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Holiday Entertaining

The holiday season is upon us! Tis the time for celebrations, from elegant cocktail and dinner parties to fun, festive events! If you are hosting family and friends this December, you may find the following entertaining tips to be of interest. With careful planning and thoughtful styling, your gathering can be the party to remember!

Hosting a holiday soirée, big or small, can be stressful, but there are a few things that great hosts know about keeping their festive cool. While the dining room remains a classic space to entertain, consider exploring the lesser-used rooms of your home to create a magical setting. Shift the mood from the expected to the exceptional! Even during this chilly month, exterior heaters can turn balconies, solariums and patios into additional space for mingling!

Inject joie de vivre into your party’s timing and theme. A cocktail party is time-honored, but perhaps an early farm-to-table dinner would be more appreciated by your guests during a busy season? Consider adding variety to the social calendar with a mid-afternoon themed lunch or an extravagant weekend breakfast. A novel approach to a gathering can be a welcome and appreciated change of pace.

Hosting a dinner party? Ensure your evening has at least one fantastic, powerful visual to get the party started. Whether you opt for over the top floral arrangements or a whimsically decorated twelve-foot tree, give your party a central focus to make an impression. Not only will it be an excellent topic of conversation, a piece of fanciful décor will keep your evening in people’s minds long after the night is over.

Another way to add flair to your festivities is to be creative with your menu. Stage a mix of serving stations, each with a carefully-considered hors d’oeuvre or entrée offering. Make your guests feel extra special with small plates that are prepared individually, like prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears, coconut shrimp or expertly sliced beef tenderloin set atop miniature Yorkshire puddings. Consider bringing in local chefs to prepare oysters on the half shell (perhaps from Oakville’s own Mermaid & The Oyster?) or delectable sushi (Mye, perhaps?), among other specialty items. Oakville is also home to several excellent caterers!

Whether it is prompting guests with questions in advance of the party or inviting attendees to share a favorite holiday memory, great hosts know that inviting people into their home is just the beginning. From the first welcome to the final send-off, set your guests up for social success by connecting them with people you know they’ll like and perhaps have something in common with.

Offering a signature drink is a wonderful way to set the tone for your holiday gathering. Consider giving an old classic a festive spin, like a cinnamon rosemary Old Fashioned, or a Holiday Manhattan, which incorporates pomegranate and molasses.  Or perhaps an Irish Martini!! Add rosemary sprigs or sage leaves as garnishes and select complementing glassware to integrate a color palette or design theme.

Invite guests to take part in the creation of the signature drink you’ve selected with a self-serve station—and seize the opportunity to tie the instructions and drink components in with your décor. Combine this with a staffed bar so that guests have access to a professional, should they so desire.

With a few preparations and carefully considered lists, you will be well on your way to creating the most memorable fête of the season. The most important thing to remember is that if you enjoy yourself, your guests will too!!

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