Easy Entertaining – Are You in an Entertaining Rut?

Are you in charge of hosting the next family get-together and find that you are short on time and creativity? When cooking for a crowd do you find yourself on auto-pilot; preparing the same dishes for every event? Do you get the feeling that family members are viewing your get-together as one more obligation rather than looking forward to it? Maybe it is time to change things up!

Try these easy entertaining tips to keep your family gatherings fresh and interesting:

1.Β Share the cooking:Β Host a themed potluck such asΒ A Tuscan Family Feast or a Mexican Fiesta. Assign dishes (appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, drinks) to family members and give recipes if they request it. This takes pressure off of you and offers your family a delightfully different menu.

2.Β Add a new recipe:Β Instead of revamping your entire menu, introduce one or two new recipes along with your family favorites that you usually serve. This adds diversity to your menu and new tastes for family members to enjoy.

3.Β Buy some of your menu items:Β Fill in your menu with some fantastic purchased items. How about a dessert from the award-winning local bakery or your favorite tamales from a small restaurant? One or two new purchased items can add interest to your menu and can free up your time as well.

4.Β Change up the usual activities:Β If you find that family members always gravitate to the television or are only interested in conversing, shake things up! Again, one or two new activities can go a long way to making your gathering new and appealing without upsetting those who are accustomed to a certain routine.

a. Ask the kids in advance to prepare a puppet show or a talent show to entertain the adults. Some children with outgoing personalities will absolutely love the opportunity to share their singing, gymnastics, acting, dance or musical instruments with the family.

b. Introduce a new game to play such as: Quiddler, an inexpensive card game or Buzzword, a fun game that 10 year olds to adults can play.

c. For summertime entertaining, set up a friendly competition, such as a family volleyball, badminton or softball game. If you have a fire pit, sing campfire songs, tell spooky stories, and prepare S’Mores.

d. Kids tend to get bored when they have several hours with nothing to do. Have a piΓ±ata or craft/board game for the kids. Craft stores carry complete kits for kids to make a fun craft. This is not only a timesaver for the host, but it keeps the kids entertained. Or take a trip to the dollar store and pick up a colorful container and fill it with jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, puzzles, jacks, etc. to keep your young guests entertained.

Having people into your home for great food and warm hospitality adds quality to life. If you concentrate on doing a few things well, you can pull off enjoyable get-togethers that both you and your family will enjoy. Introducing one or two new menu items or activities to your family get-togethers keeps things interesting. Kudos to you for giving this wonderful gift of hospitality to your family!

Patricia Mendez, copyright 2008

Patricia is the author of the book,Β Easy Entertaining for Beginners. The book has been namedΒ 2009 Silver Recipient Mom’s Choice Award. Patricia has designed and written her book for beginners who would like to learn to host casual entertaining but may have never done so in their lives. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef or nervous wreck to host a great dinner party!


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