Happy Small Business Saturday! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and you are out shopping and supporting LOCAL!

I was flattered to be an invited guest on the Fat Cat Cooking Show, which aired today on #iheartradio WCWA1230 at Noon. As promised here are my tips for entertaining at home during the holiday season:

  • Set your table the 2 days before. Whether it’s a buffet or sit down dinner. Pull out all your serving dishes and mark each one with a post-it of its corresponding dish and serving wear. By doing this 2 days before you realize if you need to polish something or borrow something and this gives you a day to prepare.
  • Clean out your fridge and your medicine cabinet. People are noisy. Make sure your fridge doesn't have left over food dripping down the side and is not stocked to the brim (after all where are you going to put left overs). Also make sure when guests go to the bathroom your medical or personal secrets are stashed away.
  • Set boundaries. If you are having a large party and friends are bringing a 'plus one' who you are meeting for the first time, it might be a good idea to put a lock on your bedroom door. Keep your money, jewelry and other personal items safe and private. This is also a great place to stash those little projects you didn't quite get to. Behind the couch doesn't work. If its reachable - it can be seen.
  • If budget allows, hire a helping hand. There’s nothing better than using your china and not having to do the dishes. As I say, "Use the good stuff if you have it". If you have someone managing the kitchen during a party – sit down dinner or mingle - having someone to keep up on dishes, make sure bottles of wine are open and ready, etc. If its not in your budget, then don’t spend your evening doing dishes when you should be entertaining friends. Instead stack them neatly next to the sink. As long as food is not sitting on them, fine china can be cleaned the next day, no harm done.
  • Buy some take home containers for guests. Like most hosts you are going to over buy, over cook and have left overs. Send guests home with their favorite dishes
  • Make sure you have a great flow of traffic with your furniture. You may have to remove some items and bring in standing bistro tables to allow more areas for guests to set their drinks. This is inexpensive rental and worth it.
  • If your event is not a formal dinner, prepare a menu that has bite sized food or easy to eat with just a fork. Guests cannot juggle a glass of wine, eat with a set of silverware, and manage their plate. Besides smaller items allow for easy bites and easier conversation.

  • Forget the ice. People often rely on the ice maker and it just can’t pull its weight. You need ice to chill down drinks prior to and also serve at the bar.
  • Neglect your bathroom. People are going to frequent the bathroom so stock up on toilet paper. And if you are on a septic tank, use the cheap stuff (were you wondering where I was going with that on air - now you know!). Nothing is more expensive than the amount of champagne you are going to serve than calling a plumber at 10pm and having him clear your pipes. Check the waste basket always make sure hand towels are available. 
  • Overwhelm your guests with scented candles and plug-ins that fight with the delicious smells of your home cooking. Keep the smelly candles for the bathroom.
  • Get too comfortable. Work the room. Introduce new people. Therefore you probably won’t each much. So be sure to help yourself to your food while preparing it.

I think the best holiday decor is some of the easiest. Real, fresh evergreen foliage and Christmas bulbs are some of my favorites. I have listed several ideas on my Pinterest page. You will find an eclectic collection from traditional to playful. 
Enjoy, and happy planning!