Simple Ways to Wow Your Holiday Guests

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family or a holiday block-party for the whole neighborhood, entertaining around the holidays can be both fun – and stressful.

The key to pulling off a party that you can enjoy too? Keep it simple. Our incredibly talented Silver Oak events and culinary teams have you covered with easy entertaining tips that will impress your guests and give you time to relax. So go ahead and pour yourself that glass of Cabernet while you wait for people to arrive – you’ve got this.

  1. Plan ahead. Checking things off your “to do” list early makes all the difference. For example, Sally, our Special Events Manager, recommends setting the table and taking care of your décor the day before.

  2. Delegate. Repeat after us: You don’t have to do it all. Focus on one or two things, like providing the main dish and setting a beautiful table, and delegate the rest. Host a potluck (make sure to assign specific items to guests so you don’t get three types of yams), order-out appetizers and sides, or rent dishes (no clean-up!). Taking things off your plate (pardon the pun) will allow you to enjoy and visit with your guests.

  3. Keep décor simple. A walk around the neighborhood can provide ample inspiration for a simple centerpiece of leaves and berries. Have children? Put them to work painting pumpkins or pinecones. Add neutral linens and a few herbs to garnish food platters and voila - you have a beautiful table.

  4. Lighting sets the mood. One word: candles. Ok, and two words: twinkle lights. According to Megan, Events Assistant, these two things work wonders on your table and throughout your home.

  5. Delicious food made easy. The key to a “wow” main course? Chef Shawn stresses marinating and/or brining your meats. Also, make sure you taste your food throughout the cooking process to adjust salt or other seasonings. Finally, a word-to-the-wise from Winery Chef Dominic Orsini: Only leave 1-2 appetizers to put together during the party. Everything else should be made ahead so you can heat-and-serve.

  6. Have a well-stocked beverage station. Even if dinner is running a little late, no one will notice if there is plenty of wine and cocktails. Up the ante with a recommendation from Karen, our Special Events Service Manager: Have one “spotlight wine” to serve as a conversation starter, such as an older Cabernet Sauvignon or a large format bottle (don’t be afraid of big bottles! A 3L = 4 bottles of wine).

  7. Finish light. Don’t stress over dessert. A wine-loving crowd will enjoy a cheese course to finish. Or, instead of an elaborate cake, do a sweets table or truffles to go.

  8. Relax. Give yourself a little time before you guests get there – about thirty minutes – to relax with a glass of wine and some good tunes. When people start arriving, remember that the most important thing they want to see is you and your smile!

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