Are you hosting any guests this holiday? As I mentioned in the gift guide, I’ve been loving the magazine Bon Appetit, and their entertaining advice is especially brilliant. After dog-earring a bunch of pages over the past few months, I thought I’d pull together my favorite tips and share them with you…


Invite Some Party Starters
“Ask some close friends or good conversationalists to come early and be the first guests. This deflects the awkward early phase and allows you to get on with prep.” —Bon Appetit editors

Clean, Tidy, Clean Again
“Pay extra attention to your bathrooms, which should be well stocked and absolutely spotless.” —Bon Appetit editors (And don’t forget the plunger!)

A Candy Bowl is Never Overkill
—Julia Kramer, associate restaurant editor


Everyone Loves a Cheese Ball
“Because it’s cheese! And nuts! In ball form!” —Andrew Knowlton, the BA Foodist (Here are three great recipes.)

Yes, Shrimp Cocktail Is Still Awesome
“Though it feels like an indulgence to serve at home, shrimp cocktail is the definition of effortless. Put out as many crudités as you want; this will disappear first.” —Julia Kramer

Serve Fancy Chips
“Good kettle-cooked potato chips for the kids. Potato chips plus crème fraîche 
and caviar for the adults. Chips: They’re the easier, saltier blinis.” —Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward


Let Kids Drink Bubbly
“Cheers! We pour Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider for the girls, Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne for us.” —Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward

Have Sandwiches for Lunch for House Guests
“You’re making a zillion things, not to mention dealing with a house full of crazy people delightful relatives. Don’t even think about elaborate lunches, especially when all anyone wants is a sandwich. So stock up on the best meats and cheeses from the deli counter—thinly shaved mortadella, coppa, smoked turkey, provolone—and grab a Pullman loaf and some kaiser rolls.” —Julia Kramer

Thanks for the tips, Bon Appetit! Are you hosting any guests this holiday? What usually works for you? (We always have a cheese tray.)

P.S. 15 holiday hair tutorials, and how drunk can you get at your office party?

(Cheese ball photo by Bon Appetit)