Thanksgiving and Christmas makes me a giddy little girl to be able to make plans with family and friends. Its become less about the gifts and more about the people I share this time with! PS: I can’t tell you how much these pups make life SO much happier and lighter. It brings me so much joy (as I’m sure my family can attest to as well) to witness them grow up and have fun with one another. They live each moment to the fullest and it has trickled down to us as well.
Since moving to a townhouse this summer, I’ve enjoyed playing the host. I’m also one to volunteer my parents to play host on multiple occasions 🙂 I’m not a fancy gal with it comes to hosting but there are a few things I like to do to set the tone and make the evening enjoyable and stress-free for everyone (including myself) . You may be preparing to host a Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving dinner over the next few weekends so I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve adopted recently to make the most out of the night.
Set the mood with candles: To me, there is honestly nothing better than entering a home with an array of yummy candles burning with a few festive home decor elements. I mean, don’t you feel so cozy the moment you step foot into an Anthropologie? Same idea. You instantly feel at ease and in the mood to enjoy the moment. I love burning this pumpkin chai candle with this woodsy candle together – its like having a yummy cinnamon pumpkin pie baking in the oven while a fire is going. So cozy! If you’re in the Christmas spirit, I love this candle or this candle. They both smell like a Christmas tree! I also like to place a ton of little candles across the center of the table to create an intimate atmosphere while everyone sits down to eat.
Allow everyone to contribute something: I find people love to contribute and feel included in bringing their favorite dish from their childhood or perhaps they have a fun game they want to play. At least I do! Allow your guests to bring something when they ask. It makes the night more fun and collaborative. Also, don’t you love when everyone gathers around the kitchen?
Prepare his and hers festive cocktails: I’m all about a festive drink during the holidays. We made these pumpkin spice martinis last weekend and while I might have had one too many, there are so delicious. We skipped the nutmeg in the recipe and just stuck with cinnamon on top. I’m also a big fan of a warm spiced cider.
Always have white noise in the background like a football game or music: True story: I used to put football games on the background to create background noise and simply “feel” in the fall mood. It wasn’t until I started dating Brett years ago when I actually started paying attention to the game. Regardless, it makes it less awkward to have a little white noise going on in the background. If football isn’t your thing I love playing old music like Frank Sinatra or The Eagles while I cook and as guests arrive. It is very soothing…
Have a yummy appetizer ready as people trickle in: I love a good appetizer and dips are by far my guiltiest pleasure. Last weekend my dad threw together a queso dip in a small crockpot and it was SO good. It was savory, delicious, and admittedly a little filling but if you leave a holiday party without needing to change into sweatpants – did you really go to a holiday party? Recipe below!
Select a main dish that doesn’t require too much effort: I’ve become a big slow cooker fan this season. It’s so nice to throw a few simple ingredients in a slow cooker early in the day and have the time to enjoy being in the moment with your guests. My dad has also been making some killer meals with his Sous Vide this season. It requires a little bit of prep but once you throw it in, you just wait until the temperature of your meat is to your liking and you’re good to go. Both of these would make great Christmas gifts for people who like to cook.
Pick a nice wine to cheers to and will compliment your meal: Nothing like a solid red wine to cheers to when everyone sits down to eat. My sister got me addicted to Simi wine and I highly recommend checking this brand out. You can find it at most major grocery store chains. What are your favorite reds?
Entertain your guests with a fun game or prepare a bonfire outside: Playing games is optional and heavily reliant on the crowd but I have fond memories as a kid playing games with my extended family during the holidays. I’ve also enjoyed going to friends houses over the years and playing games while drinking and snacking. I love games where you have to split up into teams to win like Taboo or a Charades types of games. If games aren’t your thing I love the idea of put up a bonfire if you have a backyard so everyone can talk, drink, and possibly make smores. Brett bought this fire pit recently it was a hit the last time we hosted friends a few weeks ago as the weather started to get chillier.
Queso recipe from my dad:
– About 1 pound of hamburger
– 2 links (or about 1/2 pound) of SWEET Italian sausage… i remove the meat from the casing
– 1/2 cup of Sweet Onion
Stir in 2 large jars of Tostino jars Medium cheese sauce and 1 – 2 jabenero peppers (i put a small slice in paper)
Slowly warm up the cheese, don’t boil
Add 1 pound of real grated cheese (your fav).. i prefer the mild, inexpensive cheese