The holidays can be a stressful time to get everything together and in place for that special time with family and friends. So to help us all find our balance for the next month, I went to the person who knows how put the perfect holiday party together…my mom!
From decorations, to food, to those small thoughtful details, this lady makes you feel at home and at a 5 star restaurant at the same time. So here’s to all the mom’s out there, passing on their traditions and creating new ones with each generation!
aLign: What is the best piece of advice for a successful holiday party?
M: Being organized! Knowing how many people are coming and what their tastes and likes are will allow you to plan the menu ahead of time.
Key tip: Mix trending and seasonal veggies with classics to make your meal have a unique YOU touch blended with old time favorites.
aLign: How do you prepare for guests from near or far?
M: This is where planning comes in handy as well. Planning where everyone will sleep is the first step and them preparing their room with fresh sheets, towels and I like to add a touch of warmth with a welcome basket. If they have never visited before, I like to leave a book or magazine about the area with some water, “yummy smelly things” and even leave some flowers in the room to liven it up.
Key tip: People sometimes miss making sure there is some closet space for guests. Clear some space in case they have items they need to hang or don’t want to live out of their suitcases for the week.
aLign: Preparing appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts takes a lot of time management, what is your secret to executing it?
M: Lists, lists, and more lists! Planning the menu ahead of time helps with two things, first it allows you to have a fully balanced meal so you don’t have a veggie platter with broccoli for an appetizer and steamed broccoli in you main course as well. With a big feast, having some dishes that can be made a few days ahead of time like desserts or soups is very helpful to free up stove and oven space on the big day!
Key tip: Don't limit your thinking to just the meal, if you have guests for an extended period of time, make a list for a rough idea of the meals you will be having with them, that way you aren’t spending the precious time with them grocery shopping or thinking about the meal and rather just enjoying time together.
aLign: What takes your holiday gatherings to the next level?
M: This one is tough to pick just one thing. I think ultimately its prepared presentation mixed with ease of work and flow. You want to have everything like decorations, maybe a color theme, or grocery shopping done ahead of time, but then also be open to last minute changes or glitches so that you and your guests can enjoy yourselves no matter what.
Key tip: Do the preparation with elegance and sophistication in mind and then on the big day execute with a casual grace.
aLign: What is your favorite part about the holidays?
M: Spending time with friends and family sharing laughter and stories. Thanksgiving is particularly great as there is no pressure for gifts. We love to take a moment during the dinner to go around the table to say what each person is thankful for… it’s always so enlightening to hear everyone’s personal gratitude.
Key tip: Invite someone who may not be in your normal inner circle, especially if they would otherwise be alone, you will make them feel special, spread holiday cheer and they will add an interesting dynamic to the conversations.
aLign: What do you do to stay aLigned during the holiday season?
M: Going on long walks. Getting a group on the walk gives a great chance to spend time together while moving. Also drinking plenty of water to balance the cocktails :-)
Key tip: Just enjoy the special moments with you loved ones, create and cherish the memories, maybe even start a tradition that everyone will always remember your holiday parties for.
Happy Holidays Everyone!