Holiday Entertaining Ideas: For Those Who Love to Entertain at Home

a set of serving boards, cheese boards and dinnerware on a table
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The holiday season is a busy time for all of us. After a long week at work, many of us plan to meet up with friends and co-workers at a local bar or a newly opened restaurant. However, this year, why not switch things up and invite your friends over to your place for an unforgettable evening and holiday entertaining?

There’s nothing better than hosting a cozy winter gathering with beautiful decorations and delicious food trays served with unique, handcrafted serving pieces like a hand-forged stainless steel cheese knife set or a cake serving set on the dessert table.

With more people choosing to entertain at home, there is a growing trend towards surrounding ourselves with distinctive artisan-crafted items that bring our homes to life.

Holiday Entertaining

If you appreciate the charm of handcrafted home décor and housewares with a “flawlessly imperfect” style, then you’ll love some of the holiday season essentials INOX Artisans has to offer.

But before we get to that, if you’re planning to host guests this holiday season and want to have more get-togethers with friends and family throughout the year, you’ll want a collection of entertaining essentials that reflect your personality and sense of style.

This can take some time to build, so we’ve compiled a list of items to help get you started along with some entertaining ideas.

Platters and Trays

a set of marble serving boards with cheese and olive knives

Whether you’re serving turkey at a sit-down dinner or an assortment of appetizers for a casual party, platters and trays are a must-have. From small trays to large platters, these essentials are at the top of the list for a reason.

Tip: White ceramic or white marble pieces are an excellent option for your entertaining essentials. White complements any decor, and it never goes out of style. A white marble charcuterie board is especially great as it directs all the attention to the food.

Additionally, marble has natural cooling properties, making it ideal for serving cured meats, fruits, and cheese.  

Serving Bowls and Dishes 

Medium and large-sized bowls: When entertaining, you’ll want to have plenty of bowls for serving salads, pasta, or even chips.

Small dip bowls or ramekins: Used for dips, cheese spreads, olives, pickles, and nuts, these little gems are so useful when creating a delicious grazing table or for serving dipping sauces at the dining table.

Casserole dishes: You already know how handy these dishes are for one-pot meals, but they are perfect for cooked appetizers, and baked side dishes like scalloped potatoes or bread pudding.

Serving utensils: A great place to get started with serving utensils is to get a hostess set. Hostess sets include a slotted spoon, a large spoon and fork, and a ladle. Other serving utensils include salad serving sets, pasta forks, and serving tongs.

Parties for People Who Like Cheese

marble cheese board with cheese knives

Cheese boards and charcuterie boards: Having a range of marble and wood charcuterie boards is a must for creating a masterpiece grazing table.

Cheese knives, cheese spreaders, and pickle forks: If you’re a cheese aficionado, why not go all out when displaying your favorite cheeses? A hand-forged cheese knives set that includes an assortment of cheese board tools will bring your cheese presentations to another level. Moreover, having the right cheese-slicing or spreading tools will help guests easily serve themselves. 

Baskets: Lined with colorful linens, baskets are the ultimate way to serve bread sticks, crusty bread slices, or an assortment of crackers.

Have you always entertained family and friends by cooking dinner? Next time, why not do something less stressful and skip the sit-down dinner?

The grazing platter trend continues to grow. It became popular in Australia and New Zealand in the 1990s and has become a staple at workplace events as well as gatherings with friends.

Some prefer to call it a charcuterie board or cheese platter, but whatever you call it, this style of entertaining family and friends is a great stress-free alternative to cooking dinner for a crowd. What began with a few platters at a party has now expanded, with full grazing tables, packed with cured meats, cheese, fruit, vegetables, and more!

Along with the adventure of exploring new foods, something about a group of friends eating around a table seems to get conversations going. So, if you like cheese, this is a great way to share the experience with friends and family.

a set of cheese knives

You’ll want to bring out your charcuterie or cheese boards and a set or two of cheese knives that can handle an assortment of cheeses. Cheese knife sets come with an assortment of cheese knives and tools.

Here are some of the basic tools you’ll need to entertain at home:

  • A cheese plane is the ideal cheese tool for shaving off thin slices. It has a spatula-like paddle with a sharp-edge slit. To use it, pass the plane along the top or side of the cheese block. As you pull it along, the slice settles on top of the plane, for easy transferring to a plate. Best for: semi-soft to semi-hard cheese.
  • The pronged cheese knife is a great multipurpose cheese tool for slicing cheese and then piercing it with the prongs to plate or serve it. The curved, narrow blade offers less surface area for soft cheese to stick to. A complete cheese knife set will include a pronged cheese knife. Best for: Soft to semi-hard cheeses like Brie, Parmesan, Camembert, and Mozzarella.
  • The cheese spreader is a flexible knife with a wide spatula-like blade that keeps soft cheese on the knife for spreading. This multi-functional cheese tool is ideal for spreading goat cheese or cream cheese, or use it to spread butter, hummus, and other delicious spreads.
  • The Stilton Scoop is a traditional tool used for diving into the center of a creamy Stilton cheese wheel. Use this scoop for crumbly (or runny) cheese like Stilton, Danish Blue cheese, Ricotta, and Brie.

Parties for People Who Like Cake

a cake sat on a wooden cake stand with serving knife

Tiered servers, cake stands, and a cake serving set: Elevate your desserts! Pretty cupcakes, fancy tartes, and delicious cakes look extra special when served on stylish stands. A wooden cake stand and a beautifully crafted artisan cake serving set will go a long way to creating dessert tables that your guests will appreciate.

The holiday season can be a socially packed month. If you’re not sweet on all the planning and cooking that hosting a full-on dinner party with dessert involves, why not host a dessert-only party? Many desserts can be made a day ahead so you can put more focus on decorating the party with your personal touches.

You can choose a theme for your party or simply let it be a baker’s favorite menagerie of mud pie, lemon pound cake, and cherry cheesecake cupcakes. Do you plan on inviting children? Make them feel special with a dessert charcuterie tray of their own. 

strawberry swirl Bundt cake on a white ceramic cake stand with copper and silver serveware

Do you bake a strawberry swirl Bundt cake that you’d like your friends to try? Use a cake stand to elevate and display it and include a cake serving set nearby for slicing and serving.

Pastry forks are a lovely addition, making it easy for guests to hold their plate with one hand while using the wider flattened prong to cut through pie, pastry, or cakes.

Whatever type of holiday gathering you decide on, try to do as much as possible ahead of time…and if someone offers a helping hand, say yes! Once the evening is over, you’ll be glad you spent time relaxing with your family and friends.

We hope this glance at artisan-crafted marble charcuterie boards, hand-forged stainless steel cheese knife sets, and cake and pastry serving pieces will inspire you to elevate your at-home entertaining with artful, memorable touches.

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