10 Helpful Holiday Party Ideas for the Host/ess
Attending holiday parties are on most people’s lists as one of their favorite things about the holidays. But hosting them? That’s another story! While it always sounds like a great idea, as the event approaches, you may feel all sorts of pressure—financial, social, and beyond. Before you know it, the well-meant invitation you extended to those you love becomes one you come to regret. Here are 10 tips to help you be the host(ess) with the most(est), and keep your planning stress-free!
Keep Organized with To-Do Lists
Creating a legendary holiday party means being prepared and creating a to-do list. Consider all of the subjects below, and make sure your list for each is complete. And delegate! Dole out a couple of tasks for select friends and family to handle for you to take some of the pressure off. They will feel more involved and will be happy to help!
Send Invites Early
Get those invites out early to ensure that you are the first to request the presence of your friends and family. Holiday calendars fill up fast! Especially the coveted Saturday nights. Opt for an online invitation service - saves trees and can keep you very organized with RSVPs and information.
Choose a Theme
Setting a theme for your party will show the guests that you’ve really put thought into the event. It can be very simple! Cranberries are very festive and can be woven into a cocktail punch, appetizers, and even decor.
Use What You Already Have in Your House
You probably have more than you think right in your own house. (Or backyard!) Before you spend a lot of your hard earned money on new decor, inventory what you have, then go for inexpensive additions to add a bit more flair! And it never hurts to ask close friends if they have decorations they aren’t using this year.
Don't Stretch Yourself Too Thin in the Kitchen
Even if you are a self-proclaimed chef, you don’t want to take on too much when it comes to cooking for your event. Make a couple of your signature dishes (even better if you can make them a day or two ahead of time!), but make your life easier and buy the rest. Don’t worry - everyone does it!
Arrange the Party Wisely
No matter what, your guests will end up gathering around the food. So think about your layout and set up food stations where you want your guests to socialize. For a good flow, place appetizers in different locations, forcing people to move around and mingle.
Create a Playlist
Your music will set the tone for the party. Traditional holiday favorites by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are always loved and give a vintage feel. For more of a pop party, base your Pandora station on Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. For an elegant evening, go with a holiday instrumental playlist. Just make sure if you want conversation to flow easily, don’t have the music too loud. Now if you want to get people dancing - that’s another story!
Party for a Good Cause
One of the best parts of the holidays? That giving spirit. Keep it front and center by turning your gathering into a donation event. Instead of doing a gift exchange, have your guests bring in an item for a local charity, animal shelter, food pantry or a local family in need. It’s a wonderful way to add to the warmth and joy of the season.
Take a Break From Playing Bartender
Mixing everyone a custom cocktail? No way! Mix up a champagne or tequila punch before the party starts, then set them out on a bar cart, along with a bucket of ice, cocktail napkins, and garnishes. Everyone will love the fact they can help themselves.
Let everyone know that the party is over (subtly, of course!). Turn on a light, blow the candles out, and lower the music. If no one is getting the hint use the tried and true method - start to clean up!
Make sure you have to go boxes to put out for guests to take home leftovers. Once everyone is gone, take out the trash and recycling so your house doesn’t smell when you wake up. Check for any spills or stains on furniture, but leave the heavy cleaning until tomorrow.
We can’t wait to hear about how your holiday parties go! This list should help keep you sane and ahead of schedule.
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