Eat, drink and be merry. That’s what the holidays are all about, right? This makes December the perfect time to throw a festive bash. I usually throw a holiday party every year, but sadly I won’t be able to this year due to a pretty hectic travel schedule. Needless to say, I figured I might as well put together a few of my best hostess tips and ideas to share with you. Maybe they will inspire you to throw your own holiday party?
First let’s start with the basics…
Invitations. Figure out how many people you are willing to accommodate and send out invitations with at least two weeks notice. I’m a big fan of paperless invitations such as CocoDot.com and PaperlessPost.com. Going paperless is also the environmentally responsible thing to do.
Preparatory measures. If you host parties regularly, it’s worth investing in some simple glassware. We bought about 40 glasses from IKEA and use them every time we have a gathering at our home. They are far classier than plastic cups and less wasteful. I like to dress up basic glasses with striped straws or ribbons. Otherwise, I suggest stocking up on bamboo flatware and taking a cue from this glittery DIY.
Food. I love taking the best parts of childhood parties and translating them into a grown-up context. I usually like to serve finger foods. In fact, I found a cute idea online: Mini grilled cheeses with tomato soup. I bet these are a real crowd pleaser. Finger food is best because it minimizes dirty dishes and the pressure of timing a meal for a large group. Deli platters are usually a hit too. Go to your local deli and put together a nice meat and cheese platter. I always have the butcher slice the meat instead of buying the prepackaged kind because it looks and tastes so much better. If you’re not sure what to serve up in terms of sweets, I suggest setting up a self-serve s’more bar for dessert. It’s another childhood treat that most adults rarely indulge in. And what person isn’t happy with a s’more in hand?
Drinks. If you’re going to have a big group over, I recommend making a batch of cider punch in a punch bowl. In addition to a seasonal drink, I almost always serve a bowl of spiked lemonade as an alternative to the punch. It’s much easier than making one drink at a time and guests can easily serve themselves.
Now for the details…
Decor. Every party needs some sparkle. Try hanging strands of twinkling lights in each room. If was doing my party this year, I would probably make dozens of tissue garlands to stream throughout the house. I discovered these sweet garlands when I saw a member here on LaurenConrad.com post a DIY about it to her profile page. I loved her idea so much that I featured the member and her instructions in a blog post, DIY: Tissue Paper Garland. Another easy decoration idea is to fill groupings of glass vases with holiday candies such as candy canes and peppermint pinwheels.
Lighting. Sprinkle the house with candles. It creates a warm, inviting ambience. Place tea lights in mason jars for a lovely glow that’s both safe and beautiful.
Make space. Don’t forget to move extra furniture to the perimeter walls and provide for plenty of seating.
Music. To keep the mood upbeat and festive kick off the night by playing plenty of classic, fun holiday tunes such as “Santa Baby,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” and many more. As the night goes on transition to some fun dance music.
Remember. The key to being a good host is to be prepared, but to not get caught up in everything being perfect. You should enjoy your party. Drinks will spill, food will stain, and things will break… No party is perfect. The most important rule: Make sure you have plenty of food and drinks ready ahead of time and just have fun!
What’s on your holiday playlist?