The Entertaining issue
Family Entertaining Tips

8 Brilliant Entertaining Tips Our Editors Learned From Friends and Family

Part of having a home of your own means that you'll occasionally want to invite friends and family over for gatherings, which is no easy feat if you're a first-time host or hostess. The holiday season is upon us and it's known as a time for gathering with the people closest to you so you might already be planning your next big soiree or your very first one. There are a lot of moving parts involved in entertaining that can be stressful, and entertaining can be even more of a challenge when you're receiving the baton to host your entire family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

Though it can be easy to fall into an endless spiral of entertaining do's and don'ts, have no fear MyDomaine's editorial team is here with some entertaining tips we can't live without.

1. Don't Forget the Theme

"My mom always makes sure there's a reason for a gathering whether it be a Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, karaoke night, or girls' night in–there's always a theme and a purpose for every gathering and that makes it easier to plan meals around the theme as well as party games, music and decor." —Aliyah Rodriguez, associate editor

2. Be To-Go Friendly

leftover food

Stocksy/Jill Chen

"My mom loves packing leftovers for guests to take home after the party, so she always has a stash of disposable Tupperware in our cabinets so she can easily pack everything—it saves her so much time!" —Jane Kim, associate editor

3. Prepare Drinks Ahead of Time

Charcuterie and Cocktails

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

"Choose cocktail recipes and food that can be prepared ahead of time. My mom is the queen of preparing ahead of time and just popping something in the oven or pouring a drink from a pitcher when guests arrive. This way, you can actually visit with your guests instead of rushing around the kitchen, making you and everyone else more comfortable and less stressed. " —Caroline Utz, senior editor

4. Always Have an Activity

group of people playing cards

Stocksy/Ivan Gener

"My sister-in-law never lets a party get boring. Anytime she feels like there's a lull in the conversation, she always whips out a game for us to play. Giant Jenga and Uno are our family staples—it's a great way to bring out our competitive sides and add an extra layer to the gathering." —Aliyah Rodriguez, associate editor

5. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment

"My mom is never afraid to attempt a seasonal craft or dessert, even if (especially if!) the results turn out...unexpectedly. Our party guests get such a kick out of the #fails." —Courtney Mason, general manager and vice president

Cinnamon Roll Turkeys

Courtney Mason

6. Start with an Empty Dishwasher

empty dishwasher

Stocksy/Melanie Kintz

"Always start a party with an empty dishwasher! That way you don't end up with a dirty pile of dishes in the sink with nowhere to go. Plus, guests are often willing to pitch in on dish duty, and having an empty dishwasher to start makes the task a lot easier." —Jenny Hughes, editor

7. Have a Little Fun With The Weather

Wine Bottle in Snow

intek1 / Getty Images

"My dad's go-to entertaining tip for winter holidays is to store drinks outside in the snow! Guests are always tickled by having to pop out to the deck to grab a drink and it saves room in the fridge. " — Emma Glubiak, senior social media editor

8. Plan, Plan, Plan

Family Entertaining Tips

Stocksy/Cameron Whitman

"One part of entertaining I love is actually the planning, and I definitely got that from my mom. She is nose-down in magazines and scouring the aisles of Target prior to hosting a party, gathering as much inspiration as she can to throw the perfect soiree. If you know you're hosting the holidays this year, get excited and plan as much as you can ahead of time: invent a fun cocktail for the special day, plan out which recipes to cook, and begin decorating the house days in advance. There is nothing wrong with excited anticipation." —Mia Ingui, editor