Earlier last month I was asked to give a short talk on entertaining for the holidays.
I seized the opportunity to make some new friends, enjoy the company of some “old” friends, and an opportunity to enjoy The Sage Grill in Makati Shangrila Hotel.
Makati Shangrila has always held a an important place in my growth and history here in The Philippines, but I will leave that for another post, and another story.
At any rate, I wanted to share some of the tips I shared with some of the lovely ladies who were in attendance at the exclusive Business World Ladies Who Lunch Special Holiday Gathering because I’m sure that if you are new to entertaining you might find them helpful as well.
1. Create Your Guest List
- Decide on who you would like to invite. (Family? High School Barkada? Co-Parents at school? Officemates?)
- Decide on the theme of your party. (Trim the Tree? Pot Luck? Cookie Swap? White Elephant?)
- Send an invite. Remember, it doesn’t have to be formal. It just should give your guests an idea of what to expect, when to arrive, and if they should come prepared with anything.
2. Plan your Menu and Details
- Think of the dishes you would like to make, order, or request the help to prepare. Don’t try to do it all.
- Look to social media and other websites to help you in your planning and finding inspiration.
- Consider center pieces for your table, decorations, and linens
3. Create a play list
- Use your apps to help you create a play list that is fun, festive and will keep the party going long after your first guest arrives.
4. Set the Stage
- Bring all those details together to make sure that your guests enjoy themselves when they enter your home. The environment should be warm and welcoming.
- Have the table set, the candles lit, and the comforting smells of Christmas wafting through the air.
5. Set out the appetizers
- When your guests arrrive, chances are they had to brave the traffic to get to your home. Set out a plate of appetizers and snacks as well as a big batch of drinks ready to be poured.
6. Brief the help
- No matter whether you hired a caterer to take care of the details, or you have your house helpers assisting as you do it all yourself, make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
- Assign someone to replenish the appetizers or buffet and someone to refresh the powder room every hour.
7. Welcome Brigade
- When your guests arrive, give them a quick tour of the house so that they can help themselves as other guests arrive.
- Point out where the snacks are, if the boys are listening to music in the den, and where the lavatory is located. This way they do not have to interrupt and ask later.
8. Try something NEW
- Be sure to change up one detail of your event to make it memorable to your guests.
- Whether you decide to make a special dish that is not traditionally served on the holidays, or a theme, or even a game, it will end up being a hit for those who haven’t experienced or tried it before.
9. Take 5
- Everyone loves a hostess who is relaxed, calm and sure of herself.
- Make time to have a mani-pedi or a massage to pamper yourself before the party so that you can welcome them into your home at your best.
10. KEEP CALM AND PARTY ON
- Most of all, “Never let ’em see you sweat.” In other words, don’t worry if everything didn’t come together as you planned, because no one will even know the difference. Simply go with the flow and enjoy your company and the season of celebrating in gratitude.