With the holiday season upon us, many are planning special celebrations with family and friends. Opening your home to share with others is one of the great joys of the season. However, with so much to do this time of year, sometimes big celebrations can create stress.
When planning your holiday party, it’s important to minimize the stress so that you can truly enjoy your guest. You don’t want to run yourself ragged and feel frantic rather than fantastic! When hosting a holiday celebrations, your spirit will set the mood for a successful celebration.
With these thoughts in mind, today I am sharing ideas that I like to keep in mind when I open my home to share with my family and friends. My hope is that these thoughts will allow you to approach your holiday entertaining with joy and avoid some of the stress that can be overwhelming this time of year.
- Let Go of Perfection – Setting yourself up for perfection will do nothing but create anxiety and stress. Instead of worrying about creating the “perfect party”, concentrate on the comfort of your guest. When you put the focus on doing for others, you think less about yourself. Nothing is more welcoming than a hostess who really cares about the comfort of her guest.
- Set Your Priorities – Remember often less is more. Plan for what you know you can handle with grace and ease. Stick with what you know and are comfortable with. No need to have a multi-course meal. Plan a few amazing appetizers instead. Serving buffet style is simpler than a sit down affair. Keep it casual and fun!
- Make a list and check it twice! – Planning is a key ingredient to successful entertaining. Begin planning your party preparations as soon as possible. Try making a manageable daily schedule assigning yourself a small task for each day. Begin with decorations and nonperishable items that are easy to stock and purchase in advance. Order items on-line whenever possible to save time. Shop for grocery items a few days in advance and plan to prepare a few items the night before. Even better, prepare a few dished you can freeze in advance.
- Delegate Whenever Possible – Don’t feel like you have to do every little thing on your own. Enlist a good friend or your spouse to help. Consider ordering desserts from a bakery or appetizers from your grocer. Do not feel like you have to prepare all food items from scratch!
- Plan a Beverage Station – Consider serving a premixed beverage for your guest like a Sangria or Champagne Punch. Have these drinks in containers in the frig and ready to go. Set out glasses and and ice bucket in a convenient location and have guest serve themselves.
- Be Ready! – Prepare the table and all the decorations the night before. You can even do fresh flower arrangements a day or two in advance. Nothing says “Welcome to my home” like having simple fresh flowers and candles burning filling your home with delightful aromas.
- Make a time schedule – The day of the party, make a time schedule for whatever tasks need to be completed. Make sure in your schedule you allow yourself some time to relax and refresh!
- Relax and Enjoy! – Greet your guest with a smile and a hug! Remember to put the focus on their comfort and enjoy!
True hospitality consists of giving the best of
yourself to your guest.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Wishing you all great joy this holiday season! – xxoo Gerri
Recently, I acquired this beautiful Mason & Hamlin piano. It originally belonged to my grandmother and was given to my mother so that I could take lessons. It has now come to live in my home.
We believe it was purchased in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. We had to have it completely restored – all new wooden keys. The needle point cover on the bench was actually done by my grandmother. I have thought about creating some kind of covering to protect it, but that is still just an idea that I am playing with in my head.
When the piano arrived in my home, just before Christmas, I really didn’t have a good spot for it. My home is completely furnished. When something new comes in, something old has to leave. So, we moved a large China hutch to make room for it in the Dining Room/ Foyer. I tossed a few framed pictures on it and there it sat, totally neglected of style.
One of the great things about blogging and following other blogs is the inspiration that you find from others. A favorite blog that I follow is the lovely lizmarieblog. She has a beautiful farmhouse that she is restoring. I love and admire her quintessential farmhouse style. She recently posted about painting her piano white. You can read all about that here. It looks amazing in her home, but I know I could never paint this piano. I am not at all opposed to painting old furniture, it just wouldn’t be right in this case. However, she did inspire me to accept what I have and to get busy and make it work in our house. Thank you for your inspiration Liz Marie.
So, first I shopped my house pulling items from the living room and bedroom. We have a Chris Hartsfield original watercolor titled “Napa & Vine” hanging over the piano. I wanted to accent the apple greens in the painting with some apple green vases I purchased a few years ago. I also had a few other decorative items with that color to create the vignettes on top of the piano.
Although I am one of those who is constantly changing and moving things around in my home to keep the ambiance cozy and fresh, I believe I will be happy with this “quick redo” for quite awhile. I am pleased to have this piano in my home. It carries with it so many fond memories and I hope that it will eventually be passed on to my children and grandchildren.
Summer’s warmer temperatures and longer days offer the perfect invitation to escape life’s frantic pace in the sanctuary of a backyard oasis. This is a place to relax in complete privacy away from the hustle and bustle of vacation crowds and enjoy the company of treasured family and friends. It is peaceful and serene, an ideal spot to escape a too busy world with a cool drink in hand.
Our backyard entertainment includes watching the birds and squirrels play as the tall pines gently sway in the warm, summer breeze. There are hummingbirds that chase each other from feeder to hibiscus and then off and away. Of course, there is always Bear (our dog) and Heisenberg (our cat) chasing each other around the yard adding a comical element.
Our backyard sanctuary is a favorite place for summer entertaining. Focusing on simplicity, this is the perfect spot for relaxed summer entertaining with family and friends. Here are my tips for creating a simple, summer barbeque.
Be ready for those uninvited guests – bugs! Where I live, it’s a good idea to fog to minimize mosquito attacks. It’s also effective to have some bug wipes on hand to offer guests as needed. Citronella candles are another way of keeping those pesky insects away. Try displaying them in colorful lanterns for a festive feeling.
- Make it easy on yourself by making preparations ahead of time. Summer buffets are excellent, but for a small group, I usually have the table set and ready to go.
- Keep the food simple and light. I prefer salads I can prepare ahead of time. This leaves me plenty of time to visit with my guests when they arrive. Vegetable or fruit trays are another easy option for carefree entertaining.
- Fire up the grill. My husband is a mean grill master and serves up great summer barbeque menu. Whether you choose chicken, steaks, or your basic hamburger, it’s bound to taste great when you cook it on the grill!
- Relax and enjoy! Keep it simple! It’s all about spending a special time with family and friends!