WW #48: 5 Tips on Holiday Entertaining Giveaway

Hello mamas and papas.  So, Friday night we held a fairly large sit-down Swedish smörgåsbord dinner.  I had started baking, planning, grocery shopping and all the rest of it weeks before.  Looking back, there were things that went right and things that could have gone more smoothly … thus this blog post which I hope will be helpful to some of you out there who might be inspired to entertain this holiday season!

WW #48: 5 Tips on Holiday Entertaining Giveaway

1. Plenty to drink.  Whether your guests will favor wine, beer, spirits, soda or punch, never shortchange it when it comes to the beverages.  To me, the old saying Eat, Drink and be Merry applies mostly to drink.  If there is drink, the party continues.  Shortage of drink, not so clear.  Here are the flames arising from our brande, which we add each year to the Swedish glögg, along with a dash of vodka, red table wine, raisins, almonds, cardamon seeds and cinnamon sticks and sugar.  It sits on the stove for a week or two and gets yummier by the day.  But beware — the glögg’s sweetness hides a serious alcohol component.


2.  Plan your menu in advance.  Know what you will be cooking way ahead.  As with everything in life, I believe that planning reduces stress.  Don’t wait to see what the market presents fresh that day and make decision on the fly.  Rather, make a list of every dish you want on your dinner party menu, from the main dishes to the desserts, and start buying your ingredients the week before.  Then, make a food preparation calendar.  Here are my meatballs which I had mixed and rolled on Wednesday, fried on Thursday, and heated with cream on Friday in time to serve.  I could never, I mean never, have fried them Friday with all the last minute things I had still to do.


3.  Decorate richly.  Half the fun of the party is decorating.  Whether this be paper cut-outs made by your kids, flowers, or candles, find items that have meaning for you and put them out in your home.  If you like to entertain, put decorations on your birthday or holiday wish list because these will bring you so much joy.

I’ve been collecting Swedish Christmas decorations for about 15 years and each year I amass a few more at the Swedish fair.  Then, my generous mom has handed me down a few, such as this candelabra.  Taking them out every year and placing them around our apartment has become a big part of the joy of Christmas for me and my kids.

There’s nothing that says PARTY more than a festive decor, and entertaining at home gives you a great opportunity to make it your own.  In your everyday life, you likely are not decking the halls so seize the opportunity when it presents itself.






4.  Only invite people you like.  A party is a lot of work, and it’s your big chance to surround yourself with people who lift you up, not who bring you down.  Only invite people who warm your soul.  For these folks, you’ll instinctively want to go the extra mile — their friendship will inspire you as a host or hostess.  Introducing friends to each other is another huge plus.  I get so excited when people I adore click and form new friendships.

Since we had 50 people many of whom know each other and some of whom I wanted to introduce, I did place seating.  I cut white paper into rectangles and wrote the guests’ names on them with a simple blue pen.  Sometimes, simple is best.



5.  Have a great time.  Holiday entertaining can be stressful, but planning, cooking and preparing in advance should free you up to talk and have fun.  Don’t plan on doing any major food prep during the event.  By the time your guests arrive, your food should be ready on low heat on the stove.

When guests offer to bring things, accept their kind invitations.  Our guests brought desserts which made for a lovely and diverse dessert table, which is now one of my favorite holiday party ideas! With cakes and and tarts ranging from Princess Cake to pumpkin cake to a Buche de Noel (a French yule log), it was so much fun to taste all of our guests’  creations.  Pitching in and contributing makes people feel involved in the event, adding to the fun.  And how much fun for you as the host or hostess to try some new things.


When I look back at our dessert table, I feel touched by the effort people made to bring such lovely treats.

What are your tips for how to plan a party this holiday season? Let me know your ideas in the comments!


So that’s it for this week’s Weekly Wrap Up.  From our house to yours, Merry Christmas — Happy Holidays — and stay tuned for some awesome gift posts this week on Cloudmom.

The best times are always found when friends and family gather round.

And don’t forget to enter our giveaway!  Ho ho ho … 

Love, Melissa

Weekly Giveaway

Prize: One (1) $50 Amazon gift card.


  • Enter using the Gleam.io widget below.
  • Open to U.S readers.
  • You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • You have multiple ways you can enter to increase your chances of winning.
  • The giveaway ends on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time).
  • Winner will be contacted within 48 hours after the giveaway has ended.

Weekly $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back for more! xo

  • shellypeterson

    Thanks for the tips! The tables looked beautiful!

    • Thanks so much! Thank you for reading xo

  • helobuff

    Excellent tips for planning. It’s always hectic since I bake from scratch so people have dessert to take home with them. It’s a big job. I do bake the cookies the day prior and the fruitcake two days prior, but the pies are the same day.. they have do to be fresh!
    I have learned that people tend to eat more when you serve buffet style rather than at the dinner table, it also means there is more to clean up around the house after but makes it so much easier. People eat and roam where they like… don’t have to worry do they have everything on the table (small table issue). Try it one year. You’ll like it.. put it out and they choose.. it’s better!

    • Wow! I’m sure your guests love coming for dessert alone 🙂 Thanks for the tip and thanks for reading CloudMom!

      • helobuff

        they do.. hope you try the buffet style, gives you more time to mingle with guests!

  • Colleen Boudreau

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Betsy R Barnes

    Your table settings and table decorations were just beautiful! I loved the dessert table, it looks like it was a great idea to let guests bring desserts, offers a variety 🙂

    • Yes! So many new treats to try 🙂

  • Kyaw

    Good luck everyone, make it a nice X’mas present if you win

  • Jacqueline Webb

    Wonderful Giveaway! Thank you for this opportunity. =)

    • You’re welcome! Thank you for supporting CloudMom 🙂 xo

  • cynthiac

    Everything looks so beautiful. I’m sure your guests appreciate all the hard work and planning. I know it’s not easy!

  • Julie Wood

    What a really gorgeous Swedish Holiday dinner that you had and the table looks so pretty and you did a good job. I loved your pretty tree!

  • makecontact

    Your Christmas entertaining photos look a lot like our family’s Swedish Christmas celebrations. We eat traditional Swedish food, have the Santa Lucia signing by my sister in white robe and candles headpiece, have some Bible and poetry readings, and then dance around the house and tree singing, “Nu Är Det Jul Igen.”

    We also have lots of Swedish tomten (elves) and dala horses and such for decoration. Fun times!

    • Wow! We sure love our Swedish traditions and yours sound lovely too 🙂

  • Kay Saunders

    You did a beautiful job! I love the stress and pride in hosting parties/events. I would love to try some glögg one day, it sounds really interesting 🙂

    • Thanks so much! It is a staple of our holiday season, definitely give it a try sometime 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Looks great 🙂

  • slyder0244

    Thanks for all the tips

  • Elisabeth

    That dessert table is gorgeous!

    • Everyone brought such amazing treats! It’s a great way to get to try a bunch of different desserts without spending hours baking in the kitchen 🙂

  • mommyto2girlz

    You did a beautiful job decorating!

  • Augustin

    That is a very large tree but decorated to be magnificent

  • Mary Beth Elderton

    Beautiful table settings! I love the dessert table.

  • slehan

    Beautiful party set up. I like the name tags for a group that large.
    Thanks for the contest.
    slehan at juno dot com

  • slehan

    Didn’t get credit on the form for the first retweet. ‘twitter says no, you already retweeted this tweet’. OK, so I retweeted it, give me credit for it.

  • Jerry Marquardt

    These are nice place settings. I would like to thank you for your continued and very useful reviews and giveaways. This is very much appreciated.

    • Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate the comment 🙂

  • Buddy Garrett

    The tips are great. Merry Christmas.

  • Natalie

    Good luck to all! I hope everyone has a great Christmas!

  • Jackie OGorman

    Great tips

  • Sharon Braswell

    Everything about this party is beautiful, and I don’t know how you did it all yourself! I hope you had some help! Merry Christmas!!

  • kathy pease

    Great tips!

    Thanks so much for the chance 🙂

  • Katherine Riley

    I loved setting the table for Christmas dinner when I was younger. Always fun!

  • steve weber

    I love what you did with the table setting.. so pretty.

  • Dorothy Hubbard

    So many great tips and idea’s, thanks for all you do.

    • Thank you! I appreciate you reading 🙂

  • Susan Smith

    Great decorating!

  • honeypie411

    Amazing tips and ideas!

  • Thomas Murphy

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Camille Hector

    Nice tips and thanks for the chance!