Some holiday gatherings come with invites and dress codes, but, at the end of the season, it always seem our best memories were made during those impromptu gatherings with friends and family. The challenge is to stay prepared for a good time and pull off that hostess-with-the-mostest vibe on short notice.

We asked hospitality mavens Jill Donenfeld and Tiana Tenet, co-founders of the luxe and new to LA The Culinistas to share a few professional tips — and they delivered. Here’s how to quickly whip up a good time no matter who drops by…

5 Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Gatherings

snack upgrade | Healthy snacking options are key during holiday party season. Keep popcorn on hand! Give it a holiday feel by popping it in sage infused oil and dusting with parmesan cheese.

cheese red sauce bread dip

clever Start | For an easy and elegant appetizer, bake a block of feta with a quick tomato sauce. Sauté onions in oil with chopped rosemary, add tomato paste and a few crushed tomatoes from the can. Let this thicken, pour over the feta and bake until it bubbles. Serve it directly from the dish with a warm baguette.

easy elegance | Elevate your cheese board and charcuterie platter by sprinkling soft cheese (like burrata) with sumac, a red flaky spice that gives a citrus zing. Garnish your cured meats with julienned strips of lemon and orange.

two-ingredient wonders | Drape bresaola over dried figs for the easiest mini-meal ever. For those who don’t eat meat, poach shelled shrimp in an herb-y broth, chill and serve with garlic oil. Fry garlic in oil, remove the garlic and drizzle the oil on top of your shrimp or serve it as a dipping oil. (Or try this simple, luscious veggie salad for some greens.)

go nuts | We are always big fans of roasted nuts tossed with smoked paprika. They are simple, addictive and add a festive pop of red to your holiday table.

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