(BPT) - The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, but with the average size of an apartment in the US 8% smaller than 10 years ago (source), many lack a comfortable space of their own to host a party. The good news is this: you don’t need ample budget or space to entertain. With some simple tips and inspiration, you can host a holiday gathering that truly embodies the season and creates lasting memories for family and friends.
To create a gathering space for a group of particularly space-challenged folks, New Yorkers, and inspire everyone to savor this holiday season, Marie Callender’s(R) is bringing New Yorkers The Dining Room by Marie Callender’s: three unique dining rooms that they can reserve to host holiday parties, as if they’re in the comfort of their own home. Pictured here, these unique dining rooms were co-created with a different partner, including Jennie Garth, Stacy London and Daphne Oz, in partnership with Celebrity Event Planner Platinum Events.
While you may not be able to dine in The Dining Room by Marie Callender’s, you can draw inspiration from the space and create your own unique entertaining experience at home with these five tips.
* Make your dining area feel special. However big your dining space is, keeping it simple and special touches will make the space feel elevated. Start with your serving pieces – using real (non-paper or plastic) plates, silverware and glasses will bring a polish to your meal. Then, keep it simple with the décor and serving presentation. If your guests are eating in the living room, try setting up the food buffet-style in the kitchen to allow more space for your favorite holiday decorations in the living room.
* Create great food without a caterer. Skipping a caterer saves money but not time, so create a menu of low-preparation recipes and lean on high-quality, already-prepared foods, like Marie Callender’s frozen meals, pot pies and desserts. You can serve already-prepared dishes alone, or simplify a recipe by using an already-prepared dish, like this Apple Spice Cupcake recipe featuring Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie. Simply repurpose the pie filling and turn one dessert into another (tip: this is a great recipe for using up leftover pie…if there is any).
* Decorate smart. Every holiday party sees guests gather in one or two rooms. Whether it’s the kitchen, living room or the dining room, spend your decorating time and money in this space, instead of the entire house. Adorning the areas where your guests choose to celebrate will keep everyone in the spirit of the season while controlling your costs as well.
* Establish and embrace the budget. When it comes to hosting a holiday party, let the budget be your guide. Plan your festivities down to the last cheese square and account for everything in your overall budget. The more detailed your budget, the less wiggle room and the easier it will be to stick to. Then, as party day grows closer, adhere to your budget wholeheartedly as it will protect you from any expensive whims.
* Don’t go it alone. You don’t have to plan your entire party alone. A progressive dinner is a great way to save money and time. One person hosts one or two courses, so, if your apartment is small, offer to host cocktails and leave the big, sit-down meal for someone with more space. Together you’ll manage expenses and create a truly memorable party.
To learn more about Marie Callender’s and find holiday recipes like the Apple Spice Cupcakes, visit http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/.