5 Tips for Throwing a Great Holiday Party

The Holidays have officially arrived and time is running out to plan your Christmas (or New Year’s Eve) Party!

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Hosting a holiday soiree can be so much fun, and we’re here to get you started with 5 Tips for Throwing a Great Holiday Party.

Determine your theme

This may be the most important step in preparing for any party because it sets the tone for everything else – from décor and music to menu and attire.

Your party invitation conveys the mood of your event to guests; this is true even for a Facebook Event cover photo. A design with a fun martini glass and quirky font is very different from one featuring a champagne glass and glittery polka dots.

We promise your guests will thank you for giving them an idea of what to expect – and how to dress for the party (think: Ugly Christmas Sweater versus sparkly cocktail dress).

Once your theme is set, consider your budget and how much will be allocated for décor, food and drinks, and any extras (like a bartender). Parties can cost as much – or as little – as you’d like, so set an amount and stick to it.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Preparation is absolutely key to throwing a successful party. You don’t want to answer the door with curlers still in your hair and an empty ice bucket. Of course there will always be last-minute touches, but prepping in advance means you can play hostess without fretting about stringing Christmas lights and making punch.

Use a Party Planning Checklist like this one to ensure you’re staying on track and not forgetting anything.

Don’t be afraid to move your furniture around so guests can move easily throughout your home (impromptu dance party, anyone?). While you don’t need a seat for everyone, it’s nice to cluster several chairs together so your guests can socialize with one another. Bonus points if you have a stash of folding chairs on-hand.

Also, determine where your guests’ coats will go before everyone arrives. An empty hall closet with hangers would be ideal, but a tidy bedroom works well, too. Just be sure to hide any unmentionables and turn on a lamp so your friends can find their way when they’re ready to leave.

What’s on the menu?

This part can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to – regardless of the size of your party.

Most often, guests will bring some type of beverage to the party. It may be a nice bottle of wine or their favorite small batch bourbon.

It’s safe bet to have red and white wines and one or two beer selections. You know your crowd best, so think about what they might enjoy.

If your budget is limited, consider making a large batch of holiday punch, and purchase boxed wine (we promise good boxed wines exist) and serve in a glass beverage dispenser. You can look fancy without blowing your budget.

Assuming you’re not throwing a dinner party, opt for easy snacks that can be eaten while having a conversation and holding a glass of wine in one hand. Don’t make your friends and family juggle their food and drinks.

A variety of cheeses and crackers are always a hit, along with bitesize sweet treats. Pair them with a fruit or veggie tray and cocktail meatballs. You can also set out several nice glass bowls filled with different candies.

Give your guests something to nosh on throughout the night without going into a food coma from a full plate of homecooked goodness.

Set the mood

Create a festive ambiance with scented candles, décor, and great music.

Walking into a home that smells like Christmas might just be the best feeling ever, so pick up some holiday-scented candles or simmer homemade potpourri on your stovetop.

Don’t overthink your décor. Invest in one or two statement pieces that can be used again, and complement them with festive plates and napkins. Plus, a decorated Christmas Tree deserves to be the center of attention.

Be sure to create a music playlist in advance or select a Holiday Station on Pandora to keep your party-goers energized for the entire evening. Decide if festive classical tunes or Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” fits your party best.

Enjoy yourself!

Don’t let the stress of party-planning overshadow the main goal of a party! Enjoy yourself!

You have surrounded yourself with (presumably) your favorite people, so now is your time to let loose and celebrate. Ring in the New Year or cheers to the fact that this “isn’t another boring office party.”

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