12/21/2012 03:01 pm ET | Updated Feb 20, 2013

The Dos and Don'ts Of Entertaining Drop-In Guests

We know, we know: holidays are a time for family and friends. Which means that family and friends, somehow, are always popping over -- and, of course, are always hungry. We've compiled a list of the dos and don'ts of entertaining those unexpected guests (the ones that drop in, seemingly, out of nowhere) to ensure everyone feels welcome -- and is well-fed.

• Take a slow afternoon or evening to whip up a few snacks that will keep through the holidays.
• Serve your snack of choice on a nice plate or platter -- it makes it seem even more gracious.
• Keep your fridge stocked with olives, cheese, and other snack-able items that have multiple uses (and that you'd gladly eat as leftovers).
• If you're spending lots of time in the kitchen, try to clean as you go; this will prevent any scary piles of dishes in the wake of unexpected company.

• Panic! Take a drop-in visit as part of the holidays, and embrace it.
• Try to hastily whip up a full meal for your guest. If you're stressed and busy, it defeats the purpose of a visit.
• Leave your guests while you run out for provisions. They came to see you and will understand if you fix them a snack from what's on hand in the pantry.

All the recipes below are from our recently-updated Food52 Holiday Recipe and Survival Guide.

More from FOOD52
• See our favorite festive party snack, Orange-Blossom Candied Cranberries.
• Check out the perfect make-ahead breakfast, Orange-Scented Olive Oil Sticky Buns.
• Got a question in the kitchen? The Food52 Hotline is here to help!

The Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining Drop-In Guests

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The Food52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide

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