We’ve rounded up the essential holiday party hosting tips to help you create and execute the jolliest holiday party of the season.
The holiday season has arrived! With it the promise of a fun-filled, exciting season of festive holiday parties, delicious food, and trendy cocktails. But what if you find yourself hosting your very first holiday party as a couple and you want to make the best impression? Or you’ve never hosted a party before but want to really knock the socks off of your special someone and all of your friends? Don’t stress – we can help!
Read on for a roundup of great tips and resources to help you host the best holiday party of the year:
- Invite guests at least two weeks in advance, even three to four weeks if you already have the date confirmed. We all know how busy the holiday season gets for everyone. Be sure to get on your guest’s dance card early in the season.
- Consider hosting your party “open house” style if you are inviting a large number of guests. This gives everyone a chance to chat and spend time together without feeling rushed.
- Create your guest list and menu, and be detailed! If you aren’t sure how much food to plan for the number of guests on your list, check out this handy post about how to feed a crowd.
- Cook ahead whenever possible. Make appetizers, cookies, or brownie bites ahead of time and freeze them. It will free up your time the day of the event so that you can put the finishing touches on the table or decorations. Create the perfect cheese plate, which can be assembled ahead of time but looks impressive on the appetizer table. Add a nice selection of different types and textures of cheeses, jams, grapes, and nuts. It assembles quickly but looks rich and appealing. If you want to broaden your appetizer arsenal with some easy, make-ahead choices, check out this Pinterest board.
- Serve a punch or set up a self-serve cocktail bar to free up your time for mingling during the party. You can also set up a festive hot chocolate bar. Offer cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, marshmallows, cinnamon for sprinkling, and fine liqueurs for the adults (Hazelnut Hot Chocolate? Yes, please!)
- Don’t spend your entire budget on expensive decorations from the craft store. Instead, opt for natural décor such as pinecones, evergreen branches, fresh fruit and candles. It will make a colorful display on the table and other areas of your home.
- Don’t forget the music! Set up a play list with classic holiday songs from different eras so that all generations will find a favorite on the list. Mix it up and add some of your favorite hip-hop, pop, and or rock songs so that you don’t end up singing along to Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer several times throughout the night.
Want to break out of the typical holiday party mode? Consider one of these great party ideas instead:
- Reverse holiday party – Everyone has heard of ‘Christmas in July’, so how about Beach Party in December? Beach balls, mojitos and margaritas, grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts take the place of snowballs and egg nog.
- Ugly Holiday Sweater Party – Round up your ugliest sweater and get ready to party. Vote for the best (worst?) sweater by secret ballot and award the winner with a trophy, ribbon, or new sweater.
- Holiday Song Karaoke Party – If you don’t already have a karaoke machine you can rent one, or simply round up some karaoke music on your smart phone and prepare to belt them out.
- Gingerbread House Decorating Party – Who says that decorating a gingerbread village is just for the kids? You can set a theme, such as Disco-Land or The Walking Elves, or turn it into a competition and give awards for Best Candy Curating, Most Creative, Best Use of Icing, etc.
Our best advice to you for hosting the perfect holiday party is just to have fun! Don’t overthink, your guests will be just as happy with the pre-made meat and cheese tray from the grocery store as they would be with a fancy charcuterie board. The most important thing you can do is simply welcome your guests warmly and share your time. More than anything – the holidays are for spending time together and having fun. Enjoy!