Stop Killing Yourself Trying to be a Good Holiday Host

Posted by Holly O'Harra on

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be looking at winter entertaining as a nightmare factory of grocery lists, menu plans, and Pinterest-worthy decorations. In the midst of this whirlwind season, it sounds counterproductive to slow down for less stress holidays and to focus on being present for your loved ones instead of focusing on the place settings. Enter Bri McKoy. Bri curates the blog at, and is the author of Come and Eat. She’s here to remind us that conversation is always the most-remembered, most cherished nourishment – even ahead of that delicious fontina cheese dip (which you desperately need in your life; recipe below). She says, “When we create a space for people to open their mouths, they might just do something more than eat. They might just open their hearts, too. In many ways, the fork is the most widely used and unrecognized microphone.” We’ve rounded up a few reminders to help you make the most of this season’s opportunities by stressing less and serving more.

Set reasonable expectations.

Your guests are there for you. Relish in that, and go easy on yourself. If a multi-course meal feels out of reach, plan a brunch before your local holiday parade, or an afternoon cookie swap. Surrender the notion of the perfect holiday. Set Pinterest on fire. It doesn’t matter what’s on the table, it’s that you’re sharing it, together.

Share the load.

If you’re short on time – and it's okay, because we all are – consider some delegation. Brittany Pattner, creative director for Goop, advocates making the dishes you love to make, then ordering the rest. A potluck is also a way to make guests feel involved while alleviating your kitchen capacity.

Elevate the mood - Less Stress Holidays.

Winter is our favorite time to host friends and family because the decorating legwork is already done. Flip the switch on your tree, turn up the Bublé, and snag a pack of adorable reindeer napkins – you’re set! Now that your menu is planned and table is set, Bri reminds us, “May we fling open our doors when we hear a knock and serve what we have with joy and gratitude. May we understand that a lot of days there are people walking around replaying a harsh reckoning of themselves and their own feelings. May we replace their inner dialogue with, ‘You are loved. You are known. You are seen. Come with me, and eat!’” Now, get this cheese dip into your life. You've worked hard, and you deserve it. Less Stress Holiday

Fontina Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 6 minutes | Serves: 8-10 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Crusty French baguette
  • Spread of veggies
  • Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
  • Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.
  • Serve the baked Fontina family-style: right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread and a veggie spread for everyone to dip.
HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., operates Page Chaser, the publisher of Come and Eat.
book recommendation Bri McKoy Category_Blog Posts>Our Stuff christmas recipes

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