My rule in the kitchen? Stay ahead of the mess. It is also is a good way to go through life in general and certainly a way to keep your head above water at parties. A few tips on how to stay ahead of the chaos when it comes to holiday parties.
Bathtub ice bucket – if you have a lot of wine (bubbly, whites) to chill but no good ice bucket, use your bathtub! Throw in a few bags of ice and some water and you have a built in ice bucket. Just try to use a bathroom that is not also for the guests!
Screw cap wines or pre-open the bottles – There are three people looking for wine to pour and only empty bottles and no one can find the wine key. This is when I love screw cap wines. No wasting time looking for a corkscrew or cutting yourself on foil while you hastily open the bottle. If you do have cork-finished wines, open a good amount of them before the party so that all you have to do is pull out the cork and pour. There should never be a line for wine.
Wash your glassware in the morning – Perhaps this goes against the “stay ahead of the mess” rule, but to preserve more stems and break less bowls, wait till you have a clear head and lots of patience and room to wash those glasses. Feel free to rinse them that evening, but when it comes to the good wash, save them all for morning. I promise you less casualties.