Tiffani Thiessen Tells R29 How To Throw A Kickass Holiday Party

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I don't know about y'all, but when it comes to planning a party, I can get a little daunted by all the hosting to dos — especially if I'm squeezing it in between travel, holiday shopping, and a high-speed week at work. So for some advice on how to make hosting feel a little less stressful and a lot more fun, I checked in with Tiffani Thiessen, who's always throwing an easier-than-it-looks dinner party on her Cooking Channel show Dinner at Tiffani's. (Which, by the way, is one of my favorite shows to watch at the gym.) Luckily for us, the Saved by the Bell alum shared five easy tips for throwing a festive holiday shindig — no matter how big or small — with as little work as possible. Create a timeline.
"As Type A as it is, writing down a timeline actually helps. I'll write down a grocery list, then look at a calendar and figure out which day I can go to the store and which day I'll decorate. And I always make sure I have a full day to prep ingredients ahead of time and set the table. (One less thing to worry about the day of.) Having a physical list just keeps everything in check. And I love when I look at the list and so much is checked off that I feel like, Okay, it's time to have fun now!"

Make sure your pantry is stocked with essentials.
“I always check before I'm hosting to make sure I have a good amount of any seasoning I might need. I also always have truffle oil, which you can add to anything from full-on dishes to popcorn as an appetizer, as well as chocolate drizzle, which you can throw on any easy dessert. I also make sure I have a variety of veggies and grains, in case last minute I get more people and need to throw together a side or salad. And onions! Onions are always in my pantry, because you are always going to need onions for something."

"Everyone who comes to my house knows that if you come into my kitchen, you're going to help."

Don't be afraid to ask your guests for help.
"Everyone who comes to my house knows that if you come into my kitchen, you're going to help. But you'd be surprised: Almost everybody loves to contribute and hang out in the kitchen! Even if they don't cook, they can mix up cocktails, or put things out for people to nibble on, or just set up. Trust me, when you have friends over, they want to feel a part of everything."

Set up DIY stations.
"To make things feel like less work for you, instead of serving every single thing, choose one part of the dinner that guests can put together themselves. This usually works best for dessert or after-dinner drinks. Set out a Keurig (you can check out some of my Keurig recipes here!) and a bunch of toppings for people to make their own hot chocolate, latte, or coffee (as well as a bottle of bourbon, if they want a splash!). Having an activity — something for guests to do — makes it feel less like a sit-down dinner and more like a party."

Don't forget the art of a goody bag!
"I think having a little take-home kind of thing makes your guests feel special. You can have it on the table or set up by the front door on the way out as a way to say thanks for coming. It can be simple: a jar of jam, or a bag of coffee pods, or a bottle of wine, or some great olive oil, in some holiday tissue paper or a little gift bag. I know it's an extra step, but it's that kind of touch that will make your parties memorable and feel more festive. My guests always say it's such a sweet, nice touch! "

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