1. Create a simple food and drink spread.
"Serve things you can heat up that are already prepared, like cheese & baguettes with great spiced nuts. For drinks, I love doing Hot Toddies in the winter, or a punch with a little alcohol in it – but also with extra on the side that you can add in." -Jung Lee of
2. But make sure you have enough for everyone.
"You don't have to have a lavish amount of food, but make sure that what you do serve doesn't run out. Make a bountiful display of snacks, like meats, cheeses and olives. If it looks plentiful, guests won't be afraid to make a plate." -Jessica Kielblock, Senior Event Planner for
3. Make do with what you have.
"Reimagine the items in your house rather than allocating your limited time to shop for new items. Glassware can become a collection of vases for flowers or be used as votive holders. And don't worry about everything matching perfectly." -
4. Use music to set the mood.
"Play great holiday tunes in the background — it never hurts to have a few playlists ready to go for when friends come over unexpectedly." -Jung Lee of
5. Keep your bar fully stocked.
"It's easy to do in advance and you'll always be able to offer guests a drink. Keeping a few bottles of champagne in the fridge means you can engage in a celebratory toast, even if it's unexpected, and bubbly makes a great last-minute host gift if you've been invited to a party at the last minute." -
6. Welcome unexpected guests with warmth.
"Offer them a drink right away – a cup of coffee, glass of wine or sparkling water. Serve the drinks with a festive, seasonally-appropriate cocktail napkin and it will look like you were waiting for guests to arrive." -Kristen Zwieg, Event Planner for
7. Keep extra seats at the ready.
"Having a handful of nice folding chairs is a great investment if you entertain a lot. That way, you aren't stressed about having a few extra guests show up." -Laurén LaRocca of
8. Don't overthink it.
"Just breathe. When it comes to last minute entertaining, don't stress. Your guests are happy to be invited to your place for dinner, so take it step by step and keep it simple." -Rachel Bruzek, Senior Event Planner for