While I’ve hosted a bunch of dinner parties, brunches and birthday parties over the years, there was one hostess gig I hadn’t yet taken on until this past weekend- hosting a holiday. No matter how much practice you have hosting other get togethers, I feel like hosting a holiday takes things to the next level. There’s only one of those holidays a year and many families have their own traditions about holidays so they often have sentimental meaning too. After MJD and I moved into our own place last May, I knew I wanted to host more and create those special memories in our own home. The stars aligned when my parents had plans to come to Boston over Easter weekend- it was the perfect reason to get both our families together to celebrate!
I really wanted to keep things as stress free as possible for the planning process. Having a one stop shop to check everything off my list was an essential- and BJ’s Wholesale Club was the perfect place to do just that. From appetizers to main course, for delicious produce and beautiful flowers, and of course the two most important party essentials, wine and dessert, BJ’s has you covered! Thanks to BJ’s (and some help from my mom ;)) hosting our first holiday went off without a hitch! Besides shopping at your local club, I picked up a few helpful tips that will make hosting your first holiday (or any holiday!) easier:
- DO make a well thought out list (or lists…) before shopping : I’m a big list maker anyways, but to prep for Easter I made three different lists. The first one was my menu- so what I wanted to serve for appetizers, our meal, dessert and drinks. From there, I then made my shopping list. This included the exact ingredients I needed to buy at BJ’s for each menu item, like the eggs, spinach and feta I needed to make an egg casserole or chocolate chips for banana and chocolate chip muffins. My third list was more like a timeline- what I needed to prep when and cook when to have everything ready on time. Having these three lists definitely helped me feel prepared and kept me on track for the day.
- DO have a few pre-made/semi-homemade or make ahead items on your menu: The less you have to worry about on the actual holiday, the better. Especially for a holiday like Easter where you often have other commitments (like church 😉 ) before your guests arrive- you want to have a much ready to go as possible! BJ’s had so many awesome appetizers and desserts that were easy to throw together to help with this. Their cheese selection is fabulous and I was able to make a great cheese board, plus a great spread of shrimp cocktail using their own Wellsley Farms brand for appetizers. Both were easy to prep items and I was so impressed with the quality of their own branded products. I also found a delish dessert tray and festive Easter candy (Ghirardelli bunnies and Starburst jellybeans!) at BJ’s that made tackling the sweet tooth much easier. Besides picking up pre-made items, I added a few items to my menu that can be made ahead of time- like my french toast casserole which can be prepared the night before and cuts down on what you need to spend time on that day.
- DO add some color to your table: If you are like me and like using white and neutral serving platters, it’s always fun to add a few touches of color here and there. My favorite ways to do that are with pretty flowers, like the pink tulips on my table, adding one or two colorful serving platters (like my red Le Creuset) or with fun cocktail napkins. I actually have a whole drawer full of cocktail napkins just waiting for the right occasion!
- DON’T be afraid to use disposable plates: Normally for a dinner party, I wouldn’t be reaching for the disposables. But for Easter, we had 12 people over and given our smaller space everything had to be set up as a buffet. As soon as I saw some of the options BJ’s had for disposable plates, I knew they could be both pretty and safe me a ton of time washing dishes after :). I ended up finding a set of plates from Berkley Jensen that was white with a silver trim and literally looked almost identical to our Lenox China pattern. Some of our relatives couldn’t believe they were disposable plates. Paired with some faux silver disposable cutlery (also from BJ’s brand Berkley Jensen), I had a look I loved all while saving money and time!
- DON’T be afraid to ask for help: You want to enjoy your holiday too, right? So don’t try to do everything alone- trust me, you’ll just end up in a tizzy! Whether it was having my mom help me with the prep work on Easter morning, MJD setting up a killer bar area or asking my mother-in-law to bring a salad and mimosa supplies, I was so lucky to have great helpers as we hosted our first holiday!
Now that we have our first holiday under our belt, I know we can handle another- especially with the one-stop shopping magic of BJ’s!
Have you ever hosted a holiday? I’d love to hear any tips you have for making the day go as smoothly as possible!
FYI- This post was sponsored by BJ’s Wholesale Clubs. All opinions and images are my own.