Shake things up with your menu
When planning your menu for the evening, you may want to text or call your guests about any dietary restrictions. Your little cousin could have developed an allergy, or your health-obsessed Aunt could have made the switch to vegetarianism– so it’s a good idea to let them know what’s on the menu before you start prepping it.
Many families like to stick with the classics for their holiday dinner: turkey, cranberries, stuffing. But if you’re really trying to make the meal memorable, consider shaking things up with the menu a little bit. Maybe this is the year for surf n’ turf, or that elaborate taco spread you and your sibling joke about (but deep down, really want) every year.
If the main course is too precious to alter, then start small and mix it up with the appetizers. Swap out your cheeseball forthese baked tortellini bites. Or instead of crackers, you could try this garlic parmesan pull apart bread.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when planning your menu, even if it means skipping some of the “classics”. It’s never too late to start new traditions!
Create a signature cocktail for the evening
There are a few fundamentals for a fun and memorable holiday gathering: delicious food, fulfilling conversation, and spirits! A festive signature cocktail for the evening will take your party from “that was fun”, to “that was the best night ever”.
Try this grapefruit and rosemary gin cocktail by the world-renowned bartender and‘Good Together’ cookbook author, Mr. Lyan. It’s deliciously on-point for holiday celebrations, with a refreshing flavor and beautiful presentation, featuring fresh sprigs of rosemary and grapefruit zest for garnish. This easy-to-make cocktail will take your hosting game to the next leveland leave your guests begging for the recipe.
Grapefruit & Rosemary gin Cocktail Recipe
- 3 grapefruits
- 100g/4oz sugar
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bottle London dry gin
- Cubed ice
- Chilled ginger ale, to finish
- Grapefruit, to garnish
- Zest the grapefruit using a peeler.
1. Add the grapefruit peel along with the sugar, rosemary and gin to a large jar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Allow to infuse for a few hours (or up to a day), then strain through a sieve. Store in the fridge.
3. To serve, fill a highball with cubes of ice and add 2 shots of the infusion. Top with chilled ginger ale, stir and add a slice of grapefruit.
Make a cozy space for your overnight guests
Whether it's for your out-of-town cousins, or the aunt who drank a little too much at dinner, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for an overnight guest.
If you don’t have a designated guest room, work with what you’ve got and create your own. It could be an air mattress in your living room, or a makeshift bed in the office. With a few subtle touches to dress up the space, it will be looking like a real guest room in no time!
Room dividers are great for creating privacy, and chairs or stools work well as makeshift nightstands. Once you make the bed with your softest sheets and blankets, place a little note and some fresh cut flowers on the night stand. If you have a spare, eye masks (and potentially ear plugs) make a big difference in sleep quality, too. Little gestures like this really go a long way at making your guest feel welcome in your home.
Set the mood
Hosting the perfect holiday gathering requires more than a well planned and thoughtful lineup of food and beverages. Setting the mood for the evening is a crucial, and often overlooked, piece to the puzzle.
The most straightforward way to set a calm and inviting atmosphere is with mood lighting. Dim the lights ever so slightly, and stock up on candles to light and place around the house. If you opt out of scented candles, be sure to make up for the lack of aroma with somediffusers or room spray. The scent of a space really sets the tone, so winter scents like frasier fir or apple cinnamon are ideal.
If you’re the one who typically hosts your family for the holidays, then your Christmas decor is likely something they anticipate every year. From the tiny handmade figurines delicately placed on the staircase, to the festive garland hanging from the archway, and the antique Christmas village display– they count on your decorations being immaculate every year. So if you’ve finished decorating, but still feel like some elements of decor are missing, then it sounds like you’re due for a trip toZinnia’s Gift Boutique: your go-to for festive and unique holiday decorations. From hand made ornaments, to themed napkins and table top arrangements, you will find exactly what you need to take your Christmas decor to that “wow” level.
Finally, ask Alexa to play one of Spotify's best Christmas playlists, and you’re ready for the evening to commence.