Between work deadlines, shopping for gifts and hosting out-of-town guests in your home, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of hosting a holiday party. With a little bit of forward planning and creativity, it’s easier than you think! Sometimes, it’s about thinking outside of the dinner party.
Holiday Cookie Swap
While you can host an exchange party of almost any sort, a simple cookie exchange is probably one of the easiest. With minimal preparation and leftover treats for the host, it’s a win-win for everybody!
For your main cookie display area, use a long rectangular table. This will help make sure there’s plenty of space for the delicious selection of cookies. Position the table in an uncluttered space for guests to have ample room to navigate their way around. It’s also a good idea to set up a serving table in a dedicated ‘to-go’ area. Here, guests can easily grab a box, baggy, or foil to wrap their cookies in.
Inevitably your guests will want to snack on some munchies while enjoying their festive catchup in your home. Position a large buffet table with light appetizers and refreshments somewhere accessible to everyone. Make it as easy as possible for guests to grab and go.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
A white elephant gift exchange is fun for all ages and an easy holiday party theme. As the host, you’ll want to open up your living space to allow for additional people in your home.
Arrange seating in a semi-circle shape so that everyone has a view of each other and of the gift display table, centered at the end. Accessorize the table with a festive garland or table runner. You’ll want to create an intimate atmosphere so that everyone can join in the fun from wherever they are positioned in the room. If you need additional seating, a spacious sectional sofa or a classic three-seater sofa are both great options.
Get the fun and festivities going by hosting a delicious holiday-themed brunch in your home. Create a delicious menu based off your favorite holiday recipes like apple cinnamon French toast, banana nut bread, quiche Lorraine or eggs benedict. Serve with matching place settings or eclectic holiday dishes to help set the mood.
Depending on the number of guests you are hosting, decide whether you want the group to gather in your kitchen or in your living room space. A rectangular dining table in your kitchen is an ideal choice for entertaining an intimate group of friends. For a larger gathering, try spreading a few pub-height tables with small bites and refreshments throughout your space, making it easy for guests to help themselves while they mingle. Make sure guests have plenty of comfortable sitting space to relax. For an extra touch, consider providing takeout boxes to guests so they can box up their delicious leftovers.
Holiday Cocktail Party
The end of the year presents so many good reasons to celebrate over cocktails. A great holiday cocktail party has a festive buzz – and not just from the drinks!
For the sake of simplicity, it’s best to limit your drinks selection to wine, beer and one cocktail, versus offering a full-blown bar. Prepare the cocktail ahead of time and set up a large pitcher to serve it from. For small to medium gatherings, consider setting up a “help yourself” station on a tall bar table. Keep this stocked with drinks, glasses, bottle openers, ice, lemon/lime wedges, appetizers, festive napkins and silverware. For larger parties, you may need to set up multiple stations dotted throughout your living and dining room areas.
Make an impression with sparkling candles, seasonal music, and a bountiful display of small bites and treats everyone will love. Be sure to set up a designated area or room for coats and handbags to avoid clutter.
No matter your budget, pulling together a holiday party can be relatively easy. Hosting the perfect holiday gathering is all about setting the right ambience and being prepared. It also helps if the host is relaxed (or at least appears to be) and is visibly having a good time. So, break out your favorite holiday decorations, turn up the holiday tunes, and start planning!