05 Oct The Holiday Dinner Party – Advice for Success
I know it seems like a million months away, but the truth is, if you’ve decided to host a Christmas dinner party this year, it’s a lot closer than you think! We don’t want to induce pre-holiday panic or anything, but one of the most important factors for throwing a successful holiday dinner party is beginning the planning process early!
People’s social calendars fill up very quickly during the holiday season, so ensuring that you’ve sent out your invitations well before the dinner party is essential. It’s best to send out your invitations (online or snail mail) at least three weeks before your party and gently request that your guests reply within a week of your party so that you’ll have a good idea of how many guests you’ll need to prepare for.
Don’t Be a ‘Last-Minute Lucy!’
One of the major reasons why it’s best not to leave dinner preparations until the last minute, especially during the holiday season, is because often shops are sold out of things you’ll need or they’ll be unable to prepare certain food items within the time frame needed. Most likely butchers, grocery stores, bakeries, and caterers will be extremely busy, so make sure you put in your orders and requests well before your dinner party!
Diverse Dinner Diets
A few years ago, I was at a Christmas dinner party and one of the guests had coeliac disease and couldn’t eat ANYTHING. Literally. While she was understanding, it was awkward and uncomfortable to be feasting while she had a salad that the host was able to scrounge up (sans croutons). The host knew she was coeliac but didn’t realize that even if the food had touched gluten, it would be rendered inedible for the guest. Since the turkey and almost everything else had come in contact with the stuffing, she was left with nothing to eat. The moral of the story is that it’s super important to ask your guests to let you know about any dietary restrictions they may have before you start planning your menu, and also to make sure you know the severity and details of the restriction. These days, people have a multitude of dietary preferences, restrictions, and allergies, so knowing well in advance is key!
We highly suggest that you stick to dishes that you comfortable making–ones that you are confident you can cook with relative ease. A Christmas dinner party is not really the best occasion to use your dinner guests as guinea pigs. There are few things more nerve-wracking than a failed dish, or one that took 3 hours longer than you anticipated! Your guests can only munch on guac dip for so long! Save the experimental dishes for another time.
Keep Your Sorry’s to Yourself
There is no such thing as a “perfect” party. I know it’s very Canadian to apologize, but try to resist the temptation when you’re hosting your dinner party. It’s ok if the house isn’t in pristine condition (it’s a home, not a show house), or the dishes didn’t come out exactly like in the magazine picture! Remember that your dinner party is more than just one component. Its success is largely due to the friends you invite, the mood you create and the laughter and fun that ensues! People are very forgiving, and if the food is hot, the drinks are cold and the conversation is lively, you’ve achieved success!