Easy Entertaining stepsHave you ever dreamed of having family and friends over for a party but ended up not going through with it because you just find it too overwhelming to plan and do all the work, then got disappointed with yourself for not doing it? Or you have thrown parties but you were so stressed and exhausted at the preparing it was hard to enjoy your own party?

Imagine having fun inviting friends and family over without all that stress. You can throw a party without all the fuss and work…it can be done!

I use to stress a lot about throwing the perfect party, making sure everything was perfectly organized and spending weeks planning and preparing food. We throw a big Christmas party every year and the time to prepare was getting out of hand. I got the point where I thought it was all too much and I spend one party observing what people really cared about and what they did not…the answer was simple, people wanted to come to our parties to chat, visit, laugh and relax.  They were not there to inspect and judge my décor, my cooking abilities or my perfectly clean spaces.  They just wanted to have fun with us!

I can now throw a party with minimum amount of time and effort, and maximum amount of fun!

Here are my 6 Steps To Easy Entertainment:

Step 1 What is the goal of the party?

The main thing I want everyone to think about is their reason for entertaining.  I find this often gets lost in the preparations and stress of running around worrying if everything is perfect.

As you prepare for the big party (or parties) please keep in mind what your overall goal of entertaining is. If it is to impress people with your cooking abilities, you will plan a different party and menu then someone who just wants spend time with friends and not fuss with difficult recipes. There is no right and wrong here just different goals so plan accordingly.  My personal goal is always to just have a great time with friends and family - these steps are all about easy entertaining because that is what I preach...easy and simple!

Step 2 Have a master list and plan

Keep all your plans in one spot.  List what you need to prepare, what needs done, who will help, what’s on the menu.  Anything to do with the party keep in this one place.  It will help you keep it organized and it makes it easier to get others to help you. It also can serve as a template for the next party so you are not reinventing the process each time.

Step 3 Keep the invites simple

It is okay in todays digital age to use digital invites.  Facebook events are my favorite as it makes it easy to post, share and invite people.  If there are people on your list that are not on Facebook then text or email them.  You can also call them if they are not digitally inclined.  You do not have to have fancy paper invites, unless of course that is your thing and that is what makes the party planning fun for you!  This is all about having fun!

Step 4 FOOD does not have to be complicated or homemade

If you are not a gourmet chef and do not have the time to make all the food from scratch…that is OKAY!  Your friends and family will not hold it against you if you buy premade trays and food.  If you want to get fancy take the premade trays and transfer them to your own platters…I won’t tell!  For easy entertainment keep it simple.

ALLOW others to help you out.  I am not a gourmet chef; I am not even a non gourmet cook so I do not try to impress anyone with my lack of skills.  However, I have friend who LOVE to cook and love to show off their abilities, so who am I do deny them that pleasure.  When your friends or family ask if they can bring something…say YES!  By having the master plan, you can direct their offerings to compliment what you want at your party.  When they ask what can they bring give them an idea of what you need.   

It’s okay to buy food and it is okay to get others to help!

Step 5 Have a drink center

I find it important to have a serve yourself drink center so you do not have to be running around serving everyone.  Have simple offerings like pop, beer, wine and maybe a specialty drink for the night.  Make sure you have lots of water available, I find that having water readily available slows people down from over indulging. 

On a side note if you are serving alcohol please make sure you have a plan to get everyone home safe.  I normally stay sober at my parties in case I need to drive someone home (I’m not a big drinker anyway so it’s not a big deal for me) or I will have someone else like my son or daughter enlisted to be available if needed.  Cabs are also a great option!

Step 6 Prepare your space

My mom taught me years ago that I did not have to have a spotless house to have a party as things will get dirty when everyone is there…but you must have a clean bathroom. Do some surface cleaning but save the deep clean for after the party.

Move your furniture around to ensure easy flow of traffic when you have a crowd. You do not want people tripping over furniture and each other.

Hope these tips help you to throw a fun easy party and that you have a fantastic holiday season! If you have any tips of your own please share, we would love to hear them.

Happy Entertaining!