It’s almost that time of year! Before you know it, family and friends will gather around the table to share laughs, recount stories, and of course, indulge in the deliciousness that is the holidays. Can you smell those festive flavors floating through your kitchen yet?
If you’re like us, you can’t wait to throw a holiday dinner party in your spacious and comfortable JC Jackson home. With an abundance of room in your living areas and kitchen to mingle and lounge, your home is the perfect space to spend the holiday.
Whether you’re a “seasoned hoster,” or this is the first time you’re having the big dinner at your new home, all you need is a little preparation and you’re on your way to your best (and tastiest) get together yet!
Plan Out the Meal
We all know that organization is key, so a concrete plan will help you visualize your evening and ensure that everything goes smoothly. Grab your computer or a notebook and make notes about the following:
- How many people will you be serving?
- Are there any dietary restrictions?
- Which recipes can you make ahead?
- Which recipes should be prepared the day of?
- Which dishes will a family member or friend prepare?
- Is there something new you especially want to serve?
Pro Tip: If you’re a first-timer, start off slow (especially if you’re not a veteran chef!). Enlist your family and friends to help out with cooking and choose easy-to-follow recipes. Most importantly, don’t think that you have to serve a gourmet meal from scratch for your guests to have a great time — there’s nothing wrong with buying the components of your dinner from a restaurant or market. If this is the best option for you, you can always bake a simple dessert or put together a cheese board appetizer.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want your meal to be like, you’ll rid yourself of stress and relish in the holiday fun. After all, the holidays are about family, graciousness, and relaxing (and of course, gobbling up your favorite food…), so you should enjoy every minute of it!
If you don’t already have the necessary cooking utensils (yes, a “turkey lifter” and “flavor injector” are real items), meal ingredients, or decor, you’re in luck — the areas in and around our JC Jackson Homes communities are filled with markets and shops that cater to every need.
From grocery chains to kitchen supply retailers to home decor stores, you’re sure to find an easy and efficient place to get everything you need. Pro tip: check out deals in supermarket flyers, coupons, online, etc. There’s nothing as satisfying as saving on your holiday goods!
Prepare Your Home
Freshen up the interior of your home by dusting, vacuuming, polishing silverware, fluffing cushions and pillows on the couch, wiping down tables, and lighting holiday candles. A squeaky clean feeling paired with an aromatic scent will set the mood for a night of laughter and fun. Best of all, your open and spacious dining room and table are large enough for any number of people, so everyone can join!
Start the Party
Give your guests something to smile about as soon as they walk in with a delectable drink of your choosing! Whether you love warm, cider-based drinks, something fruity and fizzy to sip on, or classic wine with a kick, there’s a holiday cocktail out there to start the fun.
We recommend trying this Cranberry Champagne Cocktail because it’s easy to make, it’s fun to drink, and it’s absolutely beautiful! All you need is cranberry juice, lime wedges, frozen cranberries, and Champagne or sparkling wine.
Chill your Champagne flutes, add a squeeze of lime and cranberry juice, fill the glasses with your desired amount of alcohol, and finish off with 3-4 cranberries. Prepare these drinks ahead of time so everyone receives a “party favor” when they walk in.
There’s truly something special about giving thanks by giving back to those who are less fortunate. Especially if you’re new to your community, volunteering around the holidays is a great way to immerse yourself within the town, and explore its vibrant spirit and personality.
From serving hot meals at a soup kitchen to organizing goods such as socks and toiletry kits for those in need, there are so many ways to get involved. The best part? You can share this experience with your kids! Before you share dinner together, make beautiful cards with Meals on Wheels of North Carolina, serve delicious food with the Salvation Army of New Bern, and so much more.
This year, there’s so much to be thankful for. From quality time spent with your loved ones, to new and exciting opportunities in your JC Jackson Homes community, life is as bright as it’s ever been. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy sharing the warmth of your cozy home with your family, friends, and neighbors!