"Lazy Entertaining" Ideas from Celebrity Party Planner Mary Giuliani

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Mary Giuliani is a celebrity party planner, who wrote not one, but two books on entertaining: The Cocktail Party (Ballantine Books, 2015) and Tiny Hot Dogs (Running Press Adult, 2019). We asked her to share ideas for making your next party easier—so you can spend less time working and more time enjoying yourself. Here are her tried-and-true "lazy entertaining" tips. 

 —The Fondue Pot 

"It was created for the lazy hostess!" says Mary. "Think about it: melt cheese, put bread in it, sit there and go drink and eat off a stick." But, the fondue pot is not just for cheese anymore, she adds. She fills hers with jarred tomato sauce and precooked meatballs (store-bought is fine) and lets them warm up. Guests serve themselves by spearing a meatball with a skewer. Novel and fun! 

You can also turn this tasty fondue pot nibble into a mini meatball Parm sandwich without the bread by setting out a bowl of one part Italian breadcrumbs mixed with one part grated Parmesan cheese. Guests can roll a skewered meatball into it, if they like. "Or," Mary continues, "make it even prettier and take it one step further if you're not so lazy and put a small ball of mozzarella, a cherry tomato and some fresh basil on the skewer, too." Rach LOVED this idea (shown in the photo), calling out, "Shut the door!"  

—Can Bar with Garnishes  

Forget a full bar, says Mary. Canned drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are a lazy host's best friend. Make them special by putting them on a lazy Susan with easy garnishes—sliced citrus, fresh herbs, drink umbrellas, fun straws—alongside. Guests can help themselves and customize their drinks. You can also garnish some cans in advance, perhaps with a colorful straw adorned with an orange slice, which makes for an extra-appealing display.    

—Clean Up  

After eating, drinking and playing, says Mary, last, but not least, recover! The cleanup of any party is always the worst part. This is a great trick for dealing with all the glasses and cans that may be scattered about. Pop them in the holes of a muffin tin and then take the lot to the garbage can, with a pit stop at the kitchen sink to dump any leftover liquid. 

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