Tips 'n Tricks — November 17, 2014 at 5:00 am

How To Throw The Ultimate Holiday Party

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©istockphoto/shironosov

©istockphoto/shironosov

There’s no question about it, holiday parties are half the reason the winter months are so much fun. What better way to warm up than by mixing and mingling, drink in hand, celebrating all the joys of the season? Make your party stand out from the others by ensuring that your space is ready to accommodate the crowds.  Multi-use pieces of furniture ensure that there’s plenty of spots to feature your fabulous food and with some creative seating options, everyone will feel welcomed and willing to party well into the wee hours of the night. Read on for our guide to laying the groundwork for the ultimate holiday party this season.

Create A Party Vision
Before you start drafting invitations, you need to determine what kind of party you plan on hosting. Do you want a laid back get together with an easy buffet or do you envision a cocktail affair with canapés and cocktails? Once you’ve decided on a general idea, it’ll be much easier to move on to the planning stages

Set a Guest List
Now it’s time to decide who you want to be present at the party of the century (we’re talking about yours, of course). If you’re limiting the guest list to a certain crowd, work friends, for instance, it shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re welcoming a broader group, think about dynamics and how you anticipate interactions to go down. Try to include a variety of personality types as they’ll keep energy levels high.

Send Your Invitations
While it’s easy and convenient to email people, there’s something to be said about old fashioned letter mail. Everyone loves receiving a proper invitation, especially when it’s to something as fun as a holiday party. If you don’t have the time to put pen to paper, make sure you follow up your email with a phone call. That way, people are more likely to commit and actually follow through. Aim to get your invitations out at least 3 weeks prior to the party date.

Plan Your Menu
The last thing any host wants to do on the day of their party is spend hours in the kitchen. Even worse? Having to man the stove after the guests have started to arrive. Plan a menu that can be prepared ahead of time and requires minimal effort to assemble on the day of. Think cheese and charcuterie boards, freezable appetizers, crock-pot meatballs, and an assortment of tasty dips and spreads. As for drinks, offer up a selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to suit everyone’s needs. Keep it easy with a few bottles of wine and some beer or try your hand at a few signature cocktails. Mulled cider and eggnog are always a hit.

Map Out Your Space
It’s important to take your party space into consideration when organizing your event. If you have an open concept living area with tons of seating, things might be easier than if you’re dealing with limited square footage and not as much room to perch. This is when you want to look into furniture that can pull double duty like an ottoman that will make an excellent chair to pub tables that work as well as serving stations as they do for eating at.

Decorate
Whether you’re embracing your inner Martha Stewart or feel overwhelmed at the thought of anything more elaborate than a festive garland, you need to set the stage for your gathering. Keep things simple by sticking to a simple theme or color scheme and don’t worry too much about the details. A vase of ornaments, a couple of strings of lights, or some bouquets of fresh cut greenery are easy, elegant, and pack a festive punch. Chances are your guests will be so focused on the food and each other that they won’t notice if you forgot to put out your holiday themed hand towels.

Have Fun
The best parties are the ones where the host is having as much fun as the guests are. People are attending your party because they genuinely want to be there and they want you to be relaxed and happy too. By keeping things simple and not sweating the small stuff, you’ll be able to focus on the real reason for the party season: spending time with those you care about and soaking up a whole lot of holiday cheer.

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