The holidays can be stressful as we prepare to host family and friends, but they don’t have to be. There are plenty of shortcuts you can take to simplify entertaining while still providing your guests with a night to remember.

1.Set the table.

Whether you’re planning a sit-down meal or buffet, a Pinterest-worthy tablescape is likely in the works. Rather than purchasing linens for every holiday, a crisp white tablecloth is always timeless. Bring the holidays to your table by using poinsettias of varying sizes. Poinsettias come in so many beautiful shades including classic reds, burgundy, pink and white and make a great parting gift for friends and family to enjoy at home for weeks to come.

2. Cut corners where you can.

When planning a party, appetizers are generally a go-to and the easiest thing to check off your list. The frozen section of your local Loblaws has everything you need to ensure your guests leave satisfied, from puff pastry hors d’oeuvres to plant-based options. At the deli, you can also order ready-made charcuterie boards with a selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, crackers and accompaniments.

3. Serve a signature cocktail.

Simplify the bar selection to a few options, offering a signature cocktail to ensure you can enjoy the evening and aren’t bartending all night. Try your hand at making this spiced pineapple and cherry rum cocktail to bring some tropical flavour to your celebration:

Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add a ¼ cup pineapple juice, 1 ounce spiced rum and 2 teaspoons of cherry syrup. Pour over ice into stemless wine glass or cocktail glass. Top with one can of PC ginger beer. Garnish with cherries and pineapple wedge. Tip: Make the mixture ahead and serve in a pitcher and let guests top their own cocktail and garnish it.

4 .Make gift-giving easy

Whether you need a gift for your guests or are looking for a hostess gift to take to a holiday party, pre-assembled gift baskets are a great option for the food lovers in your life. Options include classic holiday chocolates and cookie tins or everything to satisfy a much-needed caffeine fix. Best of all, they come gift wrapped so you just need to add a card.