By Becca Strassberg
It’s finally time for cranberry sauce and gingerbread houses, scarves and cozy sweaters, hot cocoa and marathoning movies. That’s right: Holiday season is upon us. The coming months will be filled with so much food and mulled wine, you may just get tired of it. And when you find yourself hitting that festive fatigue, the only possible solution is to throw the greatest, most unique holiday party ever.
In the olden days (as in, before Walmart launched its grocery app), you would’ve had to start planning for this event months in advance. Holiday parties require tons of prep, multiple trips to the store, probably a few failed pies, and then some more planning.
Enter Walmart. Its grocery app has a curated assortment of tasty pre-made appetizers, desserts, quality meats and cheeses, and tons of other delicious eats that make holiday entertaining a breeze. And as always, Walmart has a huge selection of decor, kitchenware, and tableware so you can get your home holiday party-ready in no time flat.
With this in mind, Bustle tapped celebrity party planner Andrea Correale, founder and CEO of Elegant Affairs, for some tips on how to host a get together that your friends will never forget. Keep reading for the holiday shindig inspiration you’ve been waiting for.
Nothing gets people in the holiday spirit like a good themed party, so don’t be afraid to give the people what they want. Luckily, themes are pretty easy to land on during the holiday season. Thanksgiving, naturally, calls for pumpkins and gourds, and when in doubt, Correale suggests turning to in-season fruits and vegetables to spruce up a table.
If you’re looking for decor options that’ll help you set the holiday tone year after year, check out these faux pumpkins in pale blue, light green, and tons of other options. The funky, unconventional hues add a pop of unexpected color to your table that’s sure to surprise your guests.
As December rolls around, transform your space by swapping out the pumpkins for a festive tablecloth or rug. This red plaid area rug paired with a simple table setting and these timeless candlestick holders will add the perfect amount of merriment for your holiday dinner.
And of course, don’t forget the food. A theme should carry through from invitations, to décor, all the way to the menu. If you’re purchasing pre-made appetizers or desserts, make sure they match the party’s vibe. Store-bought items are great, Correale says, “but make them your own. Buy something and platter it on your own plates instead of the store-bought plastic ones they come on.” Or take your presentation one step further by using a seasonal cookie cutter to create individual servings of a decadent pumpkin pie, then serve them up on this stoneware pie plate. Your guests will probably give you all the credit for your baking skills, but don’t worry — we promise not to tell anyone.
Take it from Correale — a seasoned professional — when she says there’s nothing more helpful than prepping. “Make a thorough checklist of all that needs to be done for the party,” she advises. This is especially true when it comes to your menu.
Let’s say you wanted to make a ham, for example. You may already know that Walmart Grocery offers this epic bone-in spiral cut ham, but have you thought through how you’ll serve it? Planning your menu early enough ensures you have ample time to you get everything else you might need, from a marble serving platter to a stylish new dinnerware set.
You can also use this time to look up batch cocktail recipes, which will allow you to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen during the party. Stock up a cute bar cart with some festive glassware and you’ll feel (and look) like a professional bartender in no time. Plus, a lot of Walmart stores offer mocktails and cocktails like prosecco, peppermint vodka, and egg nog, so you won’t even have to stop at the liquor store. Just check the assortment at your store, or online with Walmart Grocery.
You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it at least once — now give yourself a break by having everything delivered straight to your door. The easiest way to tackle this task efficiently is to break down your deliveries into two categories: home essentials to be delivered a week or so in advance, and groceries to be delivered a day or two beforehand.
For home essentials, browse Walmart.com before your gathering and pick out everything you need to make the evening memorable. Looking for new table accents to set the mood? Your guests will think you spent tons on these luxe metallic-rim glasses. For a brunch party, you can lighten the mood — and the room — with this industrial copper plated plate set.
When it comes to groceries, Correale says to arrange for your must-have items — such as ice — to come right before the party so you don’t run out. The best part? You can schedule a delivery via the Walmart grocery app, and have everything (including pre-made appetizers like Rojo’s Classic 5 Layer Dip and Bella Rosa Imported Sliced Cheese Tray) delivered fresh. Just log onto the app and load up your cart, then a Walmart associate will get to work picking out your items. You can opt for free pickup at your store, but for a small delivery fee you can spend your precious time setting up for the party, arranging table decor, and making the playlist. And if your story doesn't offer delivery, then no worries. You can still place your grocery order online and conveniently pick everything up on your drive home from work. Just make sure you have everything you need to display all those pre-made apps, like this chic mixed material platter and these simple bamboo cutting boards.
Since we’re not all party planner extraordinaires like Correale, a good rule of thumb is to keep it uncomplicated when it comes to your menu and decor. “Save all the tchotchke items for the kids table,” she says. “And for the adults table, just add lanterns, candles or perhaps a table runner. It never hurts to keep it simple.”
Consider touches like this striped runner or a fall-themed garland to class up your affair while you focus on the food. But Correale has a secret food tip, too: “It’s all about the presentation. You don’t have to break the bank and get very expensive food.” Guests will remember the personal details you put into your dishes, as opposed to the fancy cut of meat you splurged on. If you really want to wow people with basically zero effort, a spin on this President Brie Soft-Ripened Cheese will do the trick. Simply place the brie in a cast iron skillet with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and bake at 350-degrees until softened, then serve alongside some toasted bread displayed on an elegant platter. Your tastebuds (and more importantly, your party guests) will thank you.
This post is sponsored by Walmart.