There’s nothing worse than planning a party, especially during the holidays, and having something go wrong at the last minute. Nobody wants to run out of food or have a clogged sink, or have something spilled on the carpet, especially when guests are due to arrive, but nine times out of 10, something always happens, doesn’t it? Entertaining expert and TV host, Susie Coelho joined me recently to discuss simple ways we can avert holiday disasters when entertaining guests, and save money too!
Candace Rose: Holiday entertaining can be very stressful. What can those of us who will be hosting holiday parties and get-togethers this season do to ease stress?
Susie Coelho: “Well, there’s actually two aspects to look out for entertaining. I like to look at the aesthetic and the decor aspects and food, and also the practical aspects. Let me give you both of those tips to avert holiday disasters as well as have your place look beautiful.
Let’s start with decor. First I tell people to pick a two toned color palette.It keeps it really simple, and then you’re not all stressed out with every holiday decoration that you’ve ever had coming onto the table. I like to choose two colors- if it’s red and white for contemporary; if it’s red and green for traditional- that keeps it simple.
Next is appetizers and food. Why not have your friends bring the appetizers, because it saves on time and money. But don’t have them bring just anything. We’ve all gone to those parties where there’s a big long table and every appetizer you can think of from the market is on that table. I like to tell people ‘I’m doing Mexican, can you please bring some appetizers; I would love for you to bring chips and salsa, or guacamole or everybody’s bringing a different kind of salsa, and I’m providing the chips. You know, something that’s a little more interesting, that kind of themes it and where it’s not too unruly. Also, have them bring it on a tray or a plate so that they’re not all in the kitchen preparing at the same time.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other last minute checklist items we should have before company arrives?
Susie Coelho: “Yes, definitely because there’s a practical aspect as well. I’ve actually been entertaining my whole life, but I’ve entertained a few times and I’ve had clogged sinks and that is the worst.
The first product I’m going to tell you about that I keep on hand is very practical- Liquid Plumr Double Impact Snake + Gel System. Now this works really well to declog your sink and remove hair and grease in your bathroom or your kitchen.
The next product is Clorox which I grew up with. But how do you use it to handle those pesky holiday stains like red wine, pumpkin pie and egg nog? Basically go to the Clorox website to Dr. Laundry and download the free myStain application, and you can check on the go on your phone- ‘Oh my gosh I just spilled red wine on my blouse, how do I handle that?’ And you can see how to do that.
The next product I use personally is Cascade Complete Action Pacs. And what’s great about this is I don’t like spots on my glasses, especially my wine glasses. It really does a great job of handling hard water so your glasses are virtually spot free.
And then last but not least, I like a clean house, so I like to have it cleaned up before people come, but I also like it clean after, so Stanley Steemer, they can come and do your hardwood floors, your tile, your carpet, your upholstery. And, I’m now a coupon, so you can basically go and use my name: Susie, and use it as the discount code on StanleySteemer.com and get $25 off your next purchase. Well, it’s not expensive to begin with so this is really a good discount. It’s always great to save money during the holidays, and I’m giving gift certificates to Stanley Steemer to people.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we should keep in mind when planning our holiday parties?
Susie Coelho: “I think the two main things are keep it simple, and be prepared. Think ahead of how you can reduce time and money by having people bring things, and being prepared with items that are not going to cost you last minute plumbing or somebody to come in and handle something for the last minute. And for more tips you can go to MoreTipsForYou.com.”