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5 Entertaining Secrets the Stars (Like Oprah!) Adore

Your table can look like this in just minutes! Use the time you save for an extra stress-busting trip to the gym. (Photo courtesy of Safeway)

Throwing a holiday bash can be a huge undertaking. From the cleaning to the food, the decorations to the guest list, a big celebration has enough details to keep you up at night. (Not good—especially during this time of year!)

"It's about turning the holidays from hectic to happy," says Debi Lilly, celebrity event planner and Safeway's entertaining and design expert. "Sixty percent of women don't even enjoy the holidays because they're so busy."  So Lilly, who has designed parties for Oprah, Brooke Shields, Debra Messing, Cindy Crawford and more, passed along five tricks to turn your party prep from "Ahh!" to "Ooh!"

1. Plan ahead. "Preset the buffet before guests arrive so you can truly enjoy their company," Lilly suggests.

2. Try Oprah's flashy fave. Miss Winfrey loves the chic, corset details seen on the vases above. Here's how to do it:

    • Start with 36 inches of satin ribbon. Wrap the middle of the ribbon around the back of the vase and bring ends to front.
    • When the ends meet in the front, twist them around each other and bring them to the back. Twist them again and bring back to front.
    • Repeat the twists on the back and the front sides until you reach the top of the vase; knot the ends together and finish with a single loop.

    3. Reuse. After the party has wrapped, don't toss that ribbon! It's perfectly good to use for other holidays with similar color schemes. And the branches from your tree that hang too low? Gather them up around the bases of the vases for an additional festive touch (and aroma).

    4. Outsource when necessary. Shh...Your secret's safe with us! "Buy snacks from the frozen food aisle and garnish with fresh herbs. It will look like find catering," Lilly says.

    5. Serve appropriate apps. And if you have a little more time, try assembling these no-oven-necessary treats from Safeway's Executive Chef Jeff Anderson.

    Fuss-free snacks are just the ticket for this busy time of year. (Photo courtesy of Safeway)

    Holiday Cheer Caprese Skewers

    • Wooden skewers
    • Grape tomatoes
    • Fresh Mozzarella cheese
    • Fresh basil
    • Olive oil
    • salt and black pepper
    1. Cut the basil and cheese into small pieces.
    2. Arrange on wooden skewers.
    3. Drizzle with olive oil.
    4. Salt and pepper to taste.

     

    Loop salmon around itself to create a rose-like topper. (Photo courtesy of Safeway)

    Smoked Salmon Quick Bite with Artichoke Dip

    • 4 ounces smoked wild Alaskan salmon
    • 20 pita chips, black pepper and sea salt flavor
    • 12 ounces artichoke dip
    • 1 quartered, unseeded lemon; parsley for garnish
    1. Assemble crackers on serving platter.
    2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of artichoke dip on each cracker.
    3. Place a small piece (0.3 ounces) of salmon on top of the artichoke dip.
    4. Garnish plates with lemon and parsley.

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