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.
Let me share with you some of the staples I keep on hand and filed under tried-and-true stress free holiday entertaining ideas.
Mingle responsibly. It’s not only the holidays, but the cold and flu season as well.
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.
Put out the welcome mat. Head off mud, slush and dirt at the door.
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.
She always served two scoops of Lady Borden Vanilla in a glass sherbet dish accompanied by a sterling silver ice cream spoon.
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)
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
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….
Girl Scout Thin Mints?
Like the ones my grandmother used to make?
That’s the idea!
These holiday cookies pack a powerful please that give the baker and holiday treat maker a break. Presentation is everything!
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.
Tie them up with raffia,
attach a holiday gift tag,
and place them in a basket. The inexpensive fleece throws make a nice holiday “from our home to yours” parting gift.
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!