Celebrity Lifestyle Expert and Best-Selling Author Dawn Bryan Offers Ten Tips for Hosting This Holiday Season
November 30, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- Whether the Holiday is Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas Eve, Kwanza, or the New Year, these occasions are meant to be shared with an abundance of good food and drink, good conversation, and good cheer. In addition, the thoughtful host will know how to provide a welcoming atmosphere of warmth and conviviality.
Dawn Bryan,author of the best selling “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving,” Celebrity protocol and etiquette expert and founder ofQualipedia, a consumer information and lifestyle website, offers the following tips that will help you to put that personal signature on your own entertaining:
1. Plan with Personal Style: Plan a party that you would enjoy attending yourself. Once the party starts make sure to be a guest at your own party!
2. Don't Over Extend Yourself: Make sure you do not over-stretch, over-reach, or under-estimate the time and resources required, especially at holiday time when both are at a minimum. Make lists and notes, which will compel you to be realistic about your time and money.
3. Be Creative: If you do not have the space or facilities to prepare and serve an entire meal, be creative with a dessert party, an after-the-caroling reception, or a honey, salt or wine tasting. Then make it your signature annual event!
4. A Versatile Menu: If you have little help with serving, select a versatile menu that can be served either hot or cold, minimizing your need to run back and forth to the kitchen.
5. Create From Many Sources: You do not need to be a great cook to give a great party. Choose your menu from take-out foods, platters or casseroles from local restaurants, prepared food from your grocery store, food specialty store, deli, catalog or on-line. On the other hand, combine packaged and prepared foods with fresh fruits or vegetables. Your finishing touches will make it your creation, for example, placing the food into hollowed-out breads or vegetables; arranging onto antique serving platters or trays; setting the bowl in middle of a holiday wreath; garnishing dishes with foliage from your yard.
6. Organize Food and Drink Stations: Placefood and drink (except maybe for nuts and nibbles) in separate locations. This helps with "crowd control" and diminishes the likelihood of spilling drinks and dropping plates.
7. Prepare for Children: Accomodate them with their own play and eating area, activities, and easy-to-eat foods and contained drinks.
8. Greet Your Guests: Your or another family member should make every effort to make guests feel welcome as soon as they arrive. For a guest to find no one at the door, then have to figure out where to put coats and boots, then finally wander into the kitchen to discover that the host's head is in the oven is not very welcoming.
9. Don't Micro-Manage. Relax. After guests arrive, allow things to flow. However, do be sure that arrivals who may not know your other guests are properly introduced. Prior to their arrival, you can ask a friend to "look out" for them.
10. Select Music: to complement, not dominate, the party. It should be compatible with your guests" tastes, non-repetitious, and should be louder at the beginning of the party when there are fewer guests and you want people to converse, than later on when people may be forced to raise their voices to be heard in conversation.
Dawn’s bonus tip: Always send guests home with a small goody bag: Christmas stocking, bagels or donuts for breakfast, a magazine, a holiday poem, a 2012 calendar, small bags of your special fudge or macaroons, a tree ornament.