Holiday Planning and Trends: It’s Never Too Early to Plan Ahead

When it comes to planning the holidays, you can never start too early. In fact, now is when you should begin creating your timeline and searching for a venue.

Phyllis Farmer, owner of Events Made Special, has offered personal catering as well as event planning for over 25 years. Farmer’s best advice when it comes to the holidays? “Give yourself as much time as possible and start early. As the holidays approach, your choices become slimmer. Venues get bookedas do caterers. It behooves you to create a timeline and work out all the elements, in terms of music, photography, food and venue.” When asked of trends for 2015, Phyllis stated “Small plates are a big deal right now, as well as various cheeses paired with jellies and honeys.” In addition, bites of prosciutto and sausage, canapés, and Caprese salads on-a-stick make nice finger-foods for cocktail partiesthey can also substitute for appetizers before the main meal.

These local cheeses, jellies and jam can be purchased at gourmet grocers. Laura Bell, owner of Ocmulgee Traders, a specialty grocer and caterer in downtown Macon, said when entertaining, “The key word is RELAX. When the host is stressed, no one has fun.” She suggests ‘do-it-yourself stations’ as a way to alleviate some of the pressure. This also allows everyone to make their own food to their liking.

And local doesn’t have to apply just to the main meal; it can also apply to dessert. For instance, Ocmulgee Traders now carries Atlanta's Honeysuckle Gelato, with gourmet flavors such as Honey Fig, Sea Salted Caramel, Bourbon Pecan, and Snack on a Plane (biscoff cookies, pretzels, and peanuts in a vanilla caramel base). Local baked goods and cakes from bakers like Macon Baking Company and Wilson’s Bakery in Warner Robins can also add nice finishing touches to the holiday meal.

Going local is a trend that can apply to all your holiday planningfrom the holiday table to holiday gift giving. Holiday gift baskets are also “in” right now for both personal and corporate gift giving. Filling them up with Georgia-made candies, jellies, teas, and breads can make a special gift while supporting independent businesses, leveraging the local and organic trend.

So, remember, the locavore trend is not just for restaurants, it is also applicable to entertaining. Hosts and guests are more conscious of the food they serve and they want it to be as fresh as possible. Going local allows you to get the freshest food possible. Even fresh herbs can make a big difference when it comes to food and your holiday spread.

Ok, we have the menu workingbut are you looking for a venue for your Holiday party? Well, the Macon area is fortune to have a lot of unique choicesfrom the Hay House to the Sidney Lanier Cottage and the Douglass Theater. There are also many restaurants and, museums available for rental. One unique spot is Gallery 51 in Forsyth! According to owner, Celia Henigman, Gallery 51 is perfect for the “Not so typical event, we offer something unique”. They are, in fact, an art gallery that can accommodate up to 500 guests, but offer smaller rooms for those who want an intimate vibe.

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t forget there are event planners like Phyllis Farmer, and venues also offer services that will reduce your stress for a more joyful holiday season!