It’s that time of year again – the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the winter blues are starting to set in. But there’s no need to let the winter doldrums get you down. One way we like to beat the winter blues is by throwing a fabulous dinner party for friends and family!
There’s something special about gathering friends and loved ones around a warm and cozy table, enjoying good food and conversation. Dinner parties are a great way to socialize and connect with others, which can be especially important during the colder months when we tend to spend more time indoors. As we always say, it’s so important to fill the cups of the people inside our homes so that they can go out into the world and fill the cups of others!
Hostful Hack No. 18: Nana’s Rule. According to our Nana, as long as your bed is made, your sink is empty and your bathroom is clean, your home is ready for guests.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
But where to start? Here are a few tips for throwing a successful winter dinner party:
As with any party, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that everything goes smoothly. This means deciding on a date, sending out invitations, and making a list of all the necessary ingredients and supplies. It’s also a good idea to decide on a theme or menu in advance–this time of year we like to focus on keeping the mood and food warm, comforting, and cozy.
Hostful Hack No. 52: Set the table in advance. Set the table at least a day in advance, so it’s one less thing to do the day of and so the table is set when guests arrive. This will indicate you were eager for their arrival.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Hostful Hack No. 58: Be selective with recipes. Choose recipes you can prepare in advance so the day of you can simply pop it in the oven or on the stovetop.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Set the mood
The atmosphere of your dinner party can make all the difference. To create a warm and inviting ambiance, consider setting the table with candles, using cozy blankets and pillows, and playing some background music. You can also add some seasonal touches, such as using pine cones, fresh fruit, or twinkle lights as decorations.
Hostful Hack No. 41: Add warmth. Disperse tealight candles throughout your tablescape to add a sense of warmth. Candlelight is the easiest way to elevate a tablescape whether it’s an elaborate design or a minimal one. The general rule is you can never have too much candlelight.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Hostful Hack No. 37: Build layers. Incorporate layers of varying textures, patterns, and colors throughout a tablescape design to add visual interest. Layering entertaining essentials, table linens, and decorative accents throughout your table decor will help make the design look more complex and sophisticated.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Keep it simple
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when hosting a dinner party, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, trying to do too much can actually be counterproductive. Instead, focus on a few key elements and do them well. For example, you might want to serve a few simple appetizers and a main dish, rather than trying to prepare an elaborate multi-course meal.
Two menus for simple dinner parties
Your menu could be as easy as…
- a 5-Minute Charcuterie Board for an appetizer;
- our Hearts of Romaine Harvest Salad, Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs, and spaghetti for dinner;
- and Mimi’s Chocolate Pie for dessert!
Another great menu would be…
- an appetizer of Knoor’s Vegetable Dip and Chips from Mimi;
- Seasoned Hamburgers and/or Easy Baked Hot Dogs, and coleslaw for dinner;
- and our Halfway Homemade Berry Shortcake for dessert.
Hostful Hack No. 55: Serve ready-made starters. Want to serve appetizers? Opt for ready-made hors d’oeuvres and set them out on white or decorative dishes and bowls.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Hostful Hack No. 9: Go halfway homemade. No one ever said you have to make it from scratch to be a thoughtful hostess. However, if you wish to make something homemade, choose one signature recipe. For the others, select ready-made options you simply have to heat up and/or plate.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Don’t forget the drinks
No dinner party is complete without a selection of beverages. Whether you prefer wine, cocktails, or non-alcoholic options, it’s always a good idea to have a variety of options available. You could even make it a BYOB (bring your own bottle) party to allow your guests to contribute their own favorites.
Hostful Hack No. 103: Stock up on the beverage essentials. Don’t worry about keeping an extensive collection of boozy beverages on hand. Instead, have something red, something white, something pink, something carbonated, and a pitcher full of ice water. A bottle of bubbly is never a bad idea too!Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Hostful Hack No. 109: Fill the space. If you do not have enough ice to fill a large ice bucket, place something waterproof in the bottom of the bucket to take up space prior to filling it with ice. For example, we have filled a large tin with a stack of unbreakable bowls turned upside down. Now your ice bucket will look full!Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Above all, the most important thing is to relax and have a good time. Don’t worry too much about everything being perfect – the most important thing is spending quality time with your friends and loved ones.
Hostful Hack No. 42: Make it cozy. Add extra throw pillows and blankets to your seating areas to encourage guests to get comfortable and curl up.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Hostful Hack No. 56: People will mingle where the food is set. Set appetizers and hors d’oeuvres where you want guests to mingle while you make last-minute preparations in the kitchen. The coffee table is usually the perfect spot where guests can get comfortable and catch up while indulging in appetizers.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
So why not beat the winter blues by throwing a dinner party? Not only is it a fun and social way to spend a cold winter evening, but it’s also a great opportunity to connect with others and enjoy some good food and conversation. So gather your friends, set the table, and get ready for a night of laughter and cheer. Hap-Bee hosting!
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