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Deck the Halls (And Not Your Family).

Easy holiday home decor.

 

Think back to early September, when fall was falling, there was optimism in the air, and you suggested hosting your family for a holiday dinner. Ah, simple times. Times when the actual hosting – cooking, cleaning, keeping snippiness at bay – seemed ages ago. And now with mere weeks or days until your big to-do as host (and chef and party motivator), we’ve gathered up some of our favorite ways to ensure that you keep things together and stay perfectly, beautifully confident. All it takes is the right tools.

 

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For the “Guests Are Coming” clean-up, your secret weapon is…

 

A brilliant podcast. Because yes, it’s a drag to go through and clean things enough to send the message “I am an adult who has no tolerance for dirty grout”. But we swear you’ll find yourself sinking into the task if you’re hooked on a story. Our picks: The Moth, with its bizarre, fascinating, and relatable slice-of-life stories. Or for something a little more out-there, My Dad Wrote a Porno is full of delightfully awkward belly laughs.

 

For the short answer to “what am I going to make that’s delicious, impressive, and not going to take hours and a BA in culinary arts?” And oh yeah, that takes everyone’s preferences and restrictions into account...

 

Epicurious’s advanced search function. It’s where you can toggle the type of dish, dietary concerns, cooking technique, and ingredient to find your perfect match. Like, say a dish for meat-lovers that’s gluten-free, and quick-and-easy. Hello, pork tenderloin with date and cilantro relish.

 

For keeping things going smoothly as you do the actual cooking while family members peek into the kitchen to “see if you need help” aka judge you wildly...

 

Our Chef’s Towel. We call this wonder our sous chef and don’t take that title lightly. It’s right there, tied around your waist, ready to protect your dress pants (because sauce splatters are inevitable). But also ready to be grabbed and used as an impromptu pot holder, and there to wipe down the counter when your “cooking wine” spills. These Belgian linen beauties are built strong, thanks to Italian craftsmanship, and get blissfully softer over time, just like your own feelings for your crazy, wonderful family.

 

Chop, chop, chop.

 

 

For keeping discussions steered to the wonderful, and not the contentious…

 

Wine cocktails. Because a little bit of wine is perfect for kicking things off on a cheerful note, but this sneaky “recipe” – you know, wine and sparkling water – puts you in the driver’s seat to make sure no one’s over-imbibing. If you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, A Beautiful Mess has some more involved recipes for putting a twist on things. And in case you’re wondering, these go effortlessly with our stemless wine glass.

 

Or if you’re more worried about awkward silences...

 

Introduce TableTopics. They’re conversation starters in a box so not only does it give you all something to get chatting about, you might even learn something new about these people you thought you knew every boring detail about.

 

And for accepting the glowing praise that comes your way post-meal...

 

Oh, that’s all on you – you deserve the kind words. You worked for you, you made it happen. Now say goodnight and pour yourself a final wine spritzer. In your robe, of course.

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