The kids want to eat early. Aunt Carol isn't arriving until two. And friends are planning to swing by later for a drink. Sounds like open house time! It's the busy hostess's best kept secret for easy holiday entertaining, and these five ideas are just the beginning...
Once the fun and frenzy of unwrapping gifts is over, a casual afternoon open house is a delightful way to extend the merriment of Christmas Day with neighbors, friends and relatives. Your grateful guests—especially singles and families with kids—will be happy to have somewhere to go for mixing and mingling.
A bountiful holiday buffet, served in the dining room or kitchen, makes it easy to accommodate drop-ins throughout the day and into the evening. Set up a separate table for beverages, and welcome guests with a cup of homemade eggnog—with or without rum—followed by a steaming bowl of hot soup. Arrange multiple dining areas in the living room, with comfortable chairs grouped around low tables.
Use seasonal fruits, such as pomegranates, clustered with berries and fresh-picked greenery on white serving dishes and footed platters to create colorful decorating accents. Adorn the front hall with boughs and wreaths, and designate a bench or table for guests to leave hostess gifts. Set out gifts for them to take home as well, such as bags of homemade spiced nuts, tied with ribbons.