(Family Features) With each holiday season comes joy, laughter and celebrations with family and friends. However, all that revelry takes time. Fortunately, there are ways to keep the planning and preparation for holiday entertaining from infringing on your enjoyment of all the holidays have to offer.
This year, create a simple menu and make it easier to minimize your time spent preparing and maximize your time entertaining guests with these simple tips.
Clean efficiently. Get all hands on deck so you aren’t trying to clean the entire house alone. Whether you assign each person a task such as dusting or vacuuming that they do through the entire house, or each person tackles a room from top to bottom, the extra hands will make the worktime shorter. Before your big cleaning day, be sure to take inventory of your cleaning supplies and ensure you have everything you need on hand.
Menu shortcuts. A successful holiday host knows how to simplify meal preparation without sacrificing taste. Idahoan Signature Russets Mashed Potatoes – which can be made in only five minutes – are packaged mashed potatoes worthy of being served during a holiday dinner. With a nice, smooth taste and just a hint of butter and cream, they taste as good as if you peeled, boiled and mashed them yourself.
Prep in advance. Rather than rushing around the morning of the get-together, take care of as much of the party setup as you can the night before. For example, you can set the table, put up decorations and adjust furniture for easier movement and conversation before the big day arrives. Pay attention to the details, too. Don’t wait until your first guest arrives to make space in the coat closet or figure out where the ladies can store their purses.
Create a staging area. As the party unfolds, you’ll undoubtedly need to access an array of items that you’d rather not leave sitting out. Designate a nearby area (such as the laundry room) where you can stash things like extra trash bags, stain remover for spills and other necessities.
Keep decorations simple. It’s easy to get carried away in the holiday spirit, but less really can be more when it comes to decorating. Focus on your entryway so guests arrive to a festive setting, but round out the decor with small touches that make a big impact, such as table centerpieces, mantle ornaments and seasonal bouquets or stacks of empty boxes wrapped in pretty paper scattered about the home. Another trick for trimming: elevate your look and make it pop by limiting your decorating theme to just one or two colors.
Find more deliciously simple holiday entertaining ideas at idahoan.com.
Family at table image courtesy of Getty Images