6 Tips for Hosting The Holidays

The heart of great entertaining is Simplicity. It’s that easy! Just be true to who you are and everything will fall into place. Creating an illusion of effortlessness is what sets the tone for your guests to enjoy the evening being inspired. Below are some of our favorite tips to help you plan and organize a Holiday Dinner Party to remember for years to come.

1. Relax, Relax, Relax

Try and stay relaxed. If you’re relaxed, your guests will be too! As the host, you set the vibe for the evening. Enjoy the drinks and the food and your guests will follow suit. Remember: YOU GOT THIS! Stay cool and composed even if you see a drink spill or food fall on the floor. Your guests will be amazed at how unflustered you are. Like the old saying goes: “EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY” with your guests and your party will be a hit.

2. Keep Your Menu Simple

Most of us tend to complicate things, even when planning a menu for a dinner party. Stick to tried and true recipes that you know how to prepare well. Your main meal should be able to be prepared almost entirely before your guests arrive. Here’s a sample menu idea for you to WOW your guests: a juicy Herb Crusted Prime Rib, Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecan and Pancetta and Ginger & Orange Glazed Baby Carrots. Now, doesn’t that sound yummy and mouth watering?? And, easy to plan ahead. Always remember to keep water on the table and to always have a good wine on the table during dinner.

And for Dessert: Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Mascarpone Frosting and Sugared Cranberries for Garnish!! I might not be able to wait for the Holidays…this dessert is DELICIOUS!!

3. Don’t Cordon Off the Kitchen

Make your guests feel welcome in the kitchen. For most, the kitchen is the sanctuary for conversation and congregation. Set up your Hors D’Oeuvres on the kitchen island so you can enjoy your guests as you put the finishing touches on dinner. What’s better than food, drinks, friends and good conversation?

4. Stock the Bar

Make sure your bar is stocked for the Holiday Festivities. Below is a list of what to have behind the bar to create crowd pleasing cocktails. Oh, and please be responsible and have a phone number for a car service at hand so everyone can get home safe!!


  • Hendricks Gin
  • Belvedere Vodka
  • Elijah Craig Small Batch 12yr. Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • St. Germain Champagne
  • Spectacular Ginger Beer
  • Simple Syrup
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Club Soda and Tonic Water
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Lemons, Limes, Oranges, and Olives

5. Decor and Table Decor​​​​​​​

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Decorating is NOT difficult. Again… stay true to yourself and create the atmosphere you would like for the evening. From the invite, to the table decor to the music, the aesthetic should be consistent and reflect your taste rather than thinking about what’s proper or what your guests would do. Create a welcoming experience whether it’s a more formal feeling or a more informal feeling. Formal styles have a more refined ambience. And informal styles have a colorful mix that is more lighthearted and whimsical.

6. Cue the Music

Create your playlist ahead of time and pick songs you love. The music is about welcoming guests into your domain and it will make them feel happy and relaxed. Music is the best way to take your evening from just dinner to a dinner PARTY!!!

Enjoy the moment as the holidays go by quickly. We wish all of you a very Merry Holiday and a New Year to outshine all past New Years!!

And, one last thing…

The best dinner parties run lon!g, with old stories shared over twice filled coffee cups and warmed brandy… CHEERS!!

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John Flanagan has been a successful Realtor on the Main Line and Philadelphia for 17 years and has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers exceed their real estate goals. Contact us today!
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