5 Super Easy Hacks for Last-Minute Hosting

Table with crackers, cheese, cookies, olives, vegetables.

The scene: You were planning on enjoying a quiet night alone when you suddenly get a text from your friend or relative: “I’ll be in the neighborhood later today … with 5 of my friends. Can we swing by to say ‘hi?’” While you’re inclined to say that you have come down with a mysterious illness, you respond, “Sure!” Now what do you do?

Rather than panic, realize that it’s easy to pull together a spread — then invite the neighbors, too. With these quick-fix options and hosting hacks, you’ll never be more than moments away from being the spontaneous host you wish to see in the world.

1. Add a seasonal scent and vibe to your home.

You can easily infuse your home with a DIY air freshener. Fill a big saucepan on the stove with water, sliced oranges, cinnamon sticks and cloves and simmer on low to fill your space with a cozy aroma, or warm the same ingredient blend in your slow cooker set to low. You can also light some seasonal candles if that’s not your thing — or you’re really short on time. Then outsource the tunes by cueing up a festive, already-curated playlist from your favorite music streaming service.

2. Let nice dishes do the heavy lifting.

Break out your best bowls and platters to dress up event easy, ready-made food. Beautiful serving bowls and plates can make simple snacks stand out — and like you stressed over them all day ... even when you simply grabbed them at the store. Consider laying out your favorite type of mixed nuts, dried fruit or popcorn. It’s the presentation that counts!

3. Build a wow-worthy charcuterie board.

If you have time to swing by a Whole Foods Market, you can quickly grab all you need for a picture-perfect cheese and charcuterie plate. Aim for a hard, medium and soft cheese as well as a couple of meats, then tack on a few different fruits, some briny olives and jams, crackers, breads and herbs to fill in the gaps.

Stock up on these ingredients, then pile them high on a wood cutting board:

  • Somerdale Champagne Cheddar
  • Herve Mons St. Nuage
  • Langa La Tur Cheese
  • Cowgirl Creamery Organic Mt Tam
  • Prosciutto
  • Salami or pepperoni
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps
  • Whole grain baguette, sliced
  • Olives from our olive bar
  • 2–3 jams and/or mustards of your choice
  • 2–3 fresh fruits, such as pears, berries, figs or grapes
  • 2–3 fresh green herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, mint or sage

Then label your get-together a “wine and cheese” party and call it a day.

4. Have wine. Of course.

Add at least one bottle each of red, white and sparkling wine. (Pro tip: Have some on hand for times like this.) Need some help selecting what wine to have on supply? Visit our Wine department for a curated selection that's been hand-picked by our Master Sommelier and expert wine team.

5. Mix up sparkling cocktails.

They're quick to make and perfect for serving a larger group. Even better, you only need a few ingredients. Try these Pineapple-Rosemary Crush Cocktails.

Operation Last-Minute Hosting: Success.

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