Creating Holiday Memories

Tips & recipes for your holiday celebration

Chances are, some of your favorite holiday traditions and memories were born from entertaining family and friends in your home. And the cornerstone of entertaining is food. Chef Pano Stathakis shares a few tips and family recipes for a dinner party that’s filled with more joy and less stress.

Entertaining tips

Planning is the key. Schedule backward from the party date. If you are sending formal invitations, allow two weeks for printing before mailing. Depending on the size your guest list, phone calls are a great, personal way to invite guests too.

Line up your caterer, bartender, florist and other vendors at least four to six weeks in advance. Will you use your china and silver or simply rent? Remember to factor in time to prep and clean if you’re using your own.

When setting a menu, provide a little bit of everything. A couple of different proteins — some combination of chicken, beef or pork,  along with one seafood item  ­— gives your guests choices and meets a variety of dietary concerns.

Vegetables provide contrasting colors, textures and tastes, to give the table a nice setting.

The holidays can feature heavier ingredients, such as chocolate and cream-based desserts, and spices such as cinnamon.

Stathakis suggests sharing a personal memory with your guests by asking the caterer to prepare a special family dessert or entrée.

Valet parking can be helpful, especially for smaller neighborhoods or guests who have mobility issues.

It’s common courtesy to tell your neighbors about your party and when it’s expected to end.

If someone brings wine, you can ask your guest if he or she would like it served that evening.

Hire wait service so as a host your time can be spent in conversation with your guests instead of picking up plates and filling glasses. After all, enjoying a stress-free evening in the company of family and friends should be the focus of your holidays, too.  E

Check out these recipes and get cooking!


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