It is getting so so close to the most wonderful time of the year! I absolutely love the holidays. I love that everyone is so cherry, I love giving gifts and I especially love getting together with friends and family. This time of the year is all about togetherness and celebrating so it only makes sense to throw a party! Being a hostess is no easy job. Decorating, feeding and keeping your guests entertained can be quite taxing. My friend Kaleigh from Lively Table (previously mentioned here) has joined me to share some tips on how to be the best holiday party host!
Anytime you are planning a party it is extremely important to determine your theme at the very beginning. Once you come up with a theme you then can begin to plan out the rest of the details. Everything from your invitations, food, music, and especially decorations will be based off of your theme.
I personally think that decorations can really enhance the feel of a party, especially a holiday party. From the moment you walk into the party, you notice the decorations and they create the mood. During the holidays, decorations evoke emotions of cheer and fellowship.
Christmas Tree | Tree Topper (From Michaels, Similar Style Here) | Ribbon (From Michaels, Similar Style Here) | Ornaments (From Michaels, Similar Style Here) | Tree Skirt, Old (Similar Style Here)
Table Runner | Tablecloth | Christmas Tree Plates
Merry Pillow | Nutcracker | Santa
For this get together, I chose to go with a rustic winter theme. I wanted to use lots of neutral tones with gold and silver accents in the decorations. Also, I wanted to bring in elements of wood and burlap to add a little texture.
Drinks. Arguably the other most important part of the party. At minimum, you should have a red and white wine, and a light and heavy beer. Champagne is also encouraged. An open bar is not advised unless you want people over until 4am and you have a clean-up crew the next morning. Also an unlimited budget helps for this option.
A specialty cocktail is nice to have but not required. Try this Apple Cider Sangria for a festive holiday cocktail.
Food is one of the most important things at your party. People always gravitate toward food, so if you want a holiday party to remember, make sure you have good food. If you aren’t hosting a dinner, make sure you at least have snacks. And no, not a veggie tray and cheddar cubes you bought at the store. How very elementary of you.
I recommend at least one meat-centered item, one veggie-centered item, and definitely something cheese-related for the savory foods. A charcuterie board makes it easy to not have to keep food hot, although meatballs are always a hit as well. For veggies, aim for a variety of colors and at least two types of dip. Or you could make a dip out of veggies, like my Hot Broccoli Dip. For the cheese, go with something sophisticated that combines fruit and a high quality cheese, like these Pear and Blue Crostini Bites.
As a side note: Have something for everyone. You will always have somebody who is vegetarian or gluten intolerant, or allergic to nuts. It’s nice to have something for everyone to eat. You don’t want hangry (or too drunk) guests .
Finally, dessert. People like sweet stuff. Have something sweet available. Like these Neiman Marcus Cookies.
Set up food in an open area. People like to hang out around the food table. If it’s somewhere open where people can walk around it, your flow will be much nicer and people can mingle much more easily. If your food is in a tight corner, your guests will end up playing an impromptu game of sardines. And trying to eat with T-rex arms. Not fun.
No one likes to be bored at party…well, at least I don’t! One sure-fire way to keep your guests from having a terrible time is to plan some entertainment. Whether you play a card game or create a dance floor, it is important to keep your guests smiling, laughing and having a good time.
For a holiday party, I think music is very important. It’s not really a holiday party without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” playing in the background. I love creating playlists and I’ve created one to share with y’all on 8tracks!
Another great way to keep the mood lively is to play a game! Last year during our annual girl’s white elephant party we played the game Heads Up! If you are a fan of the Ellen show, then you have seen her play this game with her guests. You can download it for your iPhone or iPad here. I’ve also found a similar app here that has more holiday categories. This game is so much fun and will keep your guests intrigued.
Hosting parties can get frustrating at times but always to remember to take a deep breath. Planning ahead will always be your best friend. If all else fails call a friend for help! Good drinks, yummy food, great decorations and fun games will always keep your guests having a great time! Do you have any great recipes or fun party games that are good for holiday parties? Share them in the comments below or shoot me an email!
xo, Jill and Kaleigh