Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Simple Open House Entertaining for the Holidays

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #HolidayPairings #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 and older.
When we lived in Connecticut, we were always entertaining.  We had a fantastic dining room and loved having our family and friends over for dinner.  Now, we live in an apartment, and while it has a great open-concept, we don't exactly have a dining room.  We have two chairs and a little table in a corner of the room that we never use (tray tables are where it's at!), and if we ever have people over, we pull the two unmatched chairs from our porch inside.  It's a bit crowded, but it works.  Needless to say, dinner parties are out of the question.  So, what are we to do during the holidays?  An open house is the perfect solution.  Friends and family are given a few hour window to stop in, have a few snacks and drinks, and enjoy each other's company.  My go-tos for holiday entertaining are cheese and charcuterie platters, salads, cookie trays, and wine, of course.  They're all super easy ways to throw a fantastic holiday party.
The first step in throwing the perfect holiday party is obviously making a list.  Regardless of what I put on that list, I know that I can find everything I'm looking for at Walmart.  For this party, I focused on crackers, cheese, and cookies from Pepperidge Farm for my platters; Barilla Pronto Pasta for my caprese salad; and Clos Du Bois Merlot for all of my 21+ guests.  Walmart is definitely my go-to place for holiday entertaining needs and they have the best selection of super premium wine!
For my parties, I like the concept of make-ahead dishes that don't require constant re-warming so that I can enjoy the evening as much as my guests.  I also like to spread the food and drinks around in different spots of the entertaining space so that guests mingle from one spot to another.  This holiday season, I decided to make my dishes even more festive by creating serving platters out of one of this year's biggest trends: chalkboard.  As an added bonus with the chalk markers, I can write little notes to the guests so they know what they're enjoying and can pick exactly what they want.
All you need to do is:
1. Go to your local craft store and buy chalk, chalkboard paint, and pieces of wood in any shape you like.  Since chalkboard is so popular right now, I actually found fantastic ornament shapes already chalkboard-painted to save me from having to do step #2.
2.  If purchasing plain wood, paint the pieces with the paint and let them dry completely.
3. Wash the platters to make sure they are ready to hold food.
4. Start building the platters with different ingredients.  I chose to do an appetizer plate and a dessert plate.  Make sure that you leave room for labeling.  Here are my suggestions for each plate:
After I created and placed my platters (a few for each part of my home), I spooned my caprese pasta salad (a ten minute side dish made with Barilla Pronto Pasta, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, and a little Italian salad dressing) into individual cups, uncorked the wine, (poured myself the first glass,) and enjoyed the party with my guests!
To me, holiday entertaining is about having a little something for everything.  Variety in a box like with the Pepperidge Farm Cracker Trio and Pepperidge Farm Cookie Collection make shopping and hosting so easy because of the diversity in one package.  Plus, so many people are familiar with those iconic butterfly-shaped crackers and Milano cookies that they instantly feel at home!

For even more ideas for planning your holiday party and to learn about tasting events near you, visit the Simple Entertaining Hub where you can even find out about tasting and pairing events at Walmart stores near you!

  • Are you hosting a holiday party this year?
  • What is your favorite time-saving party tip?


Christina Lea Loves said...

I love how festive this whole post is! Make ahead dishes are my favorite, I have no idea how everyone can magically make everything ready if not! The chalkboard idea is perfect!

amanda @ as the wine cork turns said...

food and wine make any party a success haha! this post is really cool and i love that chalkboard idea!

Veronica-VeroSays! said...

An open house...!? That sounds amazing! We do not host parties.. Not yet anyway. I can't wait to have a bigger space that will allow us to do that! Open house sounds so nice. I can picture sending invites and announcing an open house party hehe :) love the chalkboard idea!

B @ The Sequin Notebook said...

I love everything about this! Make-ahead dishes always save me when it comes to party planning, and I love an open house where people can wander in and out all day. Also, I need those chalkboard ornaments, such a great tray idea!!

Brenda @ Chatting Over Chocolate said...

I absolutely love this!! Living in a small home & wanting to include a lot of family and friends when celebrating, we've found open house style parties to be perfect! Your appetizer and dessert tray ideas are fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing, Meg!

Julie said...

I am doing new years this year so we will see how it turns out!

I love the ideas though!

Carly said...

These are soooo cute and such a good/easy idea! Though I try and avoid any and all of those cookies because I would eat the entire container myself, haha.

Anonymous said...

The ornament chalkboards are so cute and festive! love them!

Cara (Kindly Unspoken) said...

What a cute idea to use chalkboards as serving platters! Adorable :)

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

Such a good idea for holiday parties! I love how the chalkboards turned out!

Pink and Green Mom said...

Those chalkboards are so cute... and now I want cookies.

Jen said...

This all looks awesome! We aren't hosting any parties this year because we will be traveling for most of the time. :)

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Love the idea of an open house party, and now I just want all the meat, cheese, and wine! And how much do you love finding wine in grocery stores down south?

Green Fashionista

Emily @ Martinis | Bikinis said...

How fun is this for entertaining. I'm always a fan of a good meat & cheese plate paired with wine. I like how the box of crackers come with three types instead of being stuck with one.

Unknown said...

This is such a fun set-up! I love the chalkboard serving platters! So fun to be able to personalize them. [client]

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