december entertaining tips for a great get-together

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm excited to be starting a new monthly entertaining series. There's a big misconception that entertaining has to be a huge ordeal that's expensive and time-consuming when, in reality, that's just not true. I'm a fan of frequent, small get-togethers with friends and am always picking up new, easy ideas to make entertaining more fun and less stressful. 

So, each month, I'll be back with ideas in the following categories for entertaining. We'll talk about where to buy the food, easy drinks to serve, gifts to bring to the party host, easy decor shortcuts, simple but delicious appetizers, and of course, what to wear.

Starting with December...

WHERE TO SHOP: Trader Joe's
TJ's truly will make throwing any party so much easier. They have a great selection of seasonal treats as well as frozen appetizers and gourmet snacks that will cut down your prep time and allow you to host a stress-free get-together.

For a holiday party, I recommend trying the Scalloped Cracker Trio, Caramel Ginger Popcorn, Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions, Frozen Macarons, and Mac & Cheese Bites. 

DRINK OF CHOICE: Rosé + Pomegranate Pellegrino
At a recent holiday party, we sort of stumbled upon this combination which ended up being really delicious! With only two ingredients, it's easy and inexpensive to make without any complicated bar items.

Just mix a dry rosé (I recommend the Tituss Pride Rosé which is what we used) with Pomegranate & Orange sparkling San Pellegrino. It may sound like a summer drink but the pomegranate makes it so festive!

HOSTESS GIFT: Tate's Bake Shop Cookies
These are a great hostess gift in my opinion because they're a crowd-pleasing favorite, they are easy to find at the grocery store, yet they feel like a special, gourmet item. I recommend bringing a bag of the Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Chip cookies with you to your next party.

DECOR STAPLE: Butcher Paper
There are so many ways to use butcher paper as decor for your party, plus it's cheap and easy to find. Use it as an easy-to-clean table runner or on the food table where you can use Sharpies to label all of the dishes. Or, you could hang a sheet on the wall for guests to write their New Years Resolution, what they want for Christmas, or another fun fact.

EASY APPETIZER: Bits and Pieces Party Cheese Ball
This appetizer was the most popular thing at the most recent holiday party I attended because it was just so unbelievably delicious. If you're from the South, you've definitely tried a cheese ball but this recipe from the New York Times is, by far, the best one. It combines cream cheese, goat cheese, and gruyere with salted butter, scallions, cayenne, lemon juice, parsley, and roasted pecans. Use the Trader Joe's scalloped cracker trio to dig in!

PARTY LOOK: Dressed-Up Flannel
My latest holiday party look was one that balanced festivity with function. Pair your favorite festive flannel with a high-waisted skirt and black tights, underneath your favorite dress coat. If it's snowing like it was when I was out, pairing your Bean Boots with this look is actually quite cute! Dress it up with a sparkly jewelry for the perfect nighttime, holiday party look.