Throwing a holiday party you can enjoy, too!

17 Easy Holiday Party Tips

by Shaunna Privratsky


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Holiday parties are festive and fun and bring together friends and families. But hosting one can become a nightmare. From the decorations to the last goodbye, there are so many things that can go awry; it is enough to make you pull a Scrooge and order takeout the entire holiday season.

Put down that phone! Here are some easy holiday party tips for a perfect party that you can enjoy along with your guests.

  1. The first step is to make lists. Start a holiday notebook. Write down guest lists, a menu, shopping lists for food, decorations, and other party necessities. Being organized is half the battle.

  2. Simple equals stress-free. Keep it simple with a few well-planned dishes instead of tons of unusual or fussy foods.

  3. Keep your guests in mind when planning the menu. Ask about food allergies and preferences like vegetarian, low-cholesterol, or sugar-free diets.

  4. Bite-size is best for easy appetizers. If serving a dipping sauce, provide individual serving containers to avoid "double-dipping."

  5. Have ready at room temperature. If you don't want to be constantly running back to the kitchen to heat things up, serve at least half of the food at room temperature or rent food warmers.

  6. Preparation is key. Do as much as possible ahead of time. Decorate, set the tables, add extra seating, and cook ahead as many dishes as you can. Your night will go much smoother.

  7. Be generous. It is better to have too much food and beverages than not enough. You can always send leftovers with guests or freeze them for an impromptu gathering another time.

  8. Stick with the season. Fruits and vegetables in season are cheaper and fresher, so use them in your dishes and even decor for a festive look.


  9. The decor sets the theme of your party, but don't be overwhelmed. Simple ideas are votive candles tucked in pine branches nipped from a wreath or tree, a bowl of pinecones, or even elegant candles on a simple white or clear plate. Add extra bling with a gold doily or a bowl of bright Christmas ornaments.

  10. Invite them right. Be specific about appropriate dress, the extent of food and beverages, and the duration of the party. Setting these guidelines makes it easier for people to plan to have a wonderful time at your get together.

  11. Buffet style is best. It gives guests the freedom to help themselves and there is little for you to do other than to replenish the food. Bring full platters instead of just adding items to a half-empty plate.

  12. Make sure there is plenty to drink, whether it is alcoholic or not. Provide at least a few beverage choices for guests and plenty of glasses. Most liquor stores offer free ice with a purchase, so don't forget to stock up. Always provide safe rides home.

  13. Music puts people at ease and helps the conversation flow. Depending on the crowd, soft jazz or classical music competes less than other types of music. This will set the tone for the evening, so choose your music in advance.

  14. Fill your home with the scents of the season. Make a large pot of apple cider on the stove, complete with cinnamon sticks. Have mugs and a ladle ready.

  15. Add a drop of peppermint oil to a burning candle. The minty smell will permeate the place and add a touch of spice.

  16. Warm up a batch of gingerbread and add it to the buffet treats.

  17. Keep track of everything in your holiday notebook. Note what worked, what didn't, and ideas on doing things easier next time. Yes, I said next time.

With these tips, holiday hosting can be a wonderful experience. All it takes is organization, a plan, and the desire to spread cheer. Here's to your next hassle-free holiday party!

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