5 Common Holiday Hosting Dilemmas—Solved
Including the top holiday mistake people make.
No matter how many hours you spend planning your holiday festivities, there are bound to be a few mishaps that are out of your control. Surprise guests? Spills? Clean-up drama? Designer Nate Berkus and Cook Beautiful author Athena Calderone, who are partnering with LG this holiday season to promote the LG SmartThinQ app, gave us their best-kept secrets to staying sane while prepping for the holidays. And the more you prep ahead, the better—both experts say the number one mistake people make when hosting a holiday party is not being able to enjoy it. Spend more time with guests by prepping food ahead of time—salads can be made up in minutes when the guests arrive, and things like a roast should be popped in the oven hours before the party.
Hosting Dilemma: My guest brought extra guests
The Solution: Athena recommends always preparing an extra dish or two more than you think you need, that way your guests can fill up on the side dishes that don’t take a lot of time—and there will be plenty of main dishes to go around. And in desperate times, Nate’s go-to is ordering a pizza and pulling out the floor pillows for guests to sit. It’s a crowd pleaser!
Hosting Dilemma: Dish clean-up takes too long
The Solution: When you have to tackle more than one-pot meals, Nate opts for some chic, disposable dinnerware. After all, you want to spend time with your guests—not your dirty dishes.
Hosting Dilemma: Dinner is late and guests are bored
The Solution: Chances are, your guests will want to feel useful, so put them to work! Whether that’s slicing limes for margaritas or setting the table, these activities help build relationships too, Athena says. “Most of my dearest friendships were born in the kitchen and around the table,” she says.
Hosting Dilemma: Red wine spilled on my couch
The Solution: The easiest way to avoid this is to stick to white or clear liquors, like champagne, white wine, or vodka, according Nate. However, some people like their red wine, so when you can’t avoid it, Athena relies on Scotchguard ($20; amazon.com) and silicone coasters, which are slip-proof. Stain won't budge? Toss a pretty throw over the stain.
Hosting Dilemma: I don’t know what foods to have on hand
The Solution: According to the pro herself, Athena says a charcuterie board (Scalloped White Marble Cheese Board, $30; williams-sonoma.com) and plenty of water on hand is a must at every party. Also, ensure that guests are hydrated by setting out flip-top glass water bottles infused with mint or a winter citrus so they don’t even have to ask when thirst strikes.