The holidays mean dinners, guests and parties. Having some essentials on hand can help you create a memorable meal or holiday gathering, and have everyone talking about your get-together. A little pre-planning helps you be ready when the doorbell rings so that you can focus on having a great time, too.
Powder room planning
Besides the kitchen, the powder room is one of the hardest working rooms at the holidays. Some easy tips can give your guests a nice experience and make your powder room look great. Because there's a lot of use, make sure your powder room or guest bath is stocked well. Have spare rolls of bath tissue under the sink or where they can be found easily. Be sure to have a box of tissues here, too.
To make the bathroom experience more spa like, buy washcloths in a multipack. Then, like at a spa or fancy hotel, roll the washcloths into rolls and tuck into a basket. Add a basket on the floor to throw used towels. This way, everyone gets a clean cloth, no one gets a wet towel, and you don't have a trash basket overflowing with paper towels. Add a small scented votive candle to the bathroom to keep it smelling fresh but not too heavily scented. Place a tub of popup cleaning wipes under the sink for quick touchups. Finish with a pretty scented soap and matching lotion and you'll have a lovely powder room ready for guests.
A bar cart makes a nice self-serve drink station. Add bottles of your favorite drinks, ice, napkins and glasses so guests can help themselves. Keep extra cans of drinks underneath to restock as needed. Stock with wine, sodas, ginger ale and club soda. Keep a pretty tea towel nearby in case of spills. Add a bowl or two of simple snacks such as nuts and pretzels to give guests an easy nibble.
Set up a coffee and snack bar
Part of the fun of the holidays is waiting on the big meal, but that often means hungry guests until dinner comes together and is served. Add a snack bar to a counter or dining area where guests can eat simple snacks that will keep them satisfied until the meal is ready. A divided dish with crudité vegetables will make a healthy snack that's not too filling. Guests will appreciate a coffee bar that's waiting and ready so they can pour a cup of coffee themselves.
Holiday meals are hard work so let your work shine by serving it on a riser. Food risers are a favorite of catering companies because they make food more appealing. This is especially true of meals served buffet style. Cake stands make an excellent option for a riser. Some glass cake stands double as punch bowls and can be inverted to hold liquids, but they make excellent serving pieces for foods like salads or trifles. Plus, they'll raise the food up and make it easier to reach. Look for a set of flat cake stands online in gold, white or silver to add some panache to your meals and make a beautiful presentation of your holiday foods.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)