I am always surprised when people say that they dread hosting during the Holidays. The complaint is always the same: it’s too much work. Granted it does take some effort but it is work that can be exceptionally rewarding.

First and foremost you have to embrace the task as a chance to be creative. The old rule is to cook what you know but that can be so boring. Trying something new doesn’t have to be daunting if you are honest about your capabilities. Don’t know how to de- bone a duck? Skip that recipe! Have you never worked with puff pastry before? Perhaps that is not the one for you! But I promise if you sort through all those recipes you flagged in magazines this past year but never used, there will be at least one that piques your interest without sending you running from the kitchen in fear.

Secondly don’t think you have to do everything from scratch. There are lots of little ways that you can hurry the cooking process along without taking any integrity away from the dish. For example phyllo pastry can be a difficult dough to manage if you are not familiar with its fragility. So don’t be afraid to check out the frozen freezer section at your local grocery store! Believe me, a tray of frozen mini phyllo shells can be a real lifesaver. Just whip up your favorite filling and no one has to know that the appetizer they are enjoying wasn’t completely homemade.

Finally, relax. One of the reasons I actually look forward to hosting during the Holidays is that in my house the preparation has always been as much fun as the actual party. Play music or turn on a movie and don’t hesitate to invite a friend or family member to come over and lend a hand. Take it from me: cooking side by side can make for great Mother/ Daughter memories. A party is supposed to be fun but neither you, nor your guests, will enjoy themselves if you are too busy being stressed out. In fact, here’s a bonus tip: It’s your house and no one can tell you it is too early to pop a little champagne!

Wishing you a Very Merry Holiday Season here from The Perfect Host Events & Catering, and remember we are always here to help!

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