Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - again

Last year we were a bit woodsy - birch logs and white hydrangeas, candles in the snow (okay, candles in the kosher salt, but try singing that) and lots of sparkly silver. Ron Morgan taught me that you need sparkly things and light colors, or the table just dies after dark. 
And we had reindeer! Lots and lots of sparkly reindeer.
But this year I was bored with birch. Several trips to the Flower Mart with different friends I came home with all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. And thankfully it all came together...
...and it glowed at night thanks to all I've learned from Ron.
It even looked good with the buffet stocked - 

(about 80 people and yes I am still tired, but I had a great time at my own party).

So thank you to family and friends for making this the Best Party Ever. And thanks to Scot Meacham Wood for his party tips (listed on my older post). I would add a few:

1. Make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists of what needs to be done day by day. Revise them as you think of new things, get behind, get ahead. If they're neat you can actually read them.

Grocery lists - first list all the stuff you need for one dish, then the next. Then revise the grocery list so all the produce is together, and all the dairy...sounds obsessive but it will save you going back to the grocery store for the one think you just didn't see on the list. I made three trips before I got this one thru my head.

2. Get help. Serving, cleaning up. Be a guest at your own party. Better to be enjoying your guests than cleaning up after them.

3. Said this before, will say it again. Set the table 2 days before. Put post-it notes on all the platters with what's going there the day of the party. 

Do the flowers the day before. If you do they will fall into place. If you're fighting with the flowers when your guests arrive you will look like a deer in the headlights, they will be uncomfortable, you will be weeping...

4. Put food in multiple locations. Avoid the gazelles-around-the-watering-hole syndrome (thank you Scot). 

Have multiples of dip dishes and trays so the old one can be whisked away and the new one plopped into place. No washing up in the middle of the party, no scooping new food into messy dishes - it makes a huge difference.

5. And here's my lightbulb moment: get prep help. I don't usually have parties catered; I like to plan menus, to cook. But I was slicing my way through the eighth potato on the mandoline and chopping my way through the seventh bunch of green onions when it occurred to me: I can get help with this!

Happy Holly Daze. Try to remember to enjoy it - it will be over all too soon. 

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