10 Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

No matter how busy it gets, the holiday season wouldn't be the same without spending time with friends and family. Karen Brown, author of The Dinner Party Cookbook (Meadowbrook Press) has these tips to make holiday entertaining fun, easy and stress-free.

1.Organize yourself with a simple schedule of tasks and shopping lists and stick to it.

2.Get as much done ahead of time as possible, from shopping to cleaning to baking freezable food items.

3.Save time and effort by purchasing some precooked and ready-to-serve items from your favorite gourmet takeout spot.

4.Rearrange furniture, place decorations and set up tableware several days before the party, so you'll know what needs to be vacuumed and polished.

5.Improvise decorations by using colorful scarves for table covers, ashtrays or jars for candleholders and your favorite urns for ice buckets.

6.Call a party rental service for extra chairs, wine glasses, napkins. It's inexpensive and they deliver.

7.Plan a perfect ambience with mood-making music and a simmering potpourri on the stovetop. Try cider, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

8.You can never go wrong with candles, from inexpensive votives to artfully grouped tapers-and we all look better in the soft glow of candlelight, too.

9.Don't limit your decorating to just the inside. String twinkle lights in outside shrubbery or line your sidewalk with torches and luminaries.

10. Being organized and prepared will also help you accomplish the most important goal of the evening: to have as much fun as your guests.

Article by Homesteader.

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