Skip the Full Bar: Providing guests a full bar of drinks is very generous, but it’s time consuming and expensive. Instead offer one or two memorable holiday cocktails. There are tons of festive holiday drink recipes available on the Internet, and guests will enjoy trying something unique and special for your holiday gathering.
  7. Eat Well, Exercise & Get Enough Rest: It is essential to practice good self-care throughout the holidays. While it’s temporarily delicious and enjoyable to indulge in all the holiday treats, overdoing it will leave you unhappy and likely more stressed. Even when enjoying holiday parties, enjoy a variety of healthful foods. Focus on foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. Also, be sure to take time to make healthy meals, exercise and get enough rest outside of the holiday party shuffle.

 From the Bean Institute, we wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season. Cheers!