December 16, 2014

5 Last-Minute Holiday Hosting Must Haves

With the holidays comes lots of parties and lots of guests. I find that people are travelling, events are happening, and everyone wants to get together. Sometimes you will find out you are having people over a day before or a minute before! Here's a list of 5 things I keep on hand so I'm always prepared to have a party!


1. Wine. duh.
Not that I ever seem to run out, but I always keep a bottle of cheaper wine on hand for spur-of-the-moment guests to drink. People usually bring wine and whatever they are drinking over too so there ends up being plenty to go around. 


2.  A full supply of paper products. 
My apartment only has one bathroom so if guests are over, it's getting some heavy traffic. During the holidays I try to keep it extra clean and stock it with a festive air freshener, extra hand towels, and extra toilet paper. Having a sink full of dishes the next day is the worst part of hosting. I try to have some colored paper plates and napkins on hand for guests to reduce some of the dirty dishes. 

3. A boxed baking mix.

While it isn't as good as something from scratch, I always keep a boxed brownie or cookie mix on hand year round for a last minute gathering as a host or an attendee. My mother taught me never to show up anywhere empty-handed!  

After trying some of Ardenne Farms products at Natural Products Expo East, they sent me a few of their gluten-free mixes to try.  I love that unlike other popular, processed brands, Ardenne Farms mixes are made with high-quality gluten-free flours and contain NO artificial flavors or preservatives. They are just as easy to make and the gluten-free and artificial-free aspects are undetectable to blinded taste testers (a.k.a. my boyfriend) and party-goers.  I made the fudge brownies with the mix by adding water, oil, and eggs. I also added extra chocolate chips and sprinkles because that's how I roll.


The chocolate chip cookies were equally as delicious and not weirdly dense or chewy, like some gluten-free cookies can turn out. All I needed was the mix, butter, and a little bit of water for a batch of chocolate chip cookies .


4. Candles.
If you are hosting on short notice, there isn't much you can do as far as decorating. I usually am more worried about tidying up and vacuuming! This year I was lucky enough to get my apartment decorated for the holidays in time for a little party so it definitely looked festive, but some lit holiday-scented candles added a great touch. Year-round whenever I have people over, I love lighting some candles. They smell pleasant and add a certain coziness to my apartment.  


5. Be armed with snacks at all times.
If people are over and especially if they are drinking, they are bound to get hungry.  I am always stocked up on snacks (#foreverhungry), but I like keeping around some basics if I know I'll be hosting get-togethers in the near future. You can make little hors d'eouvres out of the simplest things. 

Believe me, the simpler the appetizer, the more people eat it. My favorites include trail mixes, hummus with crackers and carrots, vegetable dip spooned onto cucumber slices, cheese plates, and cookies.  

I've also made mini pizza cups by baking wonton wrappers in muffin tins and filling with sauce, slices of pepperoni, and shredded cheese then popping into the oven. They are super easy to make and gone quickly! 

Photo from last year's Oscars party spread
What do you keep on hand for having guests over? What's your favorite easy party snack?


  1. great list, lady! i'm with you wine and baking go pretty far with guests. cheese and crackers and cured meats are always a hit, too.

  2. Wine is a must. I always make sure I have a few bottles on hand. I have never heard of Ardenne Farms brand. The cookies look tasty. -L

  3. Its definitely so important to have enough wine:) We always have a few extra bottles around. The cookies look really good and it sounds like they're really easy to make!

  4. I live next door to my parents and the last time I had people over, I had to run over there to get cheese and crackers! Ha! So basically, I need to work on tip #5. But there's always wine. Always.

  5. I AM THE WORST HOST! When people come over to my house they ask if I have snacks - UHHH FAIL! I never have ANY FOOD anyone would ever want to eat LOL! But if I truly were HOSTING A PARTY, I would have crudite, maybe some cheese, meats, I dunno - LOL!!!!

  6. Only the essentials right