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Top 10 Favorite Tips for Easy Entertaining

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Over the years I have published many tips to help things run more smoothly when you entertain. Every so often friends and readers will let me know which one of this site's tips have made entertaining easier for them. I also have my own favorite tips that I practice on a regular basis. So without further ado, here are the favorite tips from this site for easy entertaining.

1. Don't Unpack Your Groceries

Woman with groceries in Santa FE, NEW MEXICO
Marc Romanelli/Stockbyte/Getty Images
You've just shopped for the non-perishables for your upcoming party. Don't let compulsive tidiness make you waste your time. Unless you're expecting guests in your home before the party, leave your unperishables in the grocery bags. Then you've saved both the time it takes to put the stuff away in your pantry, as well as the time it takes to dig it back out a few days later for your party.

2. Empty Your Coat Closet

Before your guests arrive, make enough room in your coat closet for their coats. That way you won't have to make a messy pile of guest coats on a chair and neither will you have to bring them to another room. Think about it... if you plan to store them upstairs or in a room you don't plan to use for the party, that's another place you'll have to clean in preparation for the party, since guests will probably head to the room when it's time to retrieve their coats.

3. Plan for Leftovers

You've worked hard to prepare for your party. Don't you deserve a break when it's over? By making enough food to have leftovers when the party's over, you'll be able to skip cooking for a few days after the event.

4. Don't Lose Plates to Leftovers

If you intend to share your leftovers with your guests, don't send them home with your good dishes and serving pieces. Plan ahead and lay in an inexpensive supply of disposable containers that you won't want to see again.

5. Minimize the Cleaning During Your Party

In the middle of a good party, you don't want to interrupt the flow of events to tidy up. And yet, you don't want things to become too uncomfortable because your trash cans are overflowing and plates are covering your counters. By planning ahead, you can minimize the cleaning required during your party.

6. Clean No Higher Than Your Tallest Guest

Save the deep (or high) cleaning of your home for when you're not scrambling to accomplish all of the other tasks you need to do when you entertain.

7. Hide the Dust with Candles

So let's say you can't even get around to doing minimal dusting for your party. By using strategic lighting and candles, your guests may not notice that fine coating of dust all over your home.

8. Organize a Cookie Exchange

I'm not saying it isn't wonderful to prepare your own desserts for your party, but by organizing a cookie exchange before all of your other holiday parties, you'll have a much wider variety to serve to your guests.

9. Use Wine Glass Charms

It's so easy during a party to lose track of your wine glass if you put it down in the middle of a good conversation. By giving your guests wine glass charms, you'll cut back on the amount of extra glasses you'll need to pull out and clean up each time a guest loses his or her glass. Place the charms on your glasses prior to the party, that way you don't have to take the time to do it while your guests are waiting for their drinks.

10. Don't Cook it All By Yourself

There are so many high quality specialty foods in the markets, it's really unnecessary to cook everything for your party yourself. Cook and prepare whatever you like to do best, then save time by filling in the rest with gourmet products.

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