holiday guests http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10094/all en-US 15 Tips for Hosting Holiday Houseguests http://www.wisebread.com/15-tips-for-hosting-holiday-houseguests <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-tips-for-hosting-holiday-houseguests" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_christmas.jpg" alt="Family during the holidays" title="Family during the holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you hosting a holiday this winter? Are friends and family flying in from out-of-town, ready to gobble down your holiday turkey, use all your guest-room towels, and partake of your hospitality? Make your home cozy and comfortable for guests and keep celebrations going smoothly by following these easy tips and tricks for holiday hosting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a>)</p> <h3>1. Put Out Throw Blankets</h3> <p>Nothing&rsquo;s cozier on a cold winter night than a few wooly throw blankets on the living room sofa. IKEA is a great source for inexpensive fluffy blankets. Have them on hand for when the kids get tired and need a nap, or for your Aunt Bertha&rsquo;s cold feet.</p> <h3>2. Stock Slippers</h3> <p>Speaking of cold feet, one of my favorite hosting tips is to have a variety of warm slippers in a basket by the door. You can buy slippers for cheap at Walmart or Target. Since everyone is going to be taking off their snowy boots, having a cozy alternative in which to walk around the house is a thoughtful touch.</p> <h3>3. Embrace Indirect Lighting</h3> <p>Bring on the lamps &mdash; the warm glow they cast says &ldquo;holiday&rdquo; much better than glaring overhead lights. Dim them to an attractive yellow glow, allowing candles, fireplaces, and other sources of lighting to shine.</p> <h3>4. Provide Warm Drinks</h3> <p>Cut down on the time you&rsquo;re serving your guests and make them feel more at home by having a variety of hot drinks available on the kitchen counter. Packets of hot chocolate and tea and a carafe of hot coffee are all that&rsquo;s needed. For a special holiday treat, have a large pot of mulled wine simmering in the slow cooker, with cups nearby so guests can serve themselves.</p> <h3>5. Put a Wreath on the Door</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t know what it is about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homemade-christmas-wreath-ideas-with-style">front-door wreaths</a>, but to me, they make a home so much more welcoming. The same goes for fall flowers or poinsettias set on the front stoop. Learn how to make your own <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2011/11/outside-in-bittersweet-and-rosehip-wreath.html">autumnal wreath</a> at Design*Sponge.</p> <h3>6. Utilize Aromatherapy</h3> <p>In the winter, I love the smells of gingerbread and pumpkin pie. If you&rsquo;re not a baker, scented candles in warm winter scents like cinnamon, cranberry, and pumpkin spice really set the tone for winter celebrations.</p> <h3>7. Prepare Guest Necessities</h3> <p>Make sure guests have easy access to all the necessities &mdash; extra towels, bottles of water, soap, and shampoo. If you have many guests (a common occurrence over the winter holidays), put towels in a big basket by the bathroom door so guests can help themselves.</p> <h3>8. Set Out Games</h3> <p>Help children and the young-at-heart to feel right at home by setting out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-family-friendly-games-for-your-holiday-party">board games</a> on a low table in the living room. Traditional games like Chinese checkers and backgammon are easy to play, and more modern games like Settlers of Catan, Cranium, and Ticket to Ride will draw board-game enthusiasts.</p> <h3>9. Play Soft Music</h3> <p>Have soft music playing in the background to set a festive mood &mdash; whether that&rsquo;s holiday classics or Coldplay&rsquo;s latest album.</p> <h3>10. Keep Toilet Paper Stocked</h3> <p>Keep fresh rolls of toilet paper visible and within easy reach, so guests have no excuse to go rummaging through your bathroom cabinets.</p> <h3>11. Have Midnight Snacks Around</h3> <p>As I recently had occasion to learn, some guests (like pregnant women) are perpetually ravenous and need sustenance at all hours of the day and night. For hungry guests on the prowl late at night, keep a stash of cookies and snacks available on the kitchen counter for guests to help themselves. They don&rsquo;t have to be homemade; use store-bought snacks for greater convenience.</p> <h3>12. Stock Family Friendly Movies</h3> <p>For those times when guests need some down time, keep an assortment of classic family friendly DVDs available that kids and adults will enjoy.</p> <h3>13. Enlist Help</h3> <p>Your guests don&rsquo;t expect you to be their slave, so enlist their help to clear dishes, prepare food, and set the table. Getting everyone involved evokes togetherness and holiday spirit, and prevents you from going crazy. Delegate!</p> <h3>14. Keep Meals Simple</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re already providing a place to stay for your houseguests, so don&rsquo;t feel that you need to be Martha Stewart when it comes to the menu. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-quick-homemade-breakfasts">Breakfast</a> can be store-bought croissants and orange juice, and lunch can be a self-serve buffet of deli meats and fruit. Suggest going out or ordering in (and splitting the bill) to save yourself money and time. If you&rsquo;re hosting big family meals like Christmas or New Year&rsquo;s, prepare the main course yourself and delegate side dishes to other family members.</p> <h3>15. Don&rsquo;t Stress the Small Stuff</h3> <p>So your centerpiece is looking a bit lopsided? Relax! Your guests won&rsquo;t notice little details and certainly won&rsquo;t be judging you on not being the perfect host. Toilet overflowing and sending sewage-scented water down through the living room ceiling? Now that might merit a minor freak-out.</p> <p><em>Do you have any useful tips and tricks for hosting houseguests this winter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-tips-for-hosting-holiday-houseguests">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-the-holiday-season-entertaining-and-being-entertained-on-a-budget">Surviving the Holiday Season: Entertaining (and Being Entertained) on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-good-hosts-never-do">14 Things Good Hosts Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle entertaining holiday guests houseguests Wed, 16 Nov 2011 11:00:45 +0000 Camilla Cheung 787804 at http://www.wisebread.com Surviving the Holiday Season: Entertaining (and Being Entertained) on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-the-holiday-season-entertaining-and-being-entertained-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surviving-the-holiday-season-entertaining-and-being-entertained-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/entertaining on a budget.JPG" alt="holiday entertaining" title="holiday entertaining" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">With the holiday season upon us, invitations to dinner parties &ndash; and expectations of reciprocating invitations &ndash; are on the increase. You bring a nice bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers (or even a Christmas present for closer acquaintances) to every home you visit. And you whip up a marvelous meal for those who visit you. Before you know it &ndash; without even starting your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-techniques">Christmas shopping</a>, you have blown your holiday budget. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p>So how do you navigate this season of dinner parties and other seasonal cultural expectations without going broke at the end of the day? The answer to this question is as much a mystery to me as it is to anybody else. But here are a few ideas:<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h2>Gifts for your Host<o:p></o:p></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Common etiquette prescribes that we bring along a gift when invited over for dinner (or lunch, or tea, or whatever). But what to bring? <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Scrap the Flowers</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Cut flowers are pretty and all, but they don&rsquo;t last, they shed petals and pollen everywhere, and are bloody expensive to buy. Your host will appreciate them for about the first two days and then it will just be more of a nuisance than anything else. Save your budget &ndash; and think of something else to bring along as a gift. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you insist on bringing something living, a potted plant can sometimes be a better bet, less expensive, and will last longer. This is ideal if you know your host enjoys cultivating plants, and may even wish to transplant it to their garden. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Know Your Wine</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you don&rsquo;t know your wine, and/or your host does, your attempt to be budget friendly by buying the cheap stuff will be foiled and tacky. But how much <em>do</em> you spend on a bottle? This largely depends on the circles of friends you keep. I believe that a $15 bottle would be more than acceptable for most people. It still ain&rsquo;t cheap, but it&rsquo;s a quick fix for a last minute invitation. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And what about the wine bags, which add an extra few bucks to the price tag? Unless you have a stack saved from bottles previously given to you, do your wallet &ndash; and the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet">environment&nbsp;</a> &ndash; a favor and find alternate forms of wrapping up your bottle if you must wrap it at all. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Sugary Sweets</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Wildly popular during holiday time are <strong>home-baked goods</strong> and other candies. These are often a good bet, most people love them (even if they&rsquo;re on a diet &ndash; it is the holiday season after all), and it shows that personal touch which goes a long way beyond even pricier store-bought gifts. The down side? You have to bake. Hopefully you&rsquo;re good at it. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Scrumptious Savory</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">For a twist on bringing bad-for-you cookies and cakes, you could <strong>bake a loaf of bread</strong> instead (made fancy with nice herbs or other flavors), or even concoct a <strong>cream cheese dip from scratch</strong>. Try this one: whip up some plain cream cheese with a little lime juice, add green onions or chives, then spread it in a (recycled) plastic container (the kind you get from the deli). Top it with sweet chili sauce, and you have a dip that will make you a hit at parties for a fraction of what you would pay to buy the manufactured stuff. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Other Consumables</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Don&rsquo;t know what to get the host with the most? Join the club. Stop guessing and simply get (or even better &ndash; make yourself) something consumable. Do you have an herb and flower garden that is on its last legs? Make a dried <strong>loose leaf tea mix</strong> and give it to them in a nice bottle with a tea strainer (both purchased at a dollar store or equivalent). Can&rsquo;t cook to save your life? Then make up a <strong>gift basket</strong> if you must. Fill it with inexpensive but nice staples and wrap it up nicely. The basket and bows can be purchased at the dollar store, and the contents don&rsquo;t have to be extravagant. A total purchase price can even be under $10 if you&rsquo;re smart about it and your host will appreciate this creative grab bag of goodies. They may even be able to turn around and serve those crackers you gave them at their next dinner party. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h2>Entertaining<o:p></o:p></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is where being budget minded can get a little more tricky. You want to put on a good show &ndash; crackers and cheese (and wine) to start, then a two or three course meal (with more wine), and all of a sudden you spent the entire day in the kitchen, spent a small fortune on ingredients, and have one hell of a mess to clean up. Sounds like enough to turn your stomach from entertaining any day. A few tips to reduce your cost and burden:<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Simple Snacks</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Buying just two or three nice cheeses and crackers could cost you $20 if you aren&rsquo;t careful, and you haven&rsquo;t even touched upon the drinks or the actual meal to be served. Instead, placing out a <strong>bowl of nuts</strong> (bought in the bulk section &ndash; they&rsquo;re cheaper) can whet the appetite just as well. Serve the <strong>kind of nuts that need shelling</strong> (like pistachios or even walnuts for a treat), and your guests will be nicely occupied and won&rsquo;t fill up on the pre-dinner stuff. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Easy Apps</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Unless you keep company with high-brow folks (in which case you will always have a problem satisfying both your budget and your friends) your guests won&rsquo;t be horribly offended if you skip the appetizer course altogether. <strong>Go straight to dinner if you can</strong>. Otherwise, choose ingredients you can whip together easily and inexpensively. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Done Like Dinner</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Pasta</strong> is always a great bet for a budget-friendly main course: it fills your guests up, is inexpensive, and can be presented in a very luxurious manner. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Delicious Desserts</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Unlike appetizers, rarely can you skip serving dessert without at least a few raised eyebrows. <strong>Baking something yourself</strong> is usually the least expensive and shows the most care and personal flair. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>Drinks</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Serving drinks all night is where you can end up spending the most money. Stocking up with wine, beer, and other beverages in an attempt to anticipate what your guests might like will fill your fridge, but empty your wallet. Get a bottle of wine to serve with dinner, and stick to non-alcoholic drinks for the rest of the occasion. Before dinner, you can prepare a <strong>non-alcoholic cocktail</strong> of various fruit juices and soda water for fizz. Serve it up in a big punch bowl with lots of ice and nobody will notice the lack of alcohol and will come back for seconds and thirds. <strong>Tea or coffee</strong> after dinner is the perfect way to compliment dessert, cap off the night, and stop the drinking in its tracks. This is also good protocol for guests who have to drive home&hellip;<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is a simple collection of ideas on how to keep your holiday entertaining budget to a minimum. But we want to hear from you! <strong>What are your tips, techniques, and recipes for getting through the holiday entertaining season financially unscathed? </strong><o:p></o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-the-holiday-season-entertaining-and-being-entertained-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-tips-for-hosting-holiday-houseguests">15 Tips for Hosting Holiday Houseguests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle Art and Leisure dinner parties entertaining holiday dinners holiday gifts holiday guests Thu, 04 Dec 2008 00:01:16 +0000 Nora Dunn 2620 at http://www.wisebread.com