With the Christmas and New Year’s festivities being a time to catch up with friends, chances are you’re planning to host a dinner or cocktail party in the days ahead. While hosting a large group can seem daunting, we’ve compiled our best advice for making entertaining a cinch. Read on for our tips—then sit back and enjoy the festivities!

Stay Stress Free

Prepare ahead. When festivities begin, the last thing you want is to be caught up in the kitchen rather than mingling with guests. Prepare as much of your food as you can ahead of time so you can enjoy the evening!

Time it right. Keep your party preparation organised by writing out a game plan for cooking and plating. Work backwards from the time you want dinner to be served. Does the main dish need to be in the oven for 45 minutes? Is there a side dish you can prep while the main dish cooks? You don’t want to keep hungry guests waiting or spend the whole party in the kitchen—having a schedule will keep you on track!

Get guests involved. Whether it’s your sister’s famous dessert or your best friend’s signature side dish, encourage guests to bring their favourite festive dishes along! Letting guests take care of some arrangements takes pressure off you.

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Set The Mood

Keep it cozy. When family and friends arrive at your home, you’re going to want them to feel at ease. Create an intimate environment with low, warm lighting and music!

Call the party starters. Invite your most outgoing friends to help keep the mood light and get the party started—giving you the peace of mind to finish off your dishes.

Entertaining - Tartines

The Food

Pick your star dishes. Whether it’s roasted fish or a rib roast, plan a special main course that your guests will remember. Focus on perfecting that dish and try to take the little things off your plate. For example, pick up a Cheese or Charcuterie platter from your local LPQ to start with, or outsource your side dishes (see above!). Similarly, focus on planning one impressive dessert. For extra sweet bites, you can always call us up for a platter of Mini Sweets or Tarts!

Eat with your fingers. Want to whip up some easy canapes of your own? Try passing tartines cut into tiny triangles or get creative with antipasti spreads (dollop black olive spread atop crostini).

Kick up the nut bowl. Instead of setting out bowls of plain nuts or sweets, try a more creative alternative—mixed olives, candied nuts, baked apple crisps or veggie crisps are all easy options! Use festive bowls—like our red bowls—so snacks double as decoration.

Plan your wine list. Nothing says Christmas like festive sparkling wine – choose your favourite to serve as guests arrive. For the meal, choose a white or red wine that pairs well with your main course. Finish with a homemade cocktail as you unwind after dinner.

If You’re Hosting Overnight Guests

Buy extra bread. Whether for French toast at breakfast time or sandwiches at lunch, it’s bound to get used! Try 0ur organic Walnut Bread or 5 Grain, which pair well with cheese and make great sandwich bread!

Mind the details. Make sure overnight guests continue to feel welcome after evening festivities end. An easy way to step up your breakfast is by using fun cookie cutters – perhaps shaped like reindeer or snowflakes – to make festive pancakes that will delight kids and adults alike!

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As stressful as entertaining can seem, the important thing is to remember why you’re all gathering in the first place – to enjoy time with the ones you love.

Enjoy!