Are you having all of your friends and family over this year for Christmas Eve festivities? Unless you like to procrastinate until the last minute, it’s never too early to start planning ahead for everything you’ll need, especially the food and cocktails. Late fall is the best time to gather products and items that are new, trending and on sale. So what should you definitely start stocking up on? Here are a few of the basics that you can start accumulating now, even if you don’t have the menu set in stone.
Stock Up On Liquor Staples
Are you famous for that one special drink that everyone looks forward to each holiday? Whether it’s a Pumpkin Pie Martini or Hot Buttered Rum, getting the basic supplies needed to make your perfect drink now rather than later, will ensure one less stressful thing to mark off of your to-do list. Check the local circulars in your area for liquor and other ingredients that may be going on sale. This allows you to buy in bulk as well as on sale. Make sure your liquor cabinet is full and ready to go. Some common staples for making the perfect drink include:
- Condiments including cherries, lemons, limes, and olives.
- Popular base ingredients such as soda, tonic, and sparkling water.
- Juices, including grapefruit, tomato, orange, and cranberry.
- Vodka, rum, scotch, whiskey, gin, and brandy.
- Liqueurs and schnapps of your choosing.
- Fresh fruits for garnishing as well as syrups and whipped creams.
- A variety of beer and wine.
- Mixers such as Triple Sec, Mojito Mix, Grenadine, Sweet & Sour and Bloody Mary mix.
Now is the time to order anything that you can’t readily pick up at the store, such as special glasses, mixing containers and swizzle sticks. Because there is often a high demand just before the holidays, don’t hesitate to order what you need as soon as possible.
What Are Your Staple Appetizers?
Do you have a list of appetizers or healthy snacks planned for the big day? While you can buy certain meats and cheeses and freeze them, it’s best to buy them fresh, just a day or two in advance. Many things that are canned or frozen can be purchased about a month ahead of time—especially if they tend to have a long shelf life. Here are a few things that you’ll likely use that you can start buying a few weeks prior:
- Barbecue, chili, hot and other sauces.
- Dried and air-sealed ingredients.
- Jarred cheeses, pickles, and peppers.
- Dried cereals and some crackers.
- Frozen meatballs and ready-to-make appetizers.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Seasonings and dried herbs.
Having some things in your pantry which you know are hard to find during the holiday rush can help save you the headache as the big day approaches.
Making Your Home Smell Festive
In most cases, your tree, fresh garland, and home-baked goods are more than enough to fill your home with the lovely scent of Christmas. But what if you have store-bought cookies and a fake tree? It’s time to turn your home into a holiday masterpiece with the sights and smells of the season. Some suggestions include:
- *Making homemade simmering or dried potpourri with vanilla, fresh orange peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks and fresh pine needles.
- *Creating a cranberry and popcorn garland or decoration.
- *Burning high scented candles in apples, cinnamon, and pine.
- *Adding fresh pine wreaths and garlands to your entry areas.
- *Utilizing wax warmers and scented candles with the scent of the season.
Adding simple touches can go a long way with making your home more festive and heartwarming.
Don’t Forget Gifts And Decorations
When decorations first start coming out in October, it’s a good time to grab the trendiest items and keep them in your stash. This could be ornaments, napkins and serving trays that you know will sell out quick. Don’t be left without the perfect plates and decorations that will make your table and buffet area stand out with guests. Now is the time to start accumulating your gifts and prize packages for your guests. Go beyond gift cards and look for meaningful gifts that show your guests how much you care.
Holiday parties are a lot of work, but keep things fun, safe and festive by planning ahead to make it memorable.
Becky Wilcox is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about beauty, fashion, technology and more. She writes for Life with Lisa as well as several other blogs and websites. Check back soon for more from Becky.