EXPLORE: Holiday party planning

Entertaining others isn’t always easy. Especially while operating within a budget, on a deadline or when you are doing the planning from out of town. To help alleviate the stress, consider the following local options to help prepare for guests.

Remove house clutter by donating to:
Many Hands Thrift Market
2900 S.E. Grimes Blvd., Grimes; 8801 University Ave., Clive
Help the people of Haiti and the local community by making space in your home by donating to Many Hands Thrift Market.

Offer fun-tasting food by: 
Cyd’s Catering
Johnston, Iowa
Spanish tapas? Hors d’oeuvres? Belgium waffles? No matter if your group is meeting for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, everything at Cyd’s Catering sounds good. Cyd’s Catering, established in 1994, is the Best Local Caterer in Des Moines, according to readers of CITYVIEW in its annual Best Of Des Moines poll.
*HINT: The Sopapilla Cheesecake Cups are melt-in-your mouth delicious.

Stock up the pantry with healthy food:
Campbell’s Nutrition
Multiple locations
Organic produce, fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meats from more than 40 Iowa-based suppliers, Campbell’s Nutrition offers the freshest and highest quality nutritional products to help “health nuts” be healthy.

Welcome them in style by sending:
Majestic Limo & Coach
Stretch limos. Big-time SUVs. Executive sedans. Party buses. Provide the highest level of service for your guests by allowing them to see the city in style with Majestic’s fleet of first-class rides.

Satiate every sweet tooth:
Chocolaterie Stam
2814 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines 
Milk chocolate, white chocolate, mocha chocolate, decadent chocolate, elegant chocolate. If chocolate equals happiness, then Chocolaterie Stam is situated somewhere very close to paradise. Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

Offer a little home-cooked history at
Living History Farms
11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale
It is almost impossible to avoid learning at Living History Farms (LHF) and its Historic Dinners. One fun option is reliving a dinner on the 1900 Farm. A horse-drawn wagon will carry you to the farmhouse, where the smell of freshly baked rolls and hot cider welcomes you. Enjoy a hearty homecooked meal by the warmth of the stove. Next is either a lantern-lit trip outside to the historic barn, built in 1889, or stay inside and read the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog and play a game of checkers. After dessert, bundle up for the wagon ride back to your car.... And the 21st century.

Make a private dining reservation at:
Chicago Speakeasy
1520 Euclid Ave., Des Moines
With a loaded menu with everything from prime rib to lobster to spaghetti and meatballs — not to mention an amazing salad bar — Chicago Speakeasy offers a private dining experience that can accommodate parties of up to 60 people.

Cash in at:
Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel
Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona
When it’s time to host without imperfection, assign the people who host the most people all year around. Prairie Meadows works to impress guests with its numerous versatile spaces and offerings that are unmatched elsewhere in the area. Slot machines, table games, sports wagering, No-Limit Texas Hold ’Em Tournaments, big-name entertainers, full-service dining amenities, and don’t forget... live horse racing, which begins in May and continues into September.