If there’s one thing I love more than low carb, it’s low effort parties. I believe that the most important thing about parties is the conversation and the experience with family and friends NOT the long exhaustive effort spent making everything look perfect. Today I’m sharing with you 5 tips that have helped me in creating both low carb and low effort holiday party planning.

Make It A Pot Luck

Pot luck is one of the easiest ways to take stress off yourself in holiday parties. Assign a menu item or 2 to each guest or each couple. This will instantly cut your prep time in half. It’s not that big of an effort for other guests to bring something because they are only preparing 1 or 2 items. Make sure you talk to your guests at least a week in advanced to plan the menu. Give them a pretty big range of options and don’t be specific as this will sound more like an order than a request. Example, Guest A could you bring an appetizer sounds better than Guest A could you bring asparagus wrapped in prosciutto (no srsly babe)? Here’s how our menu ended up this year for Thanksgiving.

Have Low Carb Substitutes for Basic Things People Expect

Here are my fave low carb substitutes that I have readily available.
  1. Sugar – instead of sugar I use Swerve. In my opinion this is the BEST sugar alternative. It is a one to one match when replacing sugar in any recipe. PLUS, they have both the granulated and powdered variety. Purchase HERE.
  2. Bread – It took me a while to find a good bread replacement. I’ve tried a bunch of recipes and finally made my own. Here’s my fave recipe for Low Carb Almond Bread! It’s SUPER easy to make, I promise.
  3. Rice – I grew up in the Philippines and EVERYONE wants rice with every meal. Cauliflower rice can be good but for me the best substitute is Miracle Rice. I’ll cook it according to package directions then throw it back in the pan with some olive oil, garlic and salt… yum! Buy HERE

Use Herbs For Cooking and Decorating

This was a trick that my sister-in-law Jess taught me. Well she didn’t teach me but I saw it in one of her amazing spreads (she’s a fantastic planner check out her new mom blog)! Herbs look really good on the dinner table. PLUS, they make your dinner table smell good. I literally just put a sprig of rosemary on top of the place setting and it looked way better. If you’re more crafty, you can add a ribbon to it or make it more artsy. Mine is low effort. I literally put a sprig of rosemary on top of my place setting.

Have Themed Accessories Readily Available

Ahhhhh themed accessories! If you know me well, you know how much I love playing dress up. I keep a stack of holiday accessories that have accumulated through the years. Here’s a photo of my sister-in-law and me last xmas.

repost from @jessdipaola instagram

Accessories make things waaay more fun and photos turn out great. Think Santa Hat, Reindeer antlers, Hannukah themed headbands and more. If you don’t have any in hand, these holiday themed props are a good starter pack.  

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Lastly, if you forgot any of the tips I mentioned above… the only thing to remember is don’t sweat the small stuff. In our thanksgiving dinner, I didn’t make any stuffing and my mom mentioned she could’ve brought stuffing from her place (they have a Friendsgiving dinner a few days after). The thing is, we had so much food and we already had a lot of good side dishes. Who cares if we didn’t have stuffing? At the end of the day, even if you just have a very simple spread for you holiday party, it’s the people you love that are important. Spending time with every one and REALLY talking to each other with phones down will make any holiday party create good memories. Happy Holidays from my family to yours! Yours in dance, Charlene