No matter what you celebrate, holiday parties are a chance to get together and enjoy the season and end of the year as a whole.
Just as with any party, however, a degree of planning is involved. To make an impression, keep your guests interested and get them coming back year after year, make a list with the following:
Select a Date
During the holiday season, everyone holds a holiday party at some point — maybe a week after Thanksgiving to around Christmas and eventually as a buildup to a New Year’s celebration. The typical individual may be juggling multiple dates from friends, family and work, and if you’ll be hosting your own festivities — and want them to be there — you’ve got to give your guests at least two weeks’ time. More notice is better!
So, toward the beginning of December, pick out a date and time, then send out your invites by email or over social media, depending upon your circle. This gives your guests a buffer to check their schedule and respond, helping you get a clear head count.
Add a Theme
Holiday party themes run the gamut from classic — with garlands and wreaths decking out your home — to more modern ugly sweater parties, where everyone shows up in something retro and intentionally tacky. Select a theme when you choose the date, as this lets you coordinate your decorations, menu and activities and inform your guests if they should dress up or bring a dish of their own.
Plan Your Menu
Unless you’re doing a strictly potluck-style Christmas party, where everyone brings a meal, appetizer or dessert, you’ll want to have a menu planned out.
Generally, a grazing-style menu is preferred over a formal meal for a Christmas party. So, think of self-serve items that will please a crowd for food, from pasta dishes to cheese and fruit platters, sandwiches, pizza and wings, and make your theme shine among your desserts.
On this note, account for some variety across tastes and preferences. Whatever you make should be large enough to feed all of your guests with some leftovers available. Consider having a mix of appetizer- and dip-style foods with a few meal choices, and provide plates and utensils for serving and eating.
If you do expect to have some leftovers, have a few takeout containers ready for guests to bring their favorite foods and desserts home with them.
Opt for a Self-Service Bar
Unless you’re having a more upscale party, make the bar self-service. However, you don’t want to present too many choices. Beyond soft drinks, consider offering a few beers, in bottles or cans for easy opening and serving, a few pre-made cocktails and a couple of bottles of wine.
Create a Playlist
Music sets the mood, and for a holiday party, that’ll be festive and joyous. Whether you prefer the classics, modern interpretations or want to mix traditional holiday fare in with the rest of your record collection, have all tracks ready to go before guests arrive.
Plan a Few Activities
Especially if adults will be bringing their kids and teens, there’s a chance the younger partygoers might get bored. While the adults stand and chat, offer a few activities, be it holiday-themed games or building gingerbread houses or ornaments.
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