When it comes to holiday entertaining, I like to meticulously plan and prepare so that everything goes as smoothly as possible and I can be out of the kitchen enjoying the party with family and friends. This is the case every year now that our home has become “the place” for a holiday party with my hubby’s family. We have a big living room and are the most centrally located home for people to travel to, so it’s usually at our house by default.
Last year, however it seemed like everyone ended up bringing a last minute holiday guest or two. This meant that our holiday gathering almost doubled in size.. And most of my meticulous planning went out the window! Because I hated to turn anyone away who needed a place to go for the holidays, I figured out a few tricks to let me say “The more the merrier” without feeling completely stressed out. Here are some easy ideas for last minute holiday parties, and those extra guests, with the help of some last minute Walmart runs.
* Say yes to disposable- it doesn’t need to be your best China to be a wonderful holiday party. We found some great disposable plates, cups and cutlery that looked beautiful and was way easier on the clean up. Totally worth it in my opinion!
* White Elephant – this classic holiday game is a fun way to make sure everyone gets to open a gift at your holiday party without stressing about shopping for the last minute guests. Just tell everyone to bring an inexpensive gift to share, and let the fun begin!
* Simple Sides – If there is one thing you want to have plenty of at a holiday gathering it’s plenty of yummy food. For this reason, I have learned to have a few simple side dishes tucked away in the freezer that I can pull out in case of “extra guest” emergencies. A great choice is Stouffer’s® Mac & Cheese Party Size Entree that come in 57-96 oz sizes. These delicious meals come completely prepared, so you can just pop them in the oven for a last minute side dish that all your guest will love. I love that even though its a frozen meal, it is made of real cheddar cheese and tastes creamy, delicious and homemade! These are super easy to find, and a great price at Walmart (Under $10)
* Scratch the Seating Arrangement – with a big party and lots of last minute guests, sometimes it’s best to just scratch the seating arrangement and let everyone help themselves buffet-style. It will save you the stress of trying to arrange and rearrange the seating, plus it allows your guests to mingle a little easier.
* Don’t Stress Over The Desserts – In my house, desserts are considered the main course at holiday gatherings. So when I heard about all of the extra guests, I was so worried about if I should bake an extra pie really quick or have my hubby run to a bakery and see if he could scavenger up a last minute cake. However, when my Father in law showed up with a couple boxes of NESTLÉ® DRUMSTICK® sundae cones from Walmart, it totally saved the day. It was a great easy addition to our dessert bar, that left everyone feeling sweetly satisfied without me having to frantically whip us an extra dessert. In fact I think I will have him bring them again this year, because it was a really fun alternative for all the kids at our gathering! Walmart is carrying some new varieties this year, so be on the lookout for the Butterfinger bars and the holiday limited edition, which includes peppermint varieties (my fave)!
* Ask for Help – If people are coming to a holiday gathering they love to pitch in and bring something to share. Don’t be afraid to ask guest to bring an item to help out with the meal. Don’t forget that it’s a holiday for you too.
This holiday season use these tips to let extra guests come to your gathering while making life less frantic for yourself making the occasion merrier for all! Follow #Feast4All and #CollectiveBias on Twitter, for more holiday inspiration!