This post was sponsored by Wholey Cheese! through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated to write a post about Wholey Cheese!, all opinions are my own.
The arrival of fall not only brings cooler weather it also ushers in the hustle and bustle of the holiday entertaining season. I love this time of year because it means there are lots of excuses for entertaining, but it can also be a challenge to remember to slow down and to savor the moments. This year I’m trying to be intentional about how we entertain and spend time with friends and family. Of course there will be plenty of planned dinners and holiday cocktail parties, but it’s often those last minute, impromptu gatherings with girl friends, neighbors or out of town guest that create beautiful moments and lasting memories. I’ve partnered with Snyder’s of Hanover, to talk about my top five essentials for easy impromptu entertaining and how their new Wholey Cheese! baked crackers can help take a little bit of the stress out of hosting last minute guest.
It’s no secret that I love entertaining, but I used to stress out s0 much over the idea of unexpected guest or the idea of impromptu entertaining. For the longest time I thought everything had to be perfectly planned, perfectly decorated, and perfectly executed. But, one day I realized that some of the best moments and memories made came from those impromptu dinners planned at school pick-up, or the unexpected drop-in from a friend who just needed a listening ear. I learned that with a few essentials I could be ready to host friends or family at any impromptu celebration, without the worry, stress or hassle of trying to make everything perfect.
Keep your pantry stocked with non-perishable snacks that you can pull out at a moments notice. My pantry is always stocked with crackers, dried fruit, nuts and olives. The great thing about these staples are they tend to have a long shelf life, and you can combine them together to create a simple antipasto platter in minutes. When it comes to crackers, the new Wholey Cheese! crackers offer both quality and taste. With real cheese baked in a light, flaky dough, they come in three flavors, Mild Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Swiss & Black Pepper. The Smoked Gouda crackers are hands down my favorite, and I think they bring an artisanal and upscale feel to entertaining.
Instant Party Basket
When it comes to entertaining, impromptu or not, I believe in the little details. The details are what help make guest feel special, or leave a lasting impression. I like to keep an “instant party” basket in my pantry full of entertaining essentials that I can pull out at any given moment. I keep mine stocked with festive paper plates, napkins, silverware, paper straws and party picks. These themed paper products can help me pull together a cohesive look no matter how much notice I have before guest arrive. Plus, having everything in one place will keep you from having to hunt for it while your guest are waiting on you.
Just like my pantry staples I always have several bottles of wine, sparkling lemonade or cocktail mixes on hand so I can offer guest something refreshing to drink. I also like to keep fruit infused ice cubes in the freezer so I can add a little pizzaz to water for those guest who don’t want any of the other beverages offered.
A Cozy Spot
When guest drop by unexpectedly you want to make them feel at home and welcome. Find a cozy spot, whether it’s on the front porch, at the kitchen table or on the couch. When friends drop by I like to usher them into the living room and get cozy on the couch with snacks and drinks nearby on the coffee table.
An Open Door
I love entertaining, but I haven’t always had an open door. I used to fret when people would call and say they were going to drop by in a few minutes, or heaven forbid if someone just showed up. I used to open the door and immediately, and profusely, begin to apologize for the state of my home…the dishes in the sink, the laundry on the couch, the kids toys on the stairs. Then one day a friend told me that she didn’t drop in to see my home, she came to see me. That statement put things into perspective and reminded me that what matters most to me is connecting with the people I love and sharing unforgettable moments, not how clean my house is. Since then I’ve adopted an open door policy. Friends are welcome to drop in anytime and I promise to greet them with a smile on my face, a glass of wine in hand and no apologies.
As a recovering perfectionist, spontaneous entertaining has quickly become my favorite way to connect with the people I love. So whether friends are dropping in or family is coming to town, you can successful throw together and simple, impromptu celebration with good food, great company and extraordinary memories.