Hostess hacks: Entertainment tips from Janette Ewen

So, you barely survived the busy entertaining season. We get it! We asked the ultimate hostess, designer and lifestyle expert, Janette Ewen, for tips on making next year’s festivities seamless.

No stranger to throwing great parties, Janette hosted two this past season; a traditional soiree for her family here in Toronto and a vintage-themed fete in Palm Springs, Calif. for friends. “I even rented a mid-century modern home to set the tone for my retro-themed party in Palm Springs,” Ewen says. Now, that is someone who is serious about throwing a great party! Get inspired by her fail-safe entertaining tips.

1. Always start with a theme

Pick a fun theme that everyone will enjoy (I chose a 1950s-inspired holiday party this year). A strong theme helps shape the decor, cocktail menu, food, invites, gifts, music, dress and even the scent of your home.

TIP: For 2018, the top holiday themes all have a glamorous twist: Think gold, silver and plenty of sparkle.

2. Let everyone help

Entertaining shouldn’t be laborious for the host. Instead, use your friends as resources. Do you have a friend who can mix a mean cocktail? A friend who likes to play DJ? Tap into your friends’ talents for a stress-free night
of fun.

TIP: Assign one small task to each friend. You will free yourself up for your most important role — as host!

3. Decor goals

There are many ways to have fun with your tabletop decor, but most important is a low centrepiece. You don’t want your guests dodging their heads around a large item to have a conversation.

TIP: Think about using a floral garland or a macramé table runner with a grouping of low candles.

4. Stage your space

If you are having a cocktail party, make sure you leave clear pathways to key areas of the kitchen, bar area and washroom. I like to edit my furniture and remove any trip hazards like low stools or tables.

TIP: Create seating clusters (three-four seats and one-two cocktail tables) in areas that are low traffic. These will invite conversation and give a party a relaxed vibe.

5. Food for thought

I love to prepare unique appetizers, and President’s Choice has a huge selection. These can be real conversation starters and are easy to prepare. Another big trend is anything retro (recipes from the 1950s and 60s). Consider picking up a vintage cookbook and making a few recipes from a different era.

TIP: I also love saving a little money on food during the holidays. I use my PC Financial World Elite MasterCard to maximize my holiday spending and redeem my PC points on groceries and other hosting requirements to offset the costs. Essentially, I’m getting more for less every time I use my card. Visit

Antipasto Misto Snack Board

hostess hacks

A cheese and charcuterie board is one of the easiest ways to feed your guests – the key is to offer a variety of flavours, textures and colours. PC Splendido Antipasto Misto gives you three types of cured meats for this board – prosciutto, Coppa di Parma and mild Genoa salami – so you can cover all your bases with just one package. Feel free to add sliced pears and grapes to the board for an extra pop of colour. For more inspiring recipes, visit

hostess hacks


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