A New Concept in Independent Living

6 Ideas for Hassle-free Holiday Entertaining

Easy Ideas for Your Gathering

At first glance, "low-key holiday celebration" sounds like a contradiction. Can an event indeed be festive if it doesn't involve roasting an enormous bird, baking an army of gingerbread men and sourcing hard-to-find craft beers for your hard-to-please son-in-law? We say that it can. Not only that, but many of your guests would prefer you to have fun at your own party rather than spend the whole time prepping, serving, pouring and cleaning. Here's how to entertain during holidays without exhausting yourself.

Number 1: Prepare ahead Many classic holiday dishes are perfect for home cooks who don't like to hurry since they can be made days or even weeks in advance. Soak dried fruits in rum or brandy for a decadent Christmas pudding. Poach pears in red wine and then let them rest in their own syrup in the refrigerator. Dazzle your dinner guests with mini Beef Wellingtons you prepped a month ago, froze and then baked on the day.

Number 2: Don't try to please everyone Your bash, your menu. Quiz your guests about any food allergies or dietary restrictions, but don’t ask for requests unless you want to spend the next two weeks making five different “must-have” desserts. If your friends are fussy eaters, stick to tried-and-true crowd-pleasers like roast beef, mashed potatoes and apple pie.

Number 3: Get a little help from your friends If you’ve been whipping up holiday feasts solo for the past 30 years, asking for help may feel like admitting defeat. In fact, it’s a victory for common sense and the Prime philosophy of having more fun in your golden years. Do you have a friend famed for their white chocolate and cranberry cheesecake? Or a grandkid who loves compiling festive playlists? They will be delighted to pitch in, giving you more time to focus on what’s most important.

Number 4: Mix a signature cocktail It’s every host’s worst nightmare: You ask a guest what they’d like to drink and spend the next half-hour rummaging around for that bottle of pear schnapps you last saw 10 years ago. Avert this scenario by announcing in advance that you will be serving your signature Holiday Mai Tai, Christmas Punch or New Year’s Negroni. If that’s not to people’s tastes, they can bring a bottle of whatever they fancy.

Number 5: Help guests to help themselves The superpower all hosts crave is to be everywhere at once. You can’t meet, greet, mingle and serve simultaneously, which leads to awkward stretches where guests sit empty-handed or (worse) invade your kitchen looking for snacks. Put out plates of nibbles and have your signature cocktail ready to pour so that you can put newcomers at ease with minimal effort. A pull-apart Christmas loaf makes a great centerpiece that guests can snack on long before the main courses arrive.

Number 6: Bring out the charcuterie There are a couple of reasons you should have a board or two laden with cheeses and cold cuts. First, you can prepare it hours in advance, giving you more time to focus on your mains and sides. Second, it solves the problem of gauging portion sizes when (as is inevitable) some guests eat more than others. You can serve everyone a medium-sized portion and let the epicures fill up at the cheeseboard.

Unsure of your charcuterie skills? We can help. Sign up for our Charcuterie and Champagne event or any of our other holiday events, and let’s get the party started!

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