Hostessing tips from Martha Stewart’s ex-cellmate.


A good hostess begins looking after her guests the moment they walk in the door. So after you take their coat and pat them down, offer up a round of drinks right quick.

Eggnog is the traditional choice because, “It tastes like Christmas,” and “really gets you in the holiday spirit.” If you like to drink your pancakes, by all means serve eggnog. On the other hand, if you want to serve something totally different from anything your guests have ever tried before, I recommend Pruno. It’s super easy to make a batch at home – especially if you’ve got more than one bathtub. And, if you need to add some seasonal flavor, just toss a few cinnamon sticks and cloves up in there.

Another great way to spice up your party is with a gingerbread house contest.

Have the pieces and icing pre-made and decoration stations set up around the table.

Then get everyone to build a replica of you prison and use the decorations to leave a trail showing how they would escape. It’s guaranteed fun for the whole crew.

Merry Christmas!

Birthday Parties

Kids love themed birthday parties. So do I for a number of reasons. But here’s the thing, no matter how extravagant the theme, no matter how many helium balloons you’ve got, even if your parole officer does magic on the side, nothing beats the cake. Nothing! That’s all the kids really want. Here’s a fun and easy way to take the cake experience up a notch. It’s the perfect combination of two things everyone loves. You’re eating birthday cake when all of a sudden, hey, what’s this inside? Surprise, it’s a gift.

Happy Birthday indeed!

Retirement Party

As the saying goes, “When one door closes, another opens.” So open the door to their RRSP and once that’s closed, open the door to a casino and don’t open it again until you’ve doubled the money. That’s how you go out in style.

Engagement Party

This little shindig is all about you-know-who. She’s about to get locked down for life so it’s your duty to send her off in style. Nothing says, “you’re going to be so happy, you totally made the right decision” like a glass of bubbly. It helps get everyone in the mood – and loosens lips. So have a tray of champagne flutes set out for when your guests arrive.

Make sure you have some food ready to go, too. A selection of the bride-to-be’s favourite dishes is always a good bet. Small, bite size portions go over well as they allow you to nibble away whenever you feel puckish and make they it easier to socialize. A dessert table goes without saying.

Once everyone has settled in, said their hellos, and have a few flutes in them, it’s time for a little fun. After all, what’s an engagement party without games about the bride and groom? Stuff about the happy couple is always popular. This could include trivia about how well you know them, true or false questions about important events in their life, guessing how much her ring is worth, figuring out his net worth, where he works, what he drives, daily routines like where he banks, the more personal the better.

Don’t forget to put out some take out boxes in case your guests want leftovers.


Tradition says on Thanksgiving you sit down with family and friends for a festive meal with all the fixins and tell each other what you’re thankful for. Unless they treated you like a Native American and promised things they never delivered on. Like how they were going to visit you every weekend then hardly ever did. And when they did, they never once brought you a birthday cake with something hidden inside.

 Going Away Party

When throwing a Going Away Party there’s a tendency to focus on the destination rather than the guest. From a tropical vacation to an upstate getaway they know exactly where they’re going and how long they’ll be gone. So take this time to enjoy their company while they’re still around – and give them something to look forward to when they return.

To help make this a memorable send-off the guest list can stray a bit from the normal go-to invitees. Remember, they’ll be gone for a while so it’s okay to reach out and invite people they, and you, haven’t seen in a while. An old flame or someone like that. Don’t be afraid to troll their Facebook page if that’s what it takes to find those special guests.

The menu at this party is a biggie too as they won’t be able to enjoy this type of cuisine for 12-18 months afterwards. So prepare a menu that features a variety of their favourite foods. If that means you need to order out for a special dish don’t fret, just serve it on your dinnerware and no one will know the difference.

As for the bar, pretty much anything goes. Again, they won’t have access to this kind of stuff for an extended period of time, so send them off with a top shelf party.

Also, sometimes the guest put together a little kitty for the person who’s going away. It doesn’t have to be crazy, just a little something to help out while they’re gone.


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