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Holiday Dips, Tips, and Party Tricks

One of the best things about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. Celebrating over delicious dishes and drinks should be fun and easy. There are so many ways to host a great party that doesn’t involve hours in the kitchen. Here are some simple ideas to make your holiday get-togethers as enjoyable for you as they are for your guests.

Simplify What You Serve.

The key to simplifying things is making 2-3 dishes you’re confident are crowd-pleasers, and then rounding things out with purchased and prepared foods. Hit the deli section at your favorite grocery store for assortments of cheeses, meats, and olives, and pick up some marinated veggies from the salad bar. Throw in a sliced baguette, other attractive bakery breads, and some fancy crackers, and you’re good to go. Another great way to cut down on last-minute fuss is to prepare party dips that can be made a day or so ahead. Not only will you just need to transfer them into a pretty serving bowl on the night of your get-together, but most dips actually benefit from some time in the fridge so the flavors can marry.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Caesar-Style White Beans

Caesar-Style White Beans

Cowboy Caviar

Creamy Mediterranean Hummus

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus

Tomato & White Bean Bruschetta

Limit the Libations.

Serving a signature holiday punch, champagne cocktail or keeping your offerings to self-serve beer and wine avoids the need for someone to play bartender all evening. Make sure to include some non-alcoholic choices for designated drivers or anyone else who doesn’t care to imbibe. Flavored sparkling waters can be just as festive with a few berries or other fruit garnish. Don’t worry about fancy glassware — you can find disposable versions of virtually every cocktail glass that exists — from flutes to punch cups.

Make the Mood Merry.

Stream a holiday music station to set the mood with the push of a button — freeing you to mingle with your guests. If you don’t have room for a full-size tree or other large holiday displays, some pine boughs arranged on the mantel or above picture frames will lend a festive air. Even better, most Christmas tree lots will give you all of the trimmed boughs you can carry for free. Plenty of votive or pillar candles scattered around the room will add a holiday look and scent.

Celebrate the Season.

By keeping things simple, you can focus on the true reason for the season — family, friends, and loved ones coming together to share food, drink, and the company of one another — whether it’s celebrating beloved traditions annually, or creating new traditions of your own. Remember, what really matters is that everyone has a wonderful time — including the host.

Happy Holidays!