The holiday season is synonymous with family parties and New Year’s Eve dinners. It’s all very nice when you’re a guest and all you need to do is pull up a chair but if you’re the host or hostess it can be a really stressful affair. So how do you organise a successful party or dinner without the usual worries?
Good preparation is half the work
Draw up a detailed list beforehand of everything you’ll need, both in the kitchen (ingredients and drinks) and the party table (napkins, table linen, additional cutlery, glasses or plates). Prepare separate lists for what you already have in the house and what you still need to buy. It’s a good idea to stock up as soon as possible on all supplies that do not need to be bought fresh. We all know how busy those supermarkets get during the holiday season.
When compiling the menu, go for dishes that can be prepared in advance whenever you can. Also, be sure to start on time as this will enable you to spend more time with your guests and you’ll be much more relaxed.
A cosy atmosphere is another thing that can be prepared in detail. Set the party table the night before and compile a play list for the event. Dim the lights and light the candles one hour before the guests arrive– both the setting and your guests will look better in a subtly lit environment.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot in the kitchen
Are you cooking for a large group of people? Then choose dishes you’ve prepared before. Your guests will enjoy a relaxed host(ess) more than they will the latest culinary trends. In other words, there’s no shame in playing it safe.
Include one show stopper in your menu. This is something your guests will remember much longer than a slew of culinary feats. Baking your own bread or biscuits or preparing your own desserts may look great on Instagram but this is not the time to showcase the full extent of your kitchen talents. There’s undoubtedly an excellent pastry chef near your home.
As for hors d’oeuvres, your local caterer or supermarket will have everything you need. And if you insist on serving cocktails to go with them instead of the usual bubbly then opt for a bowl you can prepare beforehand or let your guests serve themselves.
Another golden kitchen rule: clean up as you’re making preparations and cooking food! It keeps the kitchen organised and there’s no mountain of dirty dishes, pots and pans to clean once the guests have gone. Don’t worry about the occasional spill because all Quick-Step floors have a protective coating. Stains are easily removed with a dry or damp cloth.
Go for a hospitable floor
There’s no need to do the spring cleaning. No one will notice those freshly dusted cornices or ironed kitchen towels. What really matters is the overall impression so concentrate on those rooms the guests will actually see! Make sure they are nice and tidy and add the odd festive touch.
Are you expecting a truckload of guests and are you worried as to what your floor will look like afterwards? There’s no need: all Quick-Step floors are scratch-resistant and easy to clean. For your own peace of mind, you can place a clean mat or floor cloth at the entrances and exits to keep out most of the dirt and moisture.
If you need to move around the furniture be sure to slide a blanket underneath first. It’s practical and protects your floor from damage. If you’re expecting the furniture to be moved during the event – for instance to create a dance floor later in the evening – then affix felt pads to the legs of chairs, sofas and tables.
Put down (small) rugs in intensively used areas so the floor doesn’t get dirty, for instance in front of the kitchen sink or the washbasin in the toilet, or under the coffee or dining table. When the last of the guests have left for home, give the floor a quick once-over with a damp floor cloth. That way you won’t have to mop the floor the next day…
here for more tips on how to keep your floor in tip-top shape.
From all of us here, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!