Effortless Entertaining Tips From A Very Casual Host

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Fun parties. Easy cleanup. Minimal effort. Have we gotten your attention?

We went LIVE with Amazon last week to talk easy, effortless, last-minute holiday entertaining…and our list of foolproof, get-together stuffs is GOOD. Even for non-entertainers!

Which is kind of the point: having a short list of items that can be used everyday, but also help pull together a party? That’s a pretty smart move…especially for small-home, city dwellers. We don’t have a ton of space to store “part-only” goods, so pulling things off with useful pieces we already have is crucial.

No-Fuss Holiday Party Essentials From A Casual Host

In our Amazon Live video, we covered Shana’s top four categories for her go-to entertaining items. They include cookware and bakeware for the easiest entertaining prep, a genius formula for serving food, drink options for just about everyone, and a bit of extra fun to throw in the mix (some fancy, some simple, all effortless….So fear not). All as easy as (pumpkin) pie.

Seriously, it’s as uncomplicated as can be. Click below to watch the vid for our full reviews.

Outfit Details: Shana’s tank (s), sweater (s), jeans (27) | Abby’s sweater (s), jeans (30)


We went Amazon LIVE to talk easy, effortless, last-minute holiday entertaining...+ our list of foolproof, party stuffs is GOOD. — especially for non-entertainers!

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1. Pre-Party Kitchen Prep

Hey Gang…S here. For holiday kitchen prep, I swear by a few, pared-down basics. A few years ago, I got rid of all of my mismatched baking sheets and bulky muffin tins, and replaced them with four of these commercial half-sheets. They’re exactly the right size for home ovens, and having a bunch means that I can quickly cook batch after batch without waiting. Add in silicone liners, and clean-up is a cinch. The baking sheets fit together nicely (storage is easy), and the cooling rack — another win for multiple batch cooking — fits right inside. Instead of muffin tins, I use silicone baking cups, and they’re pretty enough to double as separators when serving food on a board, too.

If you love getting the kids involved, the two best ways to keep them occupied while baking is this functioning silicone rolling pin (but sized down for their tiny hands), and a lettuce knife. It’s a perfect first knife for kids, and it kept them happily cutting cut-out cookie scraps for hours.


We went Amazon LIVE to talk easy, effortless, last-minute holiday entertaining...+ our list of foolproof, party stuffs is GOOD. — especially for non-entertainers!

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2. Genius Serving Ideas

When I’m having people over, my usual move is something in a Crock-pot (I like this one, in case we’re bringing the party somewhere), and a bunch of stuff on boards. I use the above cookbooks just for inspiration, and then make my own with whatever we have on hand. I swear by one giant board, as well as a bunch of these thin cutting boards. Having a bunch on hand means that early guests can help with prep, but these boards are often ‘good enough’ to serve on, too. I currently own six (and they’re easy to store next to the baking sheets).

Tiny little serving bowls are one of the most overlooked items in the kitchen (we use ours alllll the time), as well as the tiny knife spreaders. They can be cheese knives in a pinch, but are also great with other dips and spreads.

If you too are also trying to not buy paper plates…Amazon makes a set of porcelain dishes that I’ve been really impressed by — in all sizes. We have the 6-inch dessert plates, 10″ is dinner size. They’re a dead ringer for my more expensive (and much-beloved) Crate and Barrel Maison dishes, but at a fraction of the cost.


We went Amazon LIVE to talk easy, effortless, last-minute holiday entertaining...+ our list of foolproof, party stuffs is GOOD. — especially for non-entertainers!

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3. How We Do Drinks Bars

We almost always have a drink station for adults, and one for the kids. The kids’ is the reallllly fun one. In the winter we do a hot cocoa bar, with fancy marshmallows (this brand is easily the best) and fun stir-ins. These tiny whisks are perfect for that (and frankly, I use them every morning to stir collagen into my Nespresso). Patterned paper straws double as decorations and make any setup that much more festive.

In addition to the usual barware (this set is all you really need), I swear by these water carafes and these wine glasses. They’re billed as ‘unbreakable’ and while they will break if you throw them upon a stone floor (they are glass, after all), they can take some rough handling and be washed in the dishwasher without fear. Even better, these glasses feel REALLY expensive in your hand (almost like Reidel glasses). The glasses come in a ton of different shapes; we have the ‘universal’ one.

One note on the Aarke sparkling water: if you like VERY fizzy water, you may be disappointed. Half of our family likes the Aarke, the other half prefers SodaStream.


We went Amazon LIVE to talk easy, effortless, last-minute holiday entertaining...+ our list of foolproof, party stuffs is GOOD. — especially for non-entertainers!

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4. Fun Party Extras

It’s funny how a few strategically placed chalk signs suddenly make everything feel like a party! Feel free to be irreverent. (And this chalk marker makes them easier to read).

We use these LED candles (made out of real wax candles) year-round. Not only do they add some ambiance during the holidays, but they’re our go-to for outdoor entertaining in the summer, too.

If you need a way to entertain a bunch of kids, a portable movie projector is our best move. Obviously it’s great for outdoor movie nights in the summer, but even inside, it can solve issues of different age kids wanting to watch different movies. We’ve gotten so much use out of ours that Mike has started packing it in his suitcase.


Follow us on Amazon for more Lives about fashion, home, travel, beauty and, of course, Momlife. There’s more to come. Happy (effortless) entertaining!

Xo, Abby & Shana

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