Party Like a Pro -- Holiday Entertaining Made Simple

French onion dipEvery year I throw a big holiday party. I used to have it the Saturday before Christmas but found that too many people have too many conflicts. And I’m one of those people who is silly enough to get hurt when my best buddies choose to attend a distant aunt’s gift exchange over my fabulous bash. So I just started rotating the date. One year I’ll have it the weekend after Thanksgiving and, the next year, the weekend after New Year’s. It’s worked out really well this way. It lets me enjoy the holidays without the added stress of a party smack in the middle and my guests seem to like it, too. They count on my party as either the kick-off or the grand finale of the holiday season.


There are certain staples that I serve year-after-year, like my famous Hellman’s Creamy Spinach Dip and Chipotle Onion Dip. Because, admit it, everyone loves a good dip at a party! And every host loves a quick and easy winner! I chop up lots of fresh veggies to alleviate the guilt and make sure to always, always use Hellman’s mayonnaise with its real, simple ingredients -- eggs, vinegar, and quality oil. I’ll skimp on a lot of things -- but never on my mayonnaise!

Though I serve mostly appetizers, I always try a new “main” dish every year. I look for something delicious that can be doubled (or tripled or even quadrupled!) and prepared a day or two ahead. Then all I have to do is pop it in the oven right before the party starts. This year, I discovered the perfect recipe that fits right in with the whole holiday theme. Check out the video below to see how simple this Creamy Turkey Casserole is to make.

My favorite foods to make are, hands-down, desserts! I don’t go crazy with anything super fancy or messy. I make a ton of cookies, brownies, lemon squares, meringues, and other finger foods. Everyone looks forward to my dessert display, and no one more than me! This is the one time of the year when I really let go and forget all about counting calories.

I stick to wine, beer, and soda to keep the costs and the choices down. I stock up on quality paper goods throughout the year when there’s a sale and do as much in advance as possible (including cleaning out the coat closet!). Throwing a party isn’t as overwhelming as you might imagine. All you have to do is invite good friends, serve good food, and have a good time. Try it. It might become a habit!

How do you keep from getting stressed when you entertain?

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