At home in Trinidad, the holiday season doesn’t start for my family until my birthday. Even though I haven’t lived at home for the last 4 holiday seasons, I stuck with the tradition. So now that my birthday is over and I’ve recovered from the festivities, I’m ready to start thinking about all things holiday related. Starting with hosting holiday parties.
Yesterday I attended an event in Toronto hosted by Ricardo Cuisine. There were about 8 other bloggers and food lovers in attendance and we all sat around chatting with Ricardo and having some of the best food ever. The main topic of the conversation was the many issues people encounter when hosting holiday parties and Ricardo’s tips for overcoming them.
I’ve never been wholly responsible for hosting a holiday get together before, so this discussion was a huge eye opener for me. I had so many “aha!” and “I would have never thought about that” moments. So, of course, I had share some of the holiday hosting hacks that I thought were the most useful and noteworthy.
1. Announce the menu
I talked about this one already in my post about dealing with food restrictions at holiday parties so I’ll just mention it quickly. There are so many different food allergies and diets and not everyone will eat everything. But you can announce the menu ahead of time to make matters easier for everyone. That way your guests can prepare accordingly.
2. Stick to foods you can actually make
When you’re hosting something big like a holiday party, people expect to be wowed by your culinary prowess. Don’t disappoint them, and yourself, by attempting something new for the first time ever and failing. You want everything to feel like second nature when you’re whipping up dinner.
So stick to what you know or practice a lot if you really want to serve something new.
3. Make less of unconventional dishes
Our Christmas dishes in Trinidad can differ quite a bit from traditional North American holiday dishes. So if I was hosting dinner for non Caribbean people I’ll mostly dishes familiar to them. But I’d still want to inject some Trini Christmas into the festivities.
If you have a similar situation, Ricardo suggests making less of the more unconventional dishes. That way, people who enjoy them can have, and people who don’t won’t feel guilty about passing them up because everyone knows they’re limited. Basically a win/win for everyone.
4. Think about space when planning
Most people plan the eff out of their holiday menus. They buy ingredients well ahead of time to ensure they’ll have everything they need. But many forget to think about the logistics involved with cooking for more than a handful of people.
Do you have enough fridge space to accommodate the things that need to be refrigerated? Is your oven big enough to hold multiple dishes at a time? Do the baking temperatures and times of your dishes vary considerably? How much time and room will making everything actually take? I never remember to think of these things in advance but they definitely to be considered during the planning stage.
5. Make ahead
Meal prep is not my strong suit. I seriously suck at it unless it involves prepping snacks. But there’s no denying that having meals prepped can shave a lot of time off your day. So it should come as no surprise that meal prep can also help make your holiday parties run a little smoother.
Lots of dishes can be made well in advance and taste just as good, if not better, than freshly prepared meals. As long as you make sure to refrigerate or freeze everything properly, defrosting, reheating and serving should be a breeze.
What about you?
- What are the biggest pains when it comes to hosting holiday parties?
- Do you have any tips and tricks for hosting that you swear by?
Share in the comments below!
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p.s. This post was not sponsored at all. I just really loved the discussion at yesterday’s event and wanted to share some of it with you all!