5 tips for the first-time holiday host

December 19, 2018

(BPT) - 1. Decorate your table with simple elegance

Choose three pretty ceramic or glass bowls for your centerpieces. Fill two with water and float several white tea candles in both (add whole fresh cranberries to float for a pop of color, if desired). Pick up some large pine cones (outside or at your local garden store or farmer’s market), small evergreen branches and holly sprigs to arrange in the center bowl. If you’re working with mason jars, place greenery directly on the table to act as a runner. Light candles just before serving dinner.

2. Keep appetizers easy with design-your-own kebabs

Alternate cheese chunks with vegetables like cherry tomatoes, petite button mushrooms, blanched broccoli florets or carrot rounds, plus a fresh herb like parsley, basil or cilantro. Drizzle skewers with olive oil and lemon juice or your favorite balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with sea salt to taste. For a fruity skewer, alternate in-season, firm fruits and drizzle with lemon juice and honey and dust with cinnamon. Construct all skewers in the same order, then arrange like spokes of a wheel on a round platter for an Instagram-worthy appetizer.

3. Serve tasty, nourishing beverages Instead of water or sodas, treat your guests to a delicious and healthy tea, and for your convenience, pick it up in a ready-to-drink format. Red Diamond Ready-to-Drink tea is made purely of tea leaves, water and sugar (or without sugar) and nothing else. It is only found in the refrigerator section of your local stores, in gallon, 57 ounce and pint sizes. Serve Sweet, Unsweet or Splenda varieties over ice with appetizers and/or during the meal.

4. Offer a signature holiday drink

Make your holiday gathering stand out by offering fun, tasty and seasonally appropriate drinks. It can be an interesting conversation starter and really elevate the event. An idea is to use Red Diamond Ready-to-Drink Tea as a base for delicious beverages like spiced iced tea, a winter tea cocktail or an orange cranberry iced tea.

5. No matching plates? No problem.

If you don’t have enough matching plates for all your guests, alternate your two or three styles of plates around the table to create an intentional pattern. If you have several different types of plates, provide a unique dish for each guest, perhaps reflecting their personality or to go with a handwritten place card. Your local thrift or vintage store may have eye-catching plates you can add to the mix.

6. Share the burden and the fun

Family and friends won’t mind being asked if they’d like to bring a favorite dish to share, and that can lighten your load on the big day! Ask them what they would most like to make ahead of time, so you’ll be sure that none of the most crucial elements of the meal (like a protein, vegetables and other sides, or dessert) are missing. Then you can focus on your parts of the meal, relax and have fun.

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