5 Tips to Keep the Crowd Happy Ahead of Holiday Dinner

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #IndulgenceDoneRight #CollectiveBias

Holiday dinners take a long time to prepare and often, guests do a whole lot of sitting around and waiting before the meal. It’s in that time, however, that the best memories can be made! If you’re hosting this year, use these tips to keep the crowd happy ahead of dinner.

holiday entertaining tips
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for full details.

1. Take pictures

If you plan to take any formal pictures, why wait until people have food in their teeth and are stuffed to the gills?! While everyone’s makeup is still fresh, get everyone into position and snap away. Not the formal type? Use this time to capture spontaneous moments of your visitors catching up, the kids playing, and the lovely table displays. (Feel free to designate someone else to be the photographer if you’re on kitchen duty.)

2. Play games (inside and out)

Whether you’ve got a room full of adults or are trying to entertain a group of kids, break out the board games and playing cards before dinner. A lot of people do this afterward, but by then, your guests might be tired and ready to head home. Depending on the weather and their work schedules, the most opportune time for fun and games might actually be before dinner. The same goes for any outside fun, like football or capture the flag. You could create an Easter-egg-style scavenger hunt for children or simply take a walk to burn off expected holiday calories (or just get some fresh air) with the adults.

holiday entertaining tips
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

3. Serve appetizers

Your guests are probably hungry, but you don’t want them to ruin their appetites. Serve something fun and light, like these festive roasted tomato and parsnip soup shooters. They’re elegant, seasonal, and creamy, made with new Land O Lakes® Buttercream Style Half & Half, which you can pick up at Walmart. An extra rich blend of real milk and cream, it’s great not just for cooking, but also for making the perfect morning coffee. This is a great time of year to make special recipes, so forego store-bought junk foods that only fill your guests up with empty calories and instead opt for homemade hors d’oeuvres. Pro tip: When I feel like I’ve got too much on my holiday hosting to-do list, I ask close friends and family to bring a side dish to share. This way, I don’t take shortcuts due to overwhelm.

holiday entertaining tips
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

4. Watch the classics

While no one wants to be a couch potato at a party, there are a few traditional Thanksgiving specials many families look forward to watching together. Tune into the parade in the morning, dog show after that, and football games throughout the remainder of the day. Often, holiday TV specials and family classics also air.

5. Get crafty

I like to encourage my girls to create art in the theme of gratitude to occupy their time before Thanksgiving dinner. There are tons of great crafts online, but the simplest may be to roll out craft paper as a tablecloth for the kids’ table, and ask them to draw and list things they’re grateful for. After that, they can move onto making place cards for all of the guests.

Use any combination of these activities and your guests are sure to be entertained ahead of dinner (and probably leave with happy memories instead of awkward ones).

holiday entertaining tips
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Duo of Roasted Tomato and Parsnip Soup Shooters

Roasted Parsnip Soup Ingredients

1 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
2 heads of unpeeled garlic, broken up into cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups Land O Lakes® Buttercream Style Half & Half
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup half and half

Roasted Parsnip Soup Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F.

2. Spread parsnip, onion and garlic onto a large baking sheet.

3. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Roast for 30 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the skin off the garlic.

6. Place the parsnips, garlic, onion, Land O Lakes® Buttercream Style Half & Half and stock in a large saucepan and cook for 5 minutes.

7. Transfer mixture to blender and blend until soup is smooth.

8. Return the soup to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Soup Ingredients

3 lb tomatoes of any variety, cut in half
6 cloves of unpeeled garlic
1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups Land O Lakes® Buttercream Style Half & Half
4 cups chicken stock

Roasted Tomato Soup Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Spread tomatoes and garlic onto a large baking sheet.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Roast for 30 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the skin off the garlic.

6. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and cook on medium heat until translucent , about 5 minutes.

7. Add salt, pepper, the roasted tomatoes and garlic, Land O Lakes® Buttercream Style Half & Half and broth.

8. Transfer mixture to blender and blend until soup is smooth.

9. Return the soup to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

holiday entertaining tips
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Duo of Roasted Tomato and Parsnip Soup Instructions

1. To make the duo, pour each soup at the same time, at the same rate, into tall shot glasses from opposite sides.

2. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

3. These are large portions, so you’ll have lots of soup left over for the next day!

WANT DAILY TRAVEL INSPIRATION?

Dad and Kids 100x150Subscribe to Top Flight Family Daily ...for a daily dose of luxury family travel ideas!

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel and lifestyle digital influencer at Top Flight Family. Her insights on travel have been featured in Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, Seatrade Cruise News and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Top Flight Family is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

%d bloggers like this:
WANT DAILY
TRAVEL INSPIRATION?
Subscribe to Top Flight Family Daily

...for a daily dose of luxury family travel ideas!
FREE GUIDE: Kid-Friendly Los Cabos
ENTER EMAIL BELOW TO DOWNLOAD

...and subscribe to Top Flight Family Daily for a daily dose of luxury family travel ideas!
FREE GUIDE: Kid-Friendly Las Vegas
ENTER EMAIL BELOW TO
DOWNLOAD


...and subscribe to Top Flight Family
Daily for a daily dose of luxury
family travel ideas!
FREE GUIDE: Kid-Friendly Orlando
ENTER EMAIL BELOW TO
DOWNLOAD


...and subscribe to Top Flight Family
Daily for a daily dose of luxury
family travel ideas!
FREE GUIDE: Kid-Friendly Cape Cod
ENTER EMAIL BELOW TO
DOWNLOAD


...and subscribe to Top Flight Family
Daily for a daily dose of luxury
family travel ideas!
FREE GUIDE: Kid-Friendly Aruba
ENTER EMAIL BELOW TO
DOWNLOAD


...and subscribe to Top Flight Family
Daily for a daily dose of luxury
family travel ideas!