Nov 13, 2023 - Food and Drink

How to host an HGTV-worthy holiday gathering in Salt Lake City

HGTV's Jasmine Roth. Photo: Courtesy of Mike Radford/Michael Radford Photography

'Tis the season for more people to crowd into your home.

What they're saying: Urban Hill executive chef Nick Zocco has a simple — but often overlooked — piece of advice for hosts throwing a holiday party: Enjoy it.

  • "As long as you have all your ducks in a row from the food to the drink, just enjoy your party," he said. "The party is much more fun when the host is having fun."
  • Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, co-owners of Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm in Boulder, suggest preparing a batch of cocktails before guests arrive.
  • Salt Lake City restaurateur Ryan Lowder recommends splurging on quality appetizers.

Why it matters: Planning is key to avoid added stress around the holidays. So we asked HGTV's Jasmine Roth about her holiday hacks and ideas for being a host extraordinaire, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.

Here's what she says:

🛏 Be a guest in your own home. If you have a guest room, stay in it for a night before everyone arrives. You might realize you need a phone charger, hooks for towels or a warmer blanket.

📱 Include guests in the plans. Fire up the group chat sooner than later to coordinate schedules. Closer to the event, share menu ideas and make a grocery list. Guests can add snack requests, or volunteer to take charge of one meal if they're staying an extended period of time.

🌲Decorate with foliage. You can forage branches from your yard and lay them across the table for a trendy, fuss-free tablescape. Add cloth napkins and taper candles to elevate things a touch.

⏲ Cook ahead. Pick menu items like make-ahead taquitos or a hearty soup that can easily be warmed in the oven or thrown on the grill. Pre-make a signature cocktail and an easy appetizer that you can set out right before guests arrive.

🖍 Have a kids' activity. You can set up a coloring station at the kids' table, or hand each little one a goody bag. Parents will be relieved, and the kids will be entertained.

🥡 Make to-go boxes. Get some themed Tupperware and pack leftovers for guests to take home.

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