Make Merry: A Cheat Sheet To Stress-Free Festive Entertaining

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‘Tis the season of giving, and what better way to shower your nearest and dearest with love than by playing host? After all, home is where the heart is. Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank or break a sweat planning this soiree for your kinfolk and closest companions. Because we’ve got the plan to help you ace the entertaining game. Read on.

Set the table
Orchestrate a seamless evening with the proper place setting. This means plates, cutleries, glassware and napkins are all neatly laid out atop a placemat or a crisp tablecloth – ala fine dining style. A well-appointed table allows guests to dine in comfort since there’s less need to repeatedly request for an extra utensil or napkins. That aside, a gorgeous tablescape sets the mood for your fete, and we can’t deny how camera-ready it is for some serious flat-lay food shots.

Image credit: Crate & Barrel

Image credit: Crate & Barrel

Serve in style
Now’s the time to break out the fine china. Stir up interest on your table situation by teaming patterned side plates with plain or coloured pieces, or explore a pattern-on-pattern combination. That said, we highly recommend picking one or, at most, two hues as a colour reference. This creates a simple but strong aesthetic that makes an impact without being over-the-top. Once you’ve nailed your palette and serving pieces, use these as the visual springboard for your table decor if you’re stumped for ideas.

Image credit: Crate & Barrel

Image credit: Crate & Barrel

Don’t forget some mood setters 
Your banquet is the star of the show – so, don’t steal the spotlight with an excessively adorned centrepiece. A garland works great – simply snake it across available space on the table. This lush greenery can be used on its own for a touch of the rustic or spruced up with tinsel and twinkling lights. If you’d rather make room for what matters (i.e. the delectable dishes), intersperse your dining table with petite ornaments such as a snow globe, pine cones or narrow candles set on festive inspired holders. Salt and pepper jars in the shape of a Christmas tree is a nifty way to bedeck your table as well.

Image credit: Lights 4 Fun

Image credit: Lights 4 Fun

Take it away
Cooking is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones. But the fact is, not all of us are domestic goddess material. Takeaways are a saviour particularly if you’re time-starved or tied down with other commitments. What’s great is you’re assured of taste and quality, from first bites to sweet endings. Plus, less cleanup is needed when you order in.

In regards to the menu, always start off with appetizers to satiate those who arrive feeling a tad peckish. This could be as simple as a cheese platter. A Christmas menu typically comprises slow-roasted turkey or honey glazed ham as the centrepiece; main dishes of either roast or prawns; as well as several side dishes. End the evening on a sweet note with desserts. Log cakes are a holiday classic, but there’s no harm serving other additional sweet treats such as tarts or puddings. Food is the focus here, but don’t neglect beverages. Apart from preparing several bottles of good wines or champagne, you could also set up a self-serve cocktail bar. Equip it with the necessary glassware and tools, a recipe as a guide, as well as key ingredients – so guests can help themselves. It’s also prudent to provide non-alcoholic options like juice or carbonated soda for those who drive or doesn’t drink.

Image credit: Sofitel Singapore

Image credit: Sofitel Singapore

This was adapted from an article originally written by Fidz Azmin published in the December 2018 issue of SquareRooms

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