Hosting a holiday gathering for friends and family can be really fun, but it also poses a tremendous challenge. The opportunity to provide guests with good food, a warm home, and refreshing spirits for one evening will make the holiday season even more special.
Before setting a date for a holiday gathering, one must consider the heavy workload required to put the whole evening together.
Aside from expenses, one of the greatest overlooked aspects of throwing a party is the work required before, during, and afterwards.
So much time and effort goes into shopping for ingredients and cleaning the home.
Once the house is clean, the food is cooked, and the candles are lit, the work is done, right?
Wrong. There is still the great responsibility of having to clean the dishes.
Holiday meals tend to generate numerous dishes that will leave the host toiling for hours in the kitchen, long after the guests have left and gone home to sleep. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
After putting forth all that hard work and expense, the host reaps the rewards of wrinkled dishpan hands and tired feet.
The good news is there are a few tips to minimize dish loads for your next holiday gathering.
Maybe not the greenest of advice, but one way to rid yourself of having to spend hours cleaning dishes will be to use paper or plastic plates and silverware.
Many people refrain from doing this because they may want to maintain a holiday theme using their favorite Christmas or Hanukkah patterned dishware. Another reason people may not use disposable items is because they don’t want to appear cheap, plain and simple.
The good news is that much of the dishware found in stores today will include fancy patterned themes printed on the cups and plates, especially during the winter season. Just be sure to leave the carbon footprint light by buying from eco-friendly manufacturers, and using those items that can be recycled again, after the party is over.
Use Fewer Cooking Dishes
Another way to use reduce dish washing time is to cook with fewer pots and pans. Serving multiple side dishes can be the main culprit that leads a mountain of cookware to clean.
Decrease the variety of offerings at your party, or consider cooking a greater quantity of those items that you are sure everyone favors instead.
Another acceptable measure to minimize cleaning cookware is to outsource some of your meal items. It doesn’t hurt to allow a few guests to bring side dishes, appetizers, or desserts, especially if they offer (and if they’ll be bringing their own dish back home afterwards).
Cleaning plates and cups is much easier than tackling the heavy duty items, like pots and pans. Most plates require just a simple rinse before being placed in the dishwasher. But there are many types of cookware that are not dishwasher safe, and require a lot of manual soaking and scrubbing.
Be sure to keep the cookware cleaning to a minimum by opting for disposable pans such as aluminum roasting pans. These are great for preparing turkeys, roasts, lasagna, and even side dishes. And they will double as excellent storage containers once the party is over.
These are just a few simple steps to lighten your dish load. In addition to these tips, consider accepting help from those that volunteer with cleaning up. A little can go a long way, cutting kitchen time in half and becoming a great venue to catch up on some good conversation.
What’s your favorite trick for speeding up the holiday cleanup? Let us know in the comments!
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!