The holidays are back again. It’s funny how this happens every year whether we like it or not, and somehow no matter how hectic it all seems we always pull it together. I often find myself wishing the holidays came every other year instead of every year, but I guess I would miss this unbelievable challenge of keeping up my undeniable reputation for being the “hostess with the mostess”. I thought that since I am the Innkeeper at the Wilson Creek Manor I could throw a few tips your way to keep yourself sane. The first thing you should do is pour yourself a glass of wine… I suggest a glass of Yes Dear Chardonnay, and then read my blog with a bit of whimsy and a sense of humor.

Let’s start with the kitchen, the heart of the house. Everyone winds up in the kitchen and everyone is starving this time of year. Diets don’t start until January 1st so you need to be prepared with snacks! From a fresh bowl of fruit on the counter, to simple snacks that your kids can grab. Your guests that drop by will think you are amazing!

You will need two types of crackers in the cupboard and a cheese ball (and I’m not referring to your husband). I’m talking a DELICIOUS good old fashioned port wine cheese ball covered in nuts, or a spreadable cheese like rondelé garlic and herb, or even a block or two of your favorite cheese. Accompany with some sort of cured meat like some salami nuggets and a good old fashioned can of olives. I also recommend having some nuts close by (the ones you can serve, not the relatives that are coming) since they always look so festive. These are staples to have on hand for your guests, or even if you need a quick appetizer to go to a neighbor’s house. Cheese is easy and everyone loves it. Guess what else… it goes well with wine! Ha

Also in your kitchen, you will need a sweet or two. Maybe some Christmas cookies on hand or a box of chocolates, or even a pie in your fridge that’s left over from Thanksgiving. My favorite sweet is the chocolate covered popcorn that I get in the tasting room at Wilson Creek Winery. Make sure you have plenty of ice on hand and some refreshing sparkling water. Don’t forget the egg nog, of course, and some cranberry and orange juice. Your kitchen fridge should have a soft drink as well. Coke, Diet coke, or Pepsi are good staples. Don’t forget a bottle of Sparkling Cider. Everyone likes Martinelli’s.

Let’s move over to the bar area, shall we? As a good hostess, you want to have variety. So, have some spirits like Vodka, Rum, Whiskey, and my new favorite, Fireball. I recommend having a few bottles of wine on hand at all times. Two types of red wine, two types of white wine, and two sparkling wine flavors.  Wine is good to cook with in the kitchen too. Sometimes I even put it in the food. It makes everything easier during this time of year. I always say WINE is the answer, what is the question? In fact, pour yourself another glass of wine while your reading the next part.

In the guest bath have shampoo, conditioner, a fresh bar of soap in the shower, a frilly liquid soap on the counter closest to the sink, and a can of air freshener in case the cheese is a little too much. I recommend having an extra toothbrush and toothpaste on hand.  In the guest bedroom have a fluffy blanket or warm down comforter with fresh pillows on the bed. A spare robe in the closet and a bottle of water on the night stand is always nice. Have another glass of wine then everything will be perfect!

Be prepared to ask questions like “what is your favorite Christmas movie” or “what is your favorite Christmas tradition”.

Hopefully your house is decorated by the second weekend in December and you can get all your packages and cards mailed out by the 17th so they can get to your friends in time for Christmas.

Don’t forget to buy plenty of tape, extra bows, and silly but… batteries. Lots of decorations need them these days. You might need an extension cord or two for the Holidays but mostly…

Enjoy your family and friends this time of year.

There is nothing a little bit of Wilson Creek Wine can’t handle. And before you know it, it will be time to make a resolution. Mine will be to drink Wilson Creek Wine every day!

With a smile!

Abby Trybulski – Wilson Creek Manor Guest Services Manager