If you plan to be "the hostess with the mostest" this holiday season, you are going to want to pay attention to what our
next guest has to say. Lifestyle expert, Cathy Riva is here with her holiday must haves for successful entertaining.
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Host: Alright if you plan to be the hostess with the mostest this holiday season and a lot of people do, you’re going to want to pay attention to what our next guest has to say. Lifestyle expert Cathy Reeve is here. She’s got her five holiday must haves for successful entertaining. Not just any entertaining but successful right? Cathy: Successful meaning less stress for the host and just a really overall fun time with friends and family. Host: You said the key word, stress. Because a lot of people stress so much over these parties and just putting everything together. There’s a lot that goes into—do you have any tips for people, let’s just say this is your first one that you’re putting together. What are your tips? Cathy: I have tips for folks whether it’s their first time or their 3500th time. I think that always people wait till the last minute to do all the important things and I think everyone has heard t his tip before but prepare an advance. That is the best advice I can give someone and then on top of that, specifically, visualize what your party is. So if you’re having a dinner party for 12, visualize what the table looks like. Same thing. If you’re having a cocktail party, visualize what you want the hors d’oeuvers to be, the flower center piece is. Whatever you’re doing, visualize it so you can make a checklist, a mental checklist or if you want to write it down like me. I write everything down and you can actually prepare and do things the night before. Set everything up the night before so when your party day comes, everything’s done, you’re relaxed, you’re happy and that’s what makes a great party is a happy host. Host: Yes, because most people are doing a day of that and it’s stressful in itself. I like that. Do it the night before. Okay and there’s also the five must haves that you say every entertaining host should have on hand. Let’s go through what they are. What’s the first one? Cathy: So this is a table set for dinner. So I really recommend an elegant center piece as your first must have and why that’s a great thing is because you want something that’s really small that can be taken off the table for when the food comes in because we all know the food is the real star but this centerpiece is simple. It’s carnations. They’re $8.00 a bunch and you can get this entire centerpiece for a little under $10.00. That’s almost unheard of. Host: I like it, it’s so beautiful but it’s not overwhelming. Cathy: Exactly, that’s the goal and the tip is—a great tip I learned from my mentor, David Mullen, you never want to have the centerpiece over your fist so you can always see the guests across from you. Host: Which is important. It’s the worst thing in the world to have to be dodging a centerpiece just to see the guest across from you too. And the food is also a big must have? Cathy: I’m a big believe in what’s called an oh wow factor and what I mean by that is when a guest and I’m a big fan of this pumpkin cheesecake. It’s the most delicious thing so when guests try it, they’re going to say oh wow. I can’t believe that’s so good. And it always makes the host look like a star and what’s even better about it is it’s made with Splenda so you’re saving on the calories for the entire holiday. Host: And one of your tips, you always say find a dessert that meets all of your entertaining needs. Does that mean that other people would enjoy it? It’s something that’s universal or just that it just looks great on the table? Cathy: That’s a great question. It’s a little of both. I think find a dessert that you’re passionate about because when you have great energy about something the guests always react to it really positively so whatever your personal favorite is. This is mine. Host: Let’s talk about what’s on the table here too. The stemware, you’ve got the decorations, everything looks so nice. The place cards. How do you personalize everything here? Cathy: So another great tip is to have a place card. I know that during the holidays, everyone tends to know all the guests who come every year but I’m telling you, this is the year to mix it up a little bit. Add a place card. Seat people at different places so they can have new conversations this year. These are simple snowflakes that you can easily cut out of some index paper or something a little more sturdy. Very simple, another fun way to display place cards is on glasses this year. Just something a little different to make it fun. Host: What are your tips as to pick a color scheme and really stick to it. Don’t dirk from it right? Cathy: Right, this year, it’s all about nature. One of the trends is—this is a great tip, you’ll go to all the big stores and you’ll see that everyone’s selling really beautiful wooden birches, pine. It’s all about nature. So I’ve taken the outdoors and brought them indoors. Again, economically. This is birchwood. We’ve made chargers out of actual wood that we’ve attached to cardboard. Really easy to do, inexpensive and it’s a great oh wow factor. Host: These are all fantastic tips. Thanks so much Cathy. Cathy: Happy holidays. Host: You too. Cathy: