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8 Tips for Holiday Entertaining From Southern Season

Whether you’re having a full Christmas dinner, a holiday party with a few friends or attending a multitude of gatherings, your hosting skills will be put to the test this season. There are cookies to bake, gifts to buy, tables to decorate and wine to pair. Culinary mecca Southern Season is your Southern destination for specialty food products and cookware, but if you can’t get there to take advantage of their expertise, these tips will help you act as the perfect host — and guest — this holiday season.

1. Need a quick hostess gift? Stick with a household staple like wine or a candle. Buy a cute Christmas wine bag or cork to pair with the wine, and opt for a candle in a festive scent to bring the Christmas cheer.

2. Make several different kinds of your favorite drop cookies. Place them close together on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze them. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to freezer-safe Ziploc bags that are marked with the cooking temperature and instructions. Use them throughout the holiday season as needed — they’ll only take a few minutes longer to cook right out of the freezer. Your home will be filled with the smell of fresh baked cookies all season long!

3. Don’t stress if you don’t want to invest in a full holiday dinnerware set. Choose select festive pieces like salad plates, mugs and platters that blend with your everyday dinnerware.

4. When hosting overnight guests, strata is a great option for breakfast or lunch and can be a complete meal if it includes vegetables and protein. Assemble it the night before for the best results (and a stress-free morning). Biscotti and granola also keep for a long time and can be made ahead. Add fresh fruit and yogurt, and you’ll be good to go.

5. If you’re hosting a casual get together, don’t be afraid to use paper. Paper companies like Meri Meri and Caspari are making plates and napkins with an array of patterns that are beautiful and festive. And the best part is it makes clean up a cinch.

6. Pairing wine with your Christmas meal can pose a bit of an issue – it needs to be something that can stand up to the rich, earthy, salty and, at times, sweet and savory fare – something with fruit, power and acid. One easy answer? Invite Rosé to the party. The Vigneti Massa Rosato ‘Terra: Sic Est’ has both power and structure while offering bright acidity that works well with heavier meals. It’s a true red wine drinker’s Rosé.

7. Plan ahead. Think of what you can do several weeks ahead, such as purchasing table decorations, candles and pre-made snacks, and go ahead and mark those off the list. Iron the tablecloth and napkins, polish the silver. Then make a list of semi-perishable items that be purchased a week ahead and perishable items that can be purchased a couple of days ahead. This will greatly ease the pain of last minute shopping trips.

8. Make sitting down to dinner fun for the whole table by placing Christmas crackers at every place setting. An old English tradition, party crackers usually contain a hat, a joke and a small gift for each guest to enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Southern Season. 

Literary Friday, Edi
A Smokies Christmas
  • Laurie / April 4, 2016

    This year I will be hosting for the first time, and I am super nervous – so I am already planning ahead. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  • Meagan / April 15, 2016

    I love hosting dinner for holidays or just because. These are all great tips. I really for your tip for the cookies. I never thought about that. I am always making them the day of. Thanks for sharing!