Welcome Holiday Guests Not Holiday Stress

Stress free holiday entertaining ideas put the merry in a holiday good time.  From the planned casual holiday soiree to the not so planned we saw your lights on holiday surprise drop-in, these stock items can cut the stress, welcome guests, ward off the holiday bah humflubug, and make things festive.

wreath on front doorTraditional Home

Let me share with you some of the staples I keep on hand and filed under tried-and-true stress free holiday entertaining ideas.

soaps

Bath & Body Works

Mingle responsibly.  It’s not only the holidays, but the cold and flu season as well.

alice-cut-glass-votive-cup-o

Alice Cut Glass Votive Cup

Votive candles instantly add that cozy and homey feel to the setting.  I don’t know if it’s the warmth they exude or the soft glow, but votive candles create a relaxing atmosphere.  Stock up on these home decor and entertaining staples.

homefortheholidayscoirchristmasdoormatoverheadshotsiloimage

Put out the welcome mat.  Head off mud, slush and dirt at the door.

alton brown hot cocoa recipevia

Festive need not be expensive.  The package sells the product, and a festive presentation impresses the harshest holiday critic.  My darling maternal grandmother taught me through her gracious example.  She loved Lady Borden Vanilla ice cream- her signature dessert offering.  She lived alone, and with single serving sizes not yet on the market, the large container ice cream would often fall victim to  freezer burn.  What the ice cream lacked in taste was more than made up in serving presentation.

dessert-dish

She always served two scoops of Lady Borden Vanilla in a glass sherbet dish accompanied by a sterling silver ice cream spoon.

hot-cocoa-recipe

A simple white coffee or decorative holiday mug from the dollar store filled with hot cocoa and garnished with a peppermint stick and marshmallows or red hot apple cider garnished with a cinnamon stick is holiday comfort in a cup!   I recommend this recipe for homemade marshmallows from Thomas Keller’s  French Laundry Cookbook and a fitting Christmas video featuring Dean Martin’s version of A Marshmallow World.

Marshmallows (French Laundry)

Ingredients:

3  envelopes of unflavored Knox gelatin

½  cup cold water

2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups corn syrup

¼  cup water

¼  teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for dredging

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.  Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed.  Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes.  Add vanilla and incorporate into mixture.  Scrape into a 9 x 9-inch pan lined with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: Lightly oil hands and spatula or bowl scraper).  After pouring marshmallow mixture into the pan, take another piece of plastic wrap and press mixture into the pan.

Let mixture sit for a few hours.  Remove from pan, dredge the marshmallow slab with confectioners’ sugar and cut into 12 equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef’s knife.  Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 12 large marshmallows

These cookies taste just like….

Homemade?

Girl Scout Thin Mints?

Like the ones my grandmother used to make?

That’s the idea!

holiday-semihomemade-cookies

These holiday cookies pack a powerful please that give the baker and holiday treat maker a break.  Presentation is everything!

fleece-throws

Baby, it’s cold outside.  I pick up inexpensive fleece throws when I find them on holiday special.  This little touch of  homey and cozy is a big hit with our guests as we celebrate the holiday moments of our lives.

raffia

Tie them up with raffia,

gift-tag

attach a holiday gift tag,

seagrass-basket

and place them in a basket.  The inexpensive fleece throws make a nice holiday “from our home to yours” parting gift.

White-Christmas

Hand them out to your guests to ward off the chill while watching a classic holiday movie or hanging out listening to holiday music.  Let’s not forget that a holiday playlist queued up and ready to shuffle is always a hit.

Holiday music video #2~ 

Holiday get-togethers as well as the unexpected drop in visit often turn out to be a stress free and fun time.  Stock up, de-stress and enjoy!

Love your style!

2 thoughts on “Welcome Holiday Guests Not Holiday Stress”

  1. Darleen, these are some great tips and ideas! I agree with you on keeping the stress level down. I have learned that over the years! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Shenita, I’ve learned over the years that perfection is highly overrated at times, and trying to achieve it at the holidays can drive you to drink something a whole lot stronger than hot cocoa and marshmallows! One of the best times at our house during the holidays started with a pop in visit. Once I got over the initial hostess without the mostess shock, I grabbed the phone and ordered pizzas, heated the water for cocoa, queued up the music, relaxed and enjoyed the friends, laughs, and the evening. Note to self: remember to have fun, it’s Christmas.

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