Tag Archives: holiday party

10 things you need to host a holiday party

Pulling off a holiday party at home is made easier by having a few basic things on hand to make your soiree stress free.

1. The list

The key to any successful event is to make lists of all the elements that will go into the party. Include all the food and beverages along with glassware, tables and chairs, etc. that need to be purchased, borrowed or brought out of storage.

2. A coat rack

Clear out a space for your guest’s to stash their coats and purses. If you have the room, a temporary coat rack will eliminate having jackets draped over your furniture during your event.

Portable coat rack
Bed, Bath and Beyond

3. All purpose wine glasses

Stemless, dishwasher safe glasses can serve double duty for both wine and cocktails. Keep the boxes and store the clean glasses in a dust free space so they are ready to go for your next party.

Stemless wine glasses
Luminarc

4. Festive paper products

Cocktail parties call for themed paper plates and napkins, making clean up a snap while creating a lovely setting. Use a larger luncheon size for the food table and cocktail napkins at the bar for drinks.

Christmas paper napkins
Caspari

5. An easy menu

Keep the menu simple with a variety of five or six items. Create a festive spread utilizing both store bought items and home made. Stock up on crackers and cookies so that if the food is running low you’ve got back up. Forgo serving anything that needs a fork opting for pick ups, dips, and veggies.

Mini beef wellington bites
Wiliams Sonoma

6. The punch bowl

Turn any type of clean vessel into a serving piece. No punch bowl, no problem since a soup tureen can hold a libation with a matching ladle too. Bonus: Having a batch of cocktails premade will make serving easier than making drinks individually.

White soup tureen
Pottery Barn

7. Serving pieces

Take inventory of your platters and trays, designating what they will hold ahead of time. Don’t forget your cake stands or tiered trays for creating various heights on the table.

White cake stand
Frontgate

8. Holiday decor

You don’t need expensive florist’s arrangement to create a holiday setting. Snip greenery from your yard and intermingle with pine cones, berry stems and flame less candles for an easy table top design.

Christmas decorations

9. Holiday tunes

Never underestimate the power of music. Besides providing background noise, Christmas music elevates everyone’s mood.

10. Trash cans

Make clean up easier on yourself by putting out plenty of trash cans for your guests to dump their used paper plates. Ditto on creating a dirty glass station with a tray near the kitchen.

Decorative serving tray
West Elm

Mr. H says: Tis the season to jingle and mingle-Enjoy!

Ten Holiday Entertaining Tips

Throwing a holiday get together doesn’t have to be stressful or feel improbable during this busy time of year.  Follow these ten no fail tips to host a memorable holiday gathering.

Traffic Flow

To avoid traffic jams, place the bar and the food in two different areas.  Spreading people throughout your home make for better mingling.   Create a plan for managing coats and wraps as well as gifts you may be receiving.

Easy on the Food

There is no need to go overboard on the types of foods you serve.  Having five or six items to choose from, mixing hot and cold, on a beautifully decorated table will make for an exceptional party.  Abundance is everything during the holidays, so be sure to have enough nibbles to satiate all your guests.

photo by Caroline Hernandez

Serve in Style

Eschew the paper plates and stock up on durable white melamine plates that go straight into the dishwasher.   Choose a neutral white color and cool shape so that they can be reused throughout the year.

Glassware too!

Riedel

There are economic sources for stocking up on multiples of bar ware, including Riedel stems, that can be reused time and again.  Save the boxes they come in for easier storage after the pieces are washed and dried.

Use Unscented Candles

Since scented candles mingle with other aromas, including food and your revelers perfume, use unscented candles in your holiday decor.   Keep candles in the center of the table or placed up high.  We don’t want guests catching on fire by reaching over an open flame or backing into a low placed pillar.

photo by Element5 Digital

Stock the bar

Anticipate that guests will consume two drinks apiece in the first hour, then an additional drink per hour for the party duration.   For a self serve bar, set out openers, glasses and plenty of napkins.  Check back frequently to ensure that the bar remains well supplied.

Craft a signature cocktail

Instead of a full bar, serve beer, wine and soft drinks along with one signature cocktail.  This tree beverage dispenser makes it extra special.

Try Santa Punch

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 qt. pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups blanco tequila
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 (750-ml.) bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool syrup completely (about 45 minutes)

Stir together pomegranate juice, next 3 ingredients, and simple syrup; chill 4 hours. Pour mixture into a punch bowl or dispenser, and gently stir in sparkling wine just before serving.

Tunes set the Mood

Every holiday party needs a good soundtrack.  Consider your music and the volume based on your guest list.  Conversation is what counts at any celebration, so be sensitive with your play list.

Keep it Cool

Even on the coldest of winter nights, a room full of guests can heat up quickly.  Keep your house cool prior the party turning up the heat only when guests refuse to shed their coats.   Instead of lighting the fireplace fill the hearth with a mix of  unscented candles.

Powder Room Prep

Have the powder room guest ready with pretty disposal hand towels, lovely soap and lotion, tissues and plenty of extra toilet paper within easy reach.

Frontgate

Mr. H says: Life is the best party you’ll ever be invited to-Enjoy!