By now, you may have already seen quick and easy how-tos for holiday celebrations, but Balsam Hill is taking Christmas party planning to a whole new level by giving you ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

The savvy host knows that preparing for a dinner party can be daunting. Now, you can take away the pressure of hosting a traditional Christmas feast with these handy tips.

A tablescape that’s brimming with vibrant jewel tones

1. Keep the Guest List Manageable

The number of attendees greatly affects your workload. It’s important to assess your guest list according to your capacity as a party planner and host. Limit visitors to a smart six if you’re doing all the cooking. It’s best to avail of catering services if you’re expecting a bigger crowd.

People’s social calendars can fill up quickly during the holidays. Confirm guest attendance either by calling or via e-mail. This is also a great time to ask guests if they have any food allergies or special dietary preferences.

2. Dish Out Simple, Easy-to-Cook Holiday Classics

Keep in mind that you don’t need complicated dishes to have a successful dinner party. Unless you’re a pro, you should keep things simple yet delectable to minimize your stress. Stick with easy-to-cook dishes, such as a baked Christmas ham glazed with a simple fruit jam (no one will know the difference from a fruit glaze made from scratch!) or the no-fail onion and chive scalloped potatoes. These are classic dishes that you can just toss in the oven.

To save you time on the actual day of the party, consider preparing appetizers and dishes that can be stored in the fridge days ahead. Be mindful of seasonal produce and ingredients as there is nothing worse than planning an entrée around something you can’t find.

3. Create a To-Do List

Have a checklist in hand to help you remember everything that needs to be done. Important entries include:

  • Putting together a full shopping list. Write down the list of ingredients you need for the menu, including the alcohol and wine per course. Avoid procrastinating by purchasing the non-perishable essentials in the weeks leading up to the party. Avoid shopping centers and choose to shop locally to save time.
  • Preparing the house one week before the party. Clean the rooms where the party will be held, and rearrange furniture as necessary. This is also the time to wash and iron the linens, label platters, and set out precious china and silverware.
  • Cooking days before the party. Begin making the punch base and portions of recipes, such as pasta sauces, salad dressings, or even desserts.

4. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

Enlist the help of reliable and capable people and assign tasks to family members. Passing some responsibilities off will not only relieve you of added stress, but will also get things running promptly. Make sure to have an assistant who can also help supervise other tasks. Ask for help in peeling vegetables, setting the table, crafting place cards, or cleaning before and after the party.

Opting for a potluck party is also a great way to ease the burden of hosting. Discuss the menu with your family and friends and decide together who brings what.

5. Relax and Enjoy

Take a deep breath and socialize. Christmas is a time to relax and enjoy. Entertaining guests in a cheerful mood helps create an all the more fun setting. This is how a great party is remembered. After all, who wants to socialize with a grumpy host?

The Christmas dinner party is a festive tradition many people look forward to year after year. What are some of your tried and tested tips for a successful holiday party? Tell us how you make your Christmas merry!

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