Entertaining Tips from Lori’s Holiday Kitchen 

I might not be Martha Stewart in the kitchen, but I pull out all the stops for holiday entertaining. Fortunately, there’s plenty of opportunity for me to play hostess; I love designing a festive tablescape, whipping up some of my family’s favorite dishes, and spending quality Grandma (or “Bella”, in my case) time baking Christmas cookies with my girls.

While hosting for me might appear effortless, it can also be stressful, especially if you’re a perfectionist around the holiday season (like me, guilty!). I’ll admit that I don’t spend too much time cooking during the year, but I give all my high-end kitchen appliances a real workout from Thanksgiving through Christmas brunch. While Eddie is great with grilling and take-out meals 10 months out of the year, it just doesn’t feel like the holidays if I’m not in the kitchen, covered in flour, and baking him his favorite chocolate pie. Plus, no one takes away my #Boss title if I swap out my Chanel dresses and stilettos for more practical shoes and an apron to cook a delicious holiday meal.

Not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen though, myself included! I know a couple of people who have ordered a complete Thanksgiving meal from their favorite restaurant and just served the turkey on their own Lenox china and buried the boxes in the bin. There’s nothing wrong with that, y’all!

For those folks who want to cook tasty dishes plated and served like they’re a Michelin star Chef but just don’t know how to tap into their inner Pioneer Woman, I’ve got you covered. 

From an elegant and delicious charcuterie platter to warm milk and cookies for Santa, here are some of my easy entertaining tips and favorite recipes from my holiday kitchen to yours!

  • Appetizers: When our guests arrive for any holiday meal, I make sure to have different appetizers set up throughout the living room so that they can nibble a bit while dinner is getting ready. I like to serve tapas-size fare though, so that our guests don’t stuff themselves before we even carve the turkey! A simple charcuterie platter is well balanced; make sure to include a couple of different types of meats, cubes of cheeses, some seasonal fruit and different types of crackers. I like to make sure all of the four tastes are present: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. For a beautiful presentation, I plate on these ultra stylish, deco-inspired platters from Coton Colors. They’re versatile, stylish and extremely affordable. I used the deco rectangle platter for the main charcuterie board paired with a gold stripe oval tray and gold scallop edge salad plates. Doesn’t this look delicious!


  • Beverages: For the bar cart, I offer a variety of wine and spirits, plus lots of mocktail options for our underage guests. Looking for a new holiday mimosas recipe? Try either the cranberry or Christmas mimosas from Delish, and embrace the fun holiday spirit with these adorable Cheers Y’all wine glasses from Draper James.

  • Favorite Holiday Recipes: Many families have special holiday recipes that get passed down from generation to generation, and ours is no exception. We always make my Mom’s famous corn pudding recipe at every meal, and it’s a star side dish. This recipe from Allrecipes is very close to my Mom’s and it’s also really easy to make even for the novice cook. While my famous dessert is this Hershey’s gone to heaven chocolate pie that Eddie and Cory fight over as soon as it comes out of the oven. Usually the first pie is devoured before it has a chance to cool. My son Cory was also my Christmas Eve gift from Santa, and we celebrate his birthday with a brunch party on Christmas Eve with his favorite sausage and egg casserole. This overnight casserole is easy to prep in advance and cooks up quick first thing in the morning

  • Edible Hostess Gifts: Occasionally, we don’t host the holidays and are invited guests to our in-laws and other family and friends. I never go anywhere empty-handed though and this cranberry sour cream swirl Jell-O salad is a crowd pleaser! I make this in a trifle bowl, instead of cutting into squares, and the colors are festive and vibrant and look great on the dessert table. If I don’t have time to make something, I order a box of decadent warm cookies from Tiff’s Treats. I was recently introduced to Tiff’s Treats when a friend sent me a box of warm cookies after my recent hospital stay. Delivered warm and fresh to your home, these gifts can be sent ahead or brought with you, and I promise there won’t be any crumbs left behind! 

What are some of your favorite holiday entertaining tips? Share with us in the comments!

Tell Next Time, 

Lori Allen

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