Eleven Things I’ve Done to Get Ready for Guests
It’s already well past the middle of November and I am finally getting out my mid-month check-in for this month’s A Year of Details challenge: Entertaining. For some unexplainable reason I had a really hard time getting into this challenge. Sometimes that’s just the way things go: too little time, too many other projects on the go and for many weeks I just couldn’t get into it. But the last couple days I have forced myself to concentrate on this topic so I could finally get this blog post out. I’m so glad I did because I have made some great changes that make me feel ready for entertaining during the holiday season and beyond. As an added bonus, my home feels so much more organized and I feel like treating myself, whether guests are coming over or not 🙂
The first thing I did was go through all of my stuff pertaining to entertaining. Because I have a small kitchen, I keep trays, serving bowls and the like in multiple places around my house, from the kitchen to the basement. I sorted everything, got rid of a few things that I don’t ever use and re-organized where things go. I want to have the things I am likely to use over the next few months easily accessible and the serving-ware used for summer BBQs packed away for next year.
2. Everything on hand
After I decluttered, I decided to attack one particular area of my home: the coffee corner. It’s a great place to keep items ready for guests and these shelves hadn’t been touched for far too long. They were starting to get messy and cluttered. I first took every single thing off the shelves and thoroughly cleaned the dust lurking behind everything. Then I thought about what I wanted to display and have at the ready and started playing around. If you decide to re-style shelves, give yourself plenty of time to play. The best displays rarely turn out the first time around, it takes time to try things out and re-adjust.
3. Cups for a crowd
One thing I felt I needed to add to my entertaining repertoire was more matching mugs. I tend to buy pretty mugs in sets of two (like the striped one above) but that means that if I serve coffee to four or six guests I never had matching mugs. To remedy this problem, I ordered two sets of monochrome latte cups in black, white and grey. I love the way they look and they are the perfect size.
4. Mulled wine
During the holidays and throughout the winter I enjoy sipping mulled wine. Now I’ve got the bottles ready, including the spices to make my own with a nice bottle of red. The Swedish variety, gløgg, is my favorite type of mulled wine. An easy way to pick up a few bottles of gløgg is at Ikea. Their version, called Vintersage, is inexpensive and surprisingly good. My Swedish friend recently told me about an online shop that sells Swedish drinks and foods here in Germany. Each year at this time they introduce a special edition of gløgg with a totally unique flavor. It comes in a beautiful bottle and is only sold for a limited time. The bottle above with the 19 on it is the 2019 special edition. It is inspired by Hawaii and has notes of passion fruit, hibiscus and even coffee. I can’t wait to open it up! You can find the online shop, Onfos, here.
5. Non-alcoholic options
I’ve also got plenty of alcohol-free winter punch on hand for kids and adults alike. You could simply buy alcohol free mulled wine or something a little more interesting like the Hygge Punsch in Apple Ginger (available at local Bio markets). Not only for guests, this is so nice to drink by myself or with my husband on a cold day curled up on the sofa.
6. Mugs for Mulled Wine
Of course you can serve a warm cup of mulled wine in any mug, but it’s nice to have something special. I have displayed my copper cups on the shelf, but the truth is I am very wary about actually using them. I bought them for serving Moscow Mules and made sure to buy them lined as drinking straight out of copper can be dangerous to your health. After washing my copper mugs only a couple of times, I feel like the “lining” is coming off. This makes me nervous so I have ordered the pretty mugs above in a set of four to serve mulled wine.
In my opinion, you really can’t have enough drinks at the ready. For guests and also for yourself to feel nice throughout the day. I took the time to sort though all of my tea (a job that was long-overdue) and it’s now organized and consolidated. Extra boxes of tea are stored away in the pantry.
8. Hot Chocolate
Don’t forget the little guests. I now have hot chocolate ready on the shelf for the kids or adults. It would be lovely to have a glass jar of marshmallows next to the hot cocoa, but realistically that wouldn’t last more than 5 minutes before my kids devoured them. They love marshmallows 🙂 Instead I’ve got conversation starters in a jar which are fun to pull out with my kids and their friends when they sit down for a snack. The bamboo straws in the red jug have been a big hit and surprisingly easy to clean. No waste – yay!
9. Linen Napkins
Speaking of no waste, I mentioned in my last post that I have added to my linen napkin collection. I now have green ones from this Etsy shop and grey ones from West Wing (found here). Displayed on my shelf, now I can’t forget to use them when I’m setting the table for guests.
10. Cupboard full of goodies for guests
Hidden away in a cupboard in my basement, I have finally stocked up on sweet and savoury treats to have at the ready for guests. I mentioned before that keeping snacks on hand never works in our house because someone always eats them. So I have sneakily found space in my “party pantry” downstairs which holds party decorations and extra glasses and no one else in the family ever looks into. I will have to use my willpower not to visit the party pantry too often and if I discover its contents missing I will know my husband has surprisingly read the text of this blog post this far down 😉
11. Recipes at the ready
I have made a simple list of recipes that I can make quickly when guests come over. I looked through my beloved cookbooks to find a couple recipes that I would like to try new this year and will practice them first with my family so I feel confident when I serve them to guests. The recipe book above has been a real find that I spontaneously ordered a few weeks ago. It is filled with fun recipes all made with puff pastry. They are both kid friendly and elegant enough to serve at a cocktail party. Also great for when you have to bring something to an event, like this coming weekend I will be making a gorgeous (yet quick and easy!) tree shaped creation for my son’s class party. I will switch up the recipe from savoury pesto to sweet with cinnamon and sugar.
I hope this has given you a little inspiration and motivation to get in the mood to entertain. There is nothing more enjoyable than spending time with friends and family over food and drink and the less stressful it is, the better!
Next month (which is rapidly approaching!) I will be coming at you with Christmas decorations. Until then, enjoy the rest of November and happy Thanksgiving if you are celebrating!