5 Tips for Entertaining Last Minute Guests During the Holidays

Thank you Edwards® Desserts for sponsoring this post. Head to the frozen desserts aisle of your grocery store to pick up your favorite Edwards pie and make entertaining a breeze!

Okay, so yes, it’s only October. But let’s face it – these days, the holiday season begins the second after the last trick or treater rings the doorbell on Halloween night. And even though it can feel long and drawn out and chaotic and busy, I genuinely love the hustle and bustle of this season. I love the nonstop activities, the decor and music and lights, the overall excitement in the air, and even the last minute entertaining. I thrive on it.

That said, I also admittedly tend to feel overwhelmed in November and December, despite my fondness for the chaos. Around Thanksgiving and the December holidays especially, so many friends and family members from out of town are in the area, and we often have people stop by unexpectedly or call to make last minute plans to visit. We absolutely love having friends over, especially this time of year, and I adore entertaining (even if it’s unplanned), but it can be stressful if I’m not prepared. Thankfully, I have found that if I follow a few simple guidelines, it makes the experience of last minute holiday entertaining enjoyable instead of anxiety inducing. And I’m going to share some of my tips with you today!

1. Use decor you already have for a table setting. If I’m hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I go all out with my tablescapes. But even when we’re just having last minute guests stop by and we’re serving snacks, dessert, or even just drinks, I like to make the table look pretty. This time of year I usually pull gourds from other areas of my house and arrange them on the table. It takes just a couple of minutes, and it makes things feel fun and festive.

2. Welcome with a warm drink. We always have the coffee pot loaded and ready to turn on this time of year, and have a decaf stash ready too. I hit the start button and brew as soon as a guest arrives. I also keep fresh apple cider on hand, and heat it in a pot with cinnamon sticks when friends come over. (A few splashes of brandy make it especially fun!) Hot drinks are a symbol of the season and also make people instantly feel comfortable.

3. Keep Edwards Desserts on hand. This is a last minute holiday entertaining must for me! Everyone loves desserts, and Edwards Desserts makes absolutely delicious pies that are thaw-and-serve (so easy) but taste homemade. I have tried all of the varieties, but my favorites are Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie and Edwards Key Lime Pie, and I have either one or both of them in my freezer at all times during the holiday season. Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie is decadent layers of of chocolate and vanilla crème that are topped with chocolate drizzle, little chocolate chip, and whipped crème rosettes. And the chocolate cookie crumb crust is to-die-for. Edwards Key Lime Pie is a summer favorite of mine too, but I like to have it on hand during the holidays as well to change things up. The key lime filling (which is made with real Key West lime juice; yes please!) sits on a delicious vanilla cookie crumb crust and is topped with whipped crème rosettes. When a guest calls to say they’re stopping by, I just pull them out and thaw (or serve frozen, which is just as good!). They also make for a delightful ending to Thanksgiving dinner, and are perfect to bring to holiday parties and gatherings. Whether I’m serving alongside savory snacks or alone as a treat with coffee, I always serve Edwards.

4. Have a holiday play list ready to go. My husband makes so much fun of my affinity for nonstop holiday music, but I stand proud, guys. I mean, I’m not obnoxious about it; I give it plenty of time before I dive in, and between now and mid (cough cough, early) November, I have a regular old playlist ready to go. But once Thanksgiving is a week or two (or four) away, all bets are off (and the jingle bells are on). If we’re going to be doing last minute entertaining, I am prepared when it comes to music, and that holiday play list begins the minutes guests arrive. You have to ambience, right?

5. Keep things simple. I realize this isn’t a specific, concrete tip, but I genuinely feel it’s the most important one. I tend to go overboard with planning and (as I mentioned earlier) can get overwhelmed with last minute plans, even when I love the excitement of them. This time of year, I really try to stick with the four things above when last minute guests are coming over, and let the rest go. The holidays should be a time for enjoying the company of loved ones, and sometimes simple (but prepared!) is best.

Do you have any tips for last minute holiday entertaining? Who else is a fan of Edwards Desserts? Oh, and make sure you enter the super cool contest Edwards Desserts is hosting, for the chance to to receive a limited-edition, dessert-inspired prize pack. One lucky winner will also be a guest at a sweet holiday celebration in their hometown! So fun!

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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