The holidays are quickly approaching, and many of us are welcoming a time when we can relax with family in the comfort and safety of our homes. While our family celebration may be smaller this year, you can still enjoy the day with some fun party ideas.
From a festive harvest theme this Thanksgiving to “jingle and mingle” just around the corner, there are many things to keep in mind when planning the perfect family holiday. Consider these top tips.
Pick the Perfect Date
Select a date on the calendar that works for everyone. Consider texting family and friends ahead of time to coordinate. Often, holiday gatherings work best during the week leading up to the big day. In that way, the party won’t interfere with the invitees’ personal plans, such as watching the children open gifts or other family traditions.
As the holidays this year will occur during cold and flu season coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remind family and friends to monitor their health and practice safety protocols. As the party host, be considerate by informing guests about what they should expect at the event, including how many people will be in attendance and whether masks are required.
Come Up With the Activities
It’s important to think about the activities that people will participate in at the party, as some may require guests to prepare in advance. Will the gathering feature an ugly holiday sweater contest? A “Yankee Swap?” Think up some fun activities that can be enjoyed even when the group is small, but also make sure there’s enough downtime, especially if guests are staying over.
Perhaps the holidays call for a dip in the heated pool, no matter what the weather, or, when the sun goes down or during chill of a frosty morning, guests might like a soothing hot tub soak. This idea is great for small families. Consider opening up a backyard oasis that could include that heated pool or a hot tub so you and your family can have a safe place to enjoy the season. This year, you might even consider a spa room so guests can enjoy their relaxing soak indoors or an outdoor living space that provides shelter during a hot tub session.
Prep the House, and Check off the To-Do’s
Anyone who has had a gathering at home knows that getting the house in order is half the battle. Consider hiring a professional cleaner to take the stress out of deep cleaning the house, which means more time to cook ahead of the party. Make sure there are spaces and places for guests to socially distance, too.
Keep track of to-do’s by writing down even the little things, like buying paper goods and prepping a music playlist. And do hand out tasks. Everyone loves to contribute during the holidays.
Consider the Theme — And This Cookie Recipe
While the holiday will certainly determine the event’s overall theme, think about framing the party around food and beverage choices. Consider sharing stories at Friendsgiving or Christmas brunch. Imagine toasting at a wine and cheese party or gathering with family and friends out back in a Serenity Hot Tub or Dream Maker Spa for an atmosphere that’s festive and fun. Don’t forget the heaters!
Plan a simple menu — including two different appetizers, a main entree and dessert selections — that will give guests options. Potluck is also a popular choice during the holidays. Don’t be shy about asking guests to bring a specific dish to pass.
Christmas cookies are always a hit, no matter the party. This recipe for peanut butter blossoms is always a hit.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Servings: 3 dozen
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small bowl granulated sugar for coating
1 bag chocolate “kisses”
Heat the oven to 375 F. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter. Then, mix in the sugar and brown sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Roll the dough into small balls.
Use a separate bowl to coat each ball in granulated sugar. Place the balls onto a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Take out of the oven, and add a chocolate “kiss” to each cookie ball, pressing down slightly. Bake another 2 to 3 minutes until chocolate drops just begin to soften.
Enjoy those treats with a chilled glass of bubbly or hot cocoa while relaxing in your soothing spa hot tub.
The expert team at Aaron Pools and Spas understands what it’s like to keep family and friends at the heart of every holiday gathering. Since 1972, this family-owned and -operated business has established its reputation in southern New England as the only single-source shop, handling everything from initial consultation, computerized design, construction and project management to post-installation service. The company’s professionals care about contributing to your home’s functionality — and fun.
Aaron Pools and Spas has installed more than 2,000 swimming pools and hot tubs in locations from Cape Cod to Connecticut. Aaron Pools and Spas employs in-house experts in design, construction and servicing who have built a reputation for quality products and customer service. Customizing a swimming pool or hot tub to meet your needs is their specialty. Call 508-689-5042 today for a free quote, or visit aaronpoolsandspas.com/contact.