Hey, it’s Lauren. The holidays are close at hand and in addition to spending lots of quality time with my boys and extended family, I’m anticipating lots of cozy, festive opportunities for hosting – and of course, giving back.

The secret to a truly great dinner party is definitely the people seated around the table, but it’s also in the commonality created when people come together to share much more than a meal. The beauty of FEED Supper is that it cultivates this shared interest, so that even strangers at the table can bond over their mutual impact.

Here are some of my tried and true tips for your next FEED Supper. Just add the best part – the people and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic evening.

  1. The food – Holiday hosting can get so overly complicated as far as food, especially when you are dealing with prepping multiple dishes, some that have extraordinarily long cook times, as a lot of traditional holiday foods do. I’m a long-time vegetarian, so I always go for a pasta or two and a bevy of seasonal, roasted and fresh veggies. It’ll take you way less time to cook and there will be something for everyone. Thank me later.

  2. Invitations – My advice here is really not to overthink it. I love a beautiful, designed and printed invitation, but truthfully it’s not usually necessary. Plus, digital (aka Facebook, text or good “old” e-vite) is better for the environment.

  3. The kiddos – Include the your littles! I’ve found that mixing generations at the same table feels the most genuine and un-fussy. The adults end up loving it even more than the kids – we all know the kids table is the best place to be.

  4. Your co-host – Although I love to cook, I’m the first to admit I’m not the most advanced chef and hosting in general can be a lot of handle by yourself. I love to have a friend come by early to help me cook and prep. Don’t forget the pre-dinner glass of wine while you cook.

  5. The music – Make sure to choose something that aligns with the vibe and does not overwhelm the conversation. My go tos are always 70s folk rock like Fleetwood Mac, Carole King and the like – everyone recognizes the songs and it’s mellow and happy.

  6. The cause - While we gather, it’s so important to be mindful of the 42 million Americans who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Ask guests to make a donation in advance of attending your gathering. If you have a Supper toolkit, make time for guests to read the statistics on the back of their name cards to start a conversation.