The Holiday countdown is real and happening before our very eyes. In fact, I have a friend who, every year, will post some unnerving picture of Santa and his elves doing a countdown to Christmas. She will start these posts in July, that’s what’s so unnerving. However, when you are in retail, one must start to plot early.
On a personal note, though, as I’m writing this post, it’s Halloween. Essentially, this means I need to get cracking on my planning. And, since I am a “planner,” the need seems even more urgent. Just look at the calendar. There are only three Thursdays until Thanksgiving. We could extrapolate on out to Christmas, but I’ll save you that panic attack for a few weeks.
Quite frankly, the more behind-the-scenes prep you do, the more relaxed you’ll be when the gathering happens. So, here’s how to start.
Deck the table
The little jingle goes, “deck the halls with boughs of holly.” Well, let me tell you the table certainly deserves some attention, starting with the linens.
- Do a quick inventory based on the guest list. Do you have appropriate table cloths and runners? What about cloth napkins? Yes, the Holidays are the time to pull out the cloth, even if you don’t the rest of the year. We just happen to have a table linen sale going on for the month of November. All in-stock items are 20% off, saving you some dough for other necessities.
- While we’re at it, survey your dishes. Make sure you have adequate plates and platters, bowls, glasses and flatware. Keep in mind that you’ll also need serving pieces. What gravy boat? Don’t be caught empty handed.
- Plan out seating arrangements or keep it casual, allowing guests to choose a spot. This is my favorite way to entertain, and I like the kiddos mixed in with the big people. They keep the conversation fresh with their quirky additions.
- Think of an imaginative centerpiece. Whether it’s fresh flowers, fruit, branches or nuts, keep it low so everyone has a view of each other. Pinterest has so many options, it’s mind-boggling.
Stock the shelves
- Plan a menu. I’ve started setting aside recipes, and just this morning I received a text from a family member sharing her food thoughts. Anything that can be made ahead of time and popped in the freezer is even better.
- While stocking the shelves with ingredients for the actual meal, remember to grab all of the extras that will be needed. This is especially true if you’ll have overnight guests. Think meat, cheese, crackers and cut vegetables. Coffee and tea is definitely on the list, along with juice, wine and the all-important half and half.
If you haven’t had a chance to stop by our new studio, this is your perfect excuse. You can pick up napkins and a table runner, or browse our selection of dishware. When you’ve pulled together the needed stuff, Village Baker is just across the street for a loaf of amazing bread or decadent cookies.
Looking forward to seeing you.