Procrastinator's Guide to Holiday Entertaining

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Procrastinator's Guide to Holiday Entertaining
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You’ve just volunteered yourself for an impromptu gathering or you waited until the eleventh hour to get everything ready -- either way, your holiday party prep is down to the wire. Whether you have an afternoon to get organized, an hour to prep, or only five minutes to throw some candles on the table, we're here to help with last-minute tips for drinks, desserts and decorations.

If You Have an Afternoon: Do Some Last-Minute Pumpkin Decorating
Gus Philippas

If You Have an Afternoon: Do Some Last-Minute Pumpkin Decorating

Even though Halloween has come and gone, pumpkins, squashes and gourds are still very much in season. With some sparkly spray paint and a handful of tea lights, you can turn October’s porch decorations into November and December’s centerpieces.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Fall Decorating: 3 Ways to Use Pumpkins in HD

If You Have an Afternoon: Fudge Your Way Through Baking
Gus Philippas

If You Have an Afternoon: Fudge Your Way Through Baking

The prep work is quick and painless – just melt chocolate and mix in ingredients – and the three hours the fudge spends cooling in the fridge are hours you can spend on decorating or making dinner.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Just the Basics: How to Make Fudge in HD

If You Have An Afternoon: Mull Wine
Photo by Gus Philippas

If You Have An Afternoon: Mull Wine

Perfect for a frazzled host, the only true “prep” for mulling wine is gathering your spices. After adding a pinch of this and a dash of that, simply let the wine simmer while you get everything else ready.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Winter Warmer: Mulled Wine in HD

If You Have an Afternoon: Fake Your Way to Eggnog
Photo by Gus Philippas

If You Have an Afternoon: Fake Your Way to Eggnog

Joe Campanale’s “Fake Out Eggnog” is a quick, eggless answer to the traditional holiday eggnog -- it's just as tasty as the real deal and it’s a dream come true for the time-pressed chef, because you probably already have all the ingredients you’ll need on hand.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Fake Out Egg Nog in HD

If You Have an Afternoon: Make Some Quick and Easy Icing
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If You Have an Afternoon: Make Some Quick and Easy Icing

Get your mixer out and whip up a batch of Heather Bertinetti’s ridiculously easy royal icing, which will make any store bought cookie look homemade and beautiful. And, if you’re feeling particularly pressed for time, set out a cookie decorating station and let the guests do the creative handiwork themselves.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch "Quick and Easy Royal Icing in HD

If You Have an Afternoon: Get Crafty and Make Cute Place Cards
Gus Philippas

If You Have an Afternoon: Get Crafty and Make Cute Place Cards

A little snipping goes a long way. With Evette Rios’s creative ideas for place cards (using things you most likely have on hand in your kitchen or yard), you can fool your guests into thinking you’ve been slaving away on decorations for days.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Five Ideas for Holiday Placecard Holders in HD

If You Have an Hour: Melt Some Chocolate and Dip Some Fruit
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If You Have an Hour: Melt Some Chocolate and Dip Some Fruit

There is really no way to go wrong with chocolate covered anything – let alone chocolate covered fruit. Whether you have berries, apples or bits of melon, you can drip and drizzle your way to a beautiful dessert platter or set up a mini-dipping station for your guests.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Easy and Elegant Chocolate-Dipped Fruit in HD

If You Have an Hour: Make Steaming Mugs of Hot Buttered Rum
Photo by Gus Philippas

If You Have an Hour: Make Steaming Mugs of Hot Buttered Rum

If you’ve got rum and butter on hand, you’re some hot water away from having this delicious holiday drink.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Hot Buttered Rum in HD

If You Have an Hour: Make Your Plates Pretty
Gus Philippas

If You Have an Hour: Make Your Plates Pretty

Even if you didn’t make an entirely homemade holiday dinner, you can dress it up and make it look like you did. Add a few sprigs of rosemary, swap out a serving dish and sprinkle your pie with some powdered sugar and practice your sly smile because your guests will be admiring all your hard work.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Pretty Plating: Spruce Up Your Food Serving Skills in HD

If You Have Five Minutes: Make an Impromptu Cheese Plate
eHow

If You Have Five Minutes: Make an Impromptu Cheese Plate

Grab a bottle of wine and scour your cheese drawer. Evette has tips for an effortless and elegant cheese platter, so you will be ready to greet your guests with full glasses of wine and an assortment of cheeses in no time.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Labeling Party Food in HD

If You Have Five Minutes: Pair Wine and Chocolate
Photo by Gus Philippas

If You Have Five Minutes: Pair Wine and Chocolate

Now is the perfect time to dip into the chocolate stash. With some tips from Jordan Salcito, you can conduct your own impromptu wine and chocolate pairing.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Perfect Pairings: Dessert Wine and Cookies in HD

If You Have Five Minutes: Don’t Worry, Bean Happy
Gus Philippas

If You Have Five Minutes: Don’t Worry, Bean Happy

Nestle your candles into little votives of coffee beans to give your decorations an instant wake up call. If you don’t have coffee, any dried beans you may have in your pantry can work to help give your lights a little bit of a lift.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Related: Watch Bean Candle Centerpiece for Fall in HD

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