Holiday Cheese Board

#4PM Panic: Holiday Hosting Tips and Tricks

This recipe and photos were provided by Sally Roeckell of Table and Dish and were originally published at 365Barrington.com.

The holidays are a joyful time filled with friends, family and great food, but sometimes a house-full of guests is overwhelming. From shopping, to meal prep, to decor and atmosphere there are a lot of little details that go into holiday hosting. Ease the stresses of entertaining this season with these seven tried and true tips for holiday entertaining.

1. Plan early and shop ahead of time

Holidays are a great time to splurge on the best ingredients. Start slowly stocking your pantry now with quality staples. Don’t forget to order your Turkey. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Try adding quince paste to your cheese board. This year we are going to roast chestnuts. Can you believe I’ve never done it?

2. Set the table ahead of time

Plan your table scape and map out your dishes. I put post it notes on the table where the serving dishes belong. Wash and polish china and silver days before. stack everything on the table and cover with an extra table cloth so it doesn’t get dusty. On the day of the celebration you can easily put everything in place.

3. Be creative and industrious with decorations

Use items that are already on your shopping list. Use seasonal foods such as fruits and squashes that you can easily cook in the days after your celebration. Add fresh herbs to your holiday bouquets to add a fresh savory scent to your table. You can freeze or dry them later or use them in your left over preparations. Nothing should be wasted.

4. Make a great play list

Let the kids help. Yes, football is usually on in the living room and all the parades are on TV all day but having a good playlist in the kitchen, not too loud to drown out the scores of the game, will make the work all the more fun. Have a second seated dinner play list for background music while you eat. Keep it low and instrumental so it doesn’t interfere with conversation but just elevates to festivities.

5. Cook in advance as much as possible

5-7 days prior, Clean out the fridge and freezer, making sure that you have enough room for what you will purchase. 2-3 days prior, make side dishes that can be reheated the day of and take anything out of the freezer that will need to thaw out. The day before is a great time to bake your pies, many of which can be left at room temperature when they are done. You can also prep your salad and vegetables, so that on Thanksgiving Day you can just assemble everything.Prepping everything so far in advance mean all you have to focus on is the star of the show, the turkey. We roast our turkey on the grill out side freeing up the oven space for heating up sides.

6. Let guests bring dishes

If your guests offer, allow them to bring a dish. Just be specific about what you need — you don’t want three apple pies. OR, maybe you do!

7. Allow guests to help clean up

This might depend on what type of party you are hosting. If your house if full of close family and friends they will most likely be happy to at least clear the food from the table. Even if you scrape and rinse the plates to stack them aside to wash later it will at least clear the clutter leaving room for after dinner cocktails, coffee and dessert. Turn the music up and make the process part of the party.

If you are looking for more holiday entertaining inspiration, try these tips and recipes. They are sure make your to bring memorable festive cheer to your gathering.

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