Gathering with dear friends and family during the holiday season often feels like a significant undertaking, requiring ironing of linens, shining of silver, and pulling out all the stops. When it comes down to it, though, the time together is the precious part —  the making of lasting memories, the genuine laughter, and the true fellowship.

There is most certainly a place for formal family meals and fancy dinner parties, but it is important to take time to entertain casually as well. Up for a bit of fun without a lot of fuss? Try one of these three easy-as-pie ideas on for size.

Idea 1 – Host a collective happy hour! Ask each guest to bring a wedge of amazing cheese, a favorite appetizer (store bought is perfectly acceptable but old family recipes or new Pinterest-inspired ideas work too!), or some other scrumptious nosh. Buy a few bottles of wine making sure to offer a few varieties to suit different tastes, toss out some cute cocktail napkins and small plates, and let the happiness begin!

Idea 2 – Proffer a Potluck! Close friends sharing a meal, each contributing something, is a perfect way to connect with others while keeping the work to a minimum. Coordinating the dishes is the hardest part, and even that can be simplified – assigning different guests to bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. The host provides the entrée and the drinks, and dinner is served!

Idea 3 – Drinks and Dessert! Everyone’s schedules are insanely busy, so inviting others for a quick evening of drinks and dessert is a fabulous way of spending time together within the hectic constraints of a family schedule. The key is to keep it simple – offer three different desserts, for example (and yes, they can come from the bakery or your own oven). For the drinks, keep it simple and offer a signature cocktail (possibly seasonal in theme) as well as a red and a white.

Casual autumn entertaining need not be stressful or complicated. Get some friends together around some food, and the fun will follow.