5 Tips to Entertain This Winter Season Without Losing Your Holiday Cheer

December 10, 2015
Bill Schu

Entertaining can be anything but entertaining. How many of us stress ourselves out about planning and hosting a great holiday gathering, to the point where we can’t enjoy our own party? This year can be different! I present to you five foolproof tips for having more fun at your own holiday gathering being this year.

Entertaining can be anything but entertaining. How many of us stress ourselves out about planning and hosting a great holiday gathering, to the point where we can’t enjoy our own party? This year can be different! I present to you five foolproof tips for having more fun at your own holiday gathering being this year.

Make a Better Nog

Did you know that a small cup of store-bought eggnog contains almost 200 calories, nearly 10 grams of fat, and over 70 mg of cholesterol? The answer to this problem, of course, is not to serve store-bought eggnog!

Try this recipe from Food Network star Alton Brown: 4 egg yolks; 1/3 cup sugar, plus one Tbsp; 1 pint whole milk; 1 cup heavy cream; 3 ounces bourbon; 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg; 4 egg whites. Beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

I don’t know how many calories or grams of cholesterol are in this recipe. Neither do you. Let’s leave it that way!

Forget the Main Course

People don’t want to eat a heaping pile of ham or filet mignon at a holiday party. They want to enjoy small tastes of a lot of different things. What typically happens is that you spend all day cooking a heavy main course, everyone fills up on the appetizers, and no one really eats “dinner.” So, skip the “main course” altogether, and throw a “beginnings and endings” party, in which you serve up a heap of appetizers and a smattering of desserts. Save the ham or the filets for your celebration with the immediate family.

Get Everyone Involved

Successfully hosting a large number of people used to mean slaving all day before, during, and after the party. These days, though, hosting means coordinating what your guests can bring. Unless your friends are truly Scrooges, they probably want to bring something to your party. The key is to make sure you don’t have five spinach dips and nothing else. Ask people to bring their appetizer or dessert specialty, and don’t be bashful about filling holes in your menu by aggressively suggesting some items for those who are unsure what to bring.

Keep Everyone Involved

The football season is winding to a close, the Golden State Warriors are undefeated in the NBA, presidential candidates are shooting their own feet, and the news is dominated by mass shootings and religious extremism. Make your holiday gathering about the people gathered and not about the latest sports or world news by turning your televisions to a holiday music channel. A television turned off might seem to some guests like an open invitation to turn the game on, but a television already set to a music channel may be enough of a barrier for all but the truly rude. Yes, you run the risk of hearing Madonna’s awful rendition of “Santa Baby,” but it can be the lesser of two evils.

Keep Everyone Safe

We’re not breaking any new ground here, but December is notoriously among the worst months for wrecks, owing in part to accidents that stem from impaired driving after holiday parties. If you served some of that great eggnog or any number of other spirits during your party, make sure your guests are capable of getting behind the wheel safely.

Last but not least, the holiday season can be a whirlwind that goes by in a flash. Take the time to enjoy the time with your guests--and some of that nog!

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