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‘Tis the season to be jolly and host a party! Does holiday party planning leave you stressed and regretting inviting guests?
Inviting friends and family into your home should be fun, not extreme work! After 24 years of hosting parties with my hubby, I think I have my simple system down to a stress-free fun event!
When asked to share the Walgreens Holiday Guide with over $75 in coupon savings plus Balance Reward Points, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to not only share one of my favorite stores, but get to share some of my learned tips for party planning!
My teen daughter, Ashlyn loves the chance to head to Walgreens with me. Have you checked out their cosmetics section? It has to be the best out there! So while she picked out some of her needs and wants, I shopped for a little get together for that very night. The kids had last-minute friends coming over, and I wanted to make it special for them!
Walgreens also has a well-stocked grocery section. The Good & Delish store brand has got everything! This is just a sampling of what they had to offer!
I purchased multiples of these products for a last-minute teen get-together. Good & Delish offers premium snacks, ice cream, chocolates, nuts, gourmet appetizers, party snacks, and various other snack ideas.
We have a large center island which is great for casual entertaining! To make it less kitchenie, I usually cover the intended end with a table-cloth, pretty bed sheet, scrap fabric or blanket. Here I grabbed this plaid blanket that I purchased last Christmas. Use something that can easily be washed after the party.
I already had this webbing cone tree centerpiece on a thrift store tray on my counter. I just decided to elevate it on my counter by placing it on a cake stand. If you don't have a couple of tiered serving dishes, elevate your own. If you use a larger table-cloth or sheet you can place items under the tablecloth that will not even be seen. Just make sure they are stable enough to hold your serving plates. In the past, I have turned plastic storage containers upside down, used shipping boxes, paint cans and stacked books. Even a collection of stacked Christmas books would be fun on top of the blanket. This gives the eye different levels of interest and ease in serving your plate. Your elevated items would be across the back of course and be on level to the front of your food spread.
I purchased multiples of these items. I cooked them all and left the extras in the warming tray. You could also wrap in tinfoil and replenish as they run out. With teens, it didn't take long for them to want more! All of these products are fabulous. I was quite impressed with the two cooked appetizers that I purchased. The Filet Mignon Bites were so tender and full of flavor. The Onion and Cheese Tartlets were creamy and quite tasty! The teens gave it all a big thumbs up! The cranberry cocktail is great to add to lemon lime soda for a festive kid-friendly drink. I recommend serving larger quantities of fewer items. It just makes for less prep in the end.
I was quite impressed by the packaging. Each appetizer has its own special resting place!
Listen up! In the early years of entertaining, I worked for days to prep and make every dish from scratch. I planned for perfection. I cleaned and cleaned. I ended up irritable, tired and did I mention tired. It was all I could do to put on a happy, relaxed face for when our guests arrived. Honestly, I couldn't wait to just go to bed!
Now this spread was a spur of the moment party for just a few, but the kids loved it and felt special. It honestly looked very thought out. NOTHING here was homemade. Keep some simple things in your pantry and freezer, so you can have a few friends or neighbors pop in for a last-minute holiday celebration. Honestly, they want to spend time together. Let your other friends see that a last-minute party is doable!!!!
Through my years, I have made party planning much easier on myself and family. I usually plan to make a couple of homemade items that are favorites and fill all of the rest with prepackaged and convenience foods. Just offer a few items that require being served hot. It's much easier to get ready with things you can pour in a bowl straight from the fridge.
If this had been a planned event, here are my steps to get ready!
*Clean the day before……if it's going to be at night…dust doesn't show!
*set up the table the day before or earlier in the day if possible with your cloth and items for elevation
*Gather items to decorate the table the day before
*Place dishes with sticky notes labeled on the table where you want them laid out.
*When possible go an and pour items like chips and nuts in their dish and cover with plastic wrap.
*I also place all refrigerator items in the intended dish and place in fridge. That way you just grab and place right before guests arrive where you have placed the sticky notes and you don't have containers all over the kitchen counter.
*Don't leave store bought dips and foods in the store containers. Pour them in pretty bowls and no one will know you didn't make it!
*put a fresh liner in the trash can
*If someone asks if they can bring something….it's OK to say yes! Just give some guidance…..tell them appetizer or dessert! They are friends and family after all!
Most importantly, relax and have fun! Head to Walgreens and take advantage of the Walgreens Holiday Guide with over $75 in coupon savings plus Balance Reward Points. Stock your freezer and pantry with Good & Delish. Now call your friends over for some casual fun!