It’s almost that time of the year again when we are gearing up to throw Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year eve parties. Planning and hosting holiday parties is a great way of bonding with friends, family and neighbors.
Naturally, there are some challenges you tend to face but with my top tips for hosting holiday parties, there is no reason why your annual event/s won’t be talked about for days, even weeks, to come.
General tips for hosting holiday parties
- I always recommend taking a look back at previous holidays and writing down aspects that were or weren’t a success. Reading these later will help you a great deal the next time you entertain.
- If you are having a menu with limited courses alongside a huge guest list, always lay out the food in buffet style.
- Include a time schedule and a checklist so that you do not forget anything.
- I like to cook in advance as it helps me relax and enjoy with my guests.
- A recent survey actually showed that 62% hosts encourage their guests to bring a dish. A potluck party is a fantastic option to relieve stress of holiday parties.
- Do not forget to arrange for a coat rack. If needed, get an extra one on rent. There is nothing more irritating for guests than not having a designated place to keep coats, hats and scarves. I especially dislike having to ask guests to pile everything up on the bed or sofa.
- A large platter, tray or plate can hold out the main course. This is a fantastic way of reducing cleanup later.
- If your regular bar is small, arrange glasses and drinks on a convenient counter near the seating area.
- Always arrange non-alcoholic beverages alongside the regular alcoholic drinks.
- Traditional holiday parties can be given a modern twist with “make-a- pizza” party. This is a wonderful way for guests to bring out their creative sides.
- I love serving dry appetizers before meals as they are better for stimulating appetites than serving sweet drinks.
- Store drinks and other stuff in bathtubs filled with ice in case your refrigerator runs out of space.
- This is a clever way of making your room smell good during holiday parties: apply some perfume or fragrant essential oil on the cool bulb of a lamp in the room you are entertaining in. Later, as the bulb starts to heat up, the sweet scent will permeate in the room.
- To make candles burn longer and not drip and create a mess, refrigerate them for a few hours before lighting them up for a party.
Fun holiday party ideas and themes
- Healthy holiday parties-Instead of candy and sugary foods encourage dishes with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Focus on whole grains instead of refined foods. Use low fat dressings.
- White Holiday party for Christmas-Have all white themed food like white cupcakes, white cookies and other white Christmassy edible food. Cover the table with white table cloth. Mashed potatoes, white rice, cauliflower gratin etc are some food items that are perfect for white Christmas party. Some popular white Christmas drinks include Champagne, Pina Colada with cinnamon, Eggnog, white hot chocolate with whipped cream and so on. For a white décor, arrange white candles in varying shapes, sizes and fragrances all around the room. Use silver cutlery and have a white frosted tree adorned with tiny white lights.
- Games and activities– If you are having a large party arrange for fun games and activities like singing competitions, making a Gingerbread house competition with a timer or even the ‘best dressed couple’ competition etc. Play some music in the background and hire a DJ if your budget permits.
- Gifts– No holiday party is complete without gifts. So arrange for tiny gifts and favors gifted using practical baskets or bags. This will make your gift doubly useful. Glue on dried leaves and flowers instead of traditional ribbons to make your holiday gifts more attractive.
- Parties that encourage neighborliness– Make holiday parties with neighbors an annual event. I especially love the cookie exchange parties as they help you bond with neighbors over cookies. Simply ask friends and neighbors to bring their favorite cookies alongside regular food. If you are not too fond of sweets, swap cookies with savory snacks (cheese galore!)..
- Karaoke party-Hit up a karaoke bar or invest in a home karaoke set. Play a complete Christmas playlist all night. Caroling parties are fun too!
- Ugly sweater party– This one is a classic-everyone has an ugly sweater in the closet and now is the right time to bring it out.
- Pet party– If you and your circle of friends are pet lovers, this is a wonderful way to get pets involved in the fun. Dress your pets up and have photo sessions. These will make for some excellent holiday pictures and cards.
Armed with these ideas and tips for hosting holiday parties, make your annual event fun, exciting and highly talked about!