Learn how to host a successful holiday party with these easy tips. Plus discover fun food ideas and party favors to make your festive event one to remember!
How to Host a Holiday Party
There’s a lot of work that goes into hosting a holiday party. While the food and decorations are obvious, there are a lot of preparations that need to be made ahead of time.
Following is an easy guide to hosting a successful party for the holiday season.
Select a Date
The holiday season is incredibly busy for most folks. Therefore, you want to carefully choose the date to host your holiday party. Plan early so you have time to check with attendees and make sure they haven’t already made other arrangement for the date you have in mind.
Mail Out Invites
Rather than an impersonal text message, email, or a Facebook event, send out personal invites via snail mail. Minute Mail Gifts makes it easy to send handwritten cards. Choose a festive holiday card for your invites, then create a template so it’s quick and easy to send a card to each of your guests. You can even include a small gift with your card to help build on the excitement leading up to the day. Your cards and gifts are then mailed out within one business day.
When sending invites through the mail, we recommend you mail them so that they arrive at three weeks prior to the event, but no less than two weeks before. As people quickly make plans during this time of year, earlier is always better, and up to six weeks prior to the event is acceptable.
Pick a Party Theme
If you aren’t sure what to serve when you host a holiday party, pick a festive theme! This can help you narrow down ideas for both food and decorations. It can also add excitement to the event. Your theme can be something as simple as a color choices or food highlights.
If you are planning more of a celebration than a dinner party, choose a theme that encourages guests to participate. Host a tree trimming party, have an ugly sweater contest or throw a Secret Santa gift exchange.
Hosting a holiday party can be a huge undertaking. However, it doesn’t have to be daunting. We recommend that you ask for help if it all seems like a bit too much for one person to tackle. Enlist friends or family members to help with the planning. Or assign holiday sides or desserts they can bring to free up time you would otherwise spend in the kitchen.
Use What You Have on Hand
We tend to spend a lot of money throughout the holiday season, whether it’s on home décor or gifts. You can save money when hosting a holiday party by repurposing existing Christmas decorations into your party décor rather than buying new ones.
Don’t Skimp on Food
People love holiday parties. What they love most about these parties, however, is generally the food. Therefore, it’s always a good rule of thumb to overestimate the amount of food you’ll need to provide. It’s always better to have leftovers then to run out of food or drink mid-party.
If you’re concerned about having too many leftovers in the fridge after the celebration, then invest in inexpensive storage containers or take-out boxes. Then send guests home with the extras.
Not sure what to serve at your Christmas party? We offer some holiday ideas for party food below.
Set Up Food Stations
If you aren’t hosting a sit-down dinner, then we recommend you set up food and drink stations throughout the area. This not only encourages guests to move around and mingle, but it also keeps them from hovering in the kitchen.
Set up a designated area for appetizers or grazing platters as well as a separate dessert table. You can also create a hot chocolate bar for the kids. And, to save yourself from serving drinks all night, make the bar self-service with pre-made pitcher cocktails and a nice selection of wine.
After all, a good host doesn’t spend the entire evening hiding out in the kitchen! Self-serve food and drink stations make it easy for you to mingle and introduce guests to one another without feeling overwhelmed.
Create a Holiday Party Playlist
While the hope is that guests will interact and talk amongst themselves, it’s always nice to at least have festive music playing in the background. If you don’t subscribe to a commercial-free music service with holiday channels, create your own playlist for the party. Or drag out your old records and give the classic Christmas songs a spin.
If your party isn’t a formal event, providing games is a fun way to break up the monotony if conversation dwindles. Provide card or board games by coffee tables for interested parties. Or create a craft station to keep people busy decorating ornaments, icing cookies, or making handmade Christmas greeting cards.
Set Up a Photo Booth
While not a necessity, setting up a photo booth with props is always a hit. People love sharing their memories on social media. So, something as simple as providing a designated photo space with selfie props makes a nice addition to any holiday event.
Holiday Party Food Ideas
Now that you know how to plan and host your upcoming holiday party, you may be looking for party food ideas. Here are some of our top ideas for holiday food that you can serve at your next holiday or Christmas party.
Holiday Themed Party Food
While having a theme for your holiday party isn’t a necessity, it can make your seasonal celebrations more exciting! By including holiday themed party food, such as a Christmas charcuterie board or a hot chocolate bar, you can make your festivities even more memorable.
Homemade Holiday Party Favors
If you don’t plan to spend a lot of on gifts this holiday season, send your guests home with party favors instead. Homemade Christmas food gifts make the perfect for party favors for large groups of friends, family, and neighbors. Not only are they a thoughtful gesture, but they’re also an affordable option if you’re on a budget.
Following are our favorite choices for food gifts you can give your guests to take home:
These homemade food gifts are also great if you’re putting together a holiday gift basket with personalized kitchen gifts!
We hope this collection of ideas help you host the perfect holiday party. For more hosting help, be sure to check out helpful Thanksgiving tips and tricks for holiday dinner along with these Thanksgiving safety tips.
Also be sure to check our Christmas shopping tips to help you plan and prepare for gift giving this holiday season.
For even more great holiday ideas, follow us on Facebook or Instagram!
Learn how to make your Thanksgiving easier with these helpful tips for Thanksgiving. We’ve pulled together an epic collection of tips and tricks for hosting your holiday dinner. Discover our top recommendations for preparing, cooking, and carving your Thanksgiving Day turkey! And don’t forget to download and print our free Thanksgiving shopping list.
Hosting Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner
Preparation is the key to being a wonderful host. With advanced planning, you’re able to avoid mishaps and undue stress. So rather than feeling frazzled, you’re sure to be this year’s hostess with the mostess.
Put together a game plan.
Start with a game plan. If you’re hosting dinner, then menu preparation is a must. Create a tentative menu of what you’d like to serve. If your guests will also be bringing a dish, you can then make suggestions as to what to bring and mark off any excess from your own menu.
Prepare a guest list.
Write out your guest list and get a headcount early. This will help you to prepare your shopping list, so you know how much food to buy. While leftovers are common, you don’t want to buy more food than you and your guests can handle leftover in the fridge.
Double check for dietary restrictions.
When planning Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to check with guests to see if they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. This way, you can ensure there’s something that everyone can enjoy.
Make two shopping trips.
Make two shopping lists for the holiday to make sure you don’t forget anything or have to make unnecessary trips. We advise making two trips to the grocery store when stocking up on staples and recipe ingredients.
Buy your non-perishables early to avoid running around to multiple stores to find that sold out cranberry sauce. You’ll also want to pick up your frozen turkey at this time. (Not only do you want to make sure you get it while it’s available, but it will also take several days to thaw.) Then buy the remaining perishable items a few days before the holiday.
We created a handy, printable Thanksgiving shopping list to assist you. You can print and download two copies, one of each shopping trip.
Set the table ahead of time.
Not only should you set your table for Thanksgiving a day ahead, but you also need to double check to make sure you have enough platters, serving bowls and utensils for everyone who will be in attendance.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you have enough serving ware, inventory what you have at least a week ahead of time. This allows you ample time to purchase any pieces you are missing.
You’ll also want to make sure you have ample seating and table space for everyone that is attending. If not, see if you can borrow additional table and chairs from a friend, family member or neighbor who is attending.
Keep notes on recipes.
Take notes when cooking and preparing. This is especially important for those fall recipes that need to be tweaked and can save you time when baking next holiday season.
Plan for leftovers.
There are always leftovers. And you certainly don’t want to send you cousin, Martha, home with your favorite $10 glass storage container that you take to work every day. Therefore, invest in a set of disposable containers to make sure everyone gets to take their favorite dish home without having to worry about bringing it back.
Cook ahead where you can.
Make things easier and less stressful on Thanksgiving Day by cooking ahead. Sides dishes and desserts and easy to prepare a day or two before to free up time for guests on the big day. We recommend that you make these dishes in advance:
Things you should wait to prepare the day of include:
Provide appetizers for grazing.
Set out snacks and appetizers for guests that arrive early. This gives them something to nibble on while waiting on dinner. It also keeps people out of the kitchen while you finish up cooking tasks and make final preparations. A holiday charcuterie board is perfect if you don't want to cook any additional dishes.
Create a separate drink station.
Refrigerator space is precious. For this reason, you don’t want to tie up needed room with things like drinks. Instead, drag out your summer cooler and fill it with ice for storing cold beverages. This also gives guests room to add their own libations as they arrive. And it’s a handy way for them to grab ice without interrupting you in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving Tips for Preparing and Cooking the Turkey
For many of us, eating turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is a huge tradition. However, there’s a lot that goes into roasting a giant bird versus cooking an everyday family meal. Following are some tips for preparing, cooking and carving your Thanksgiving turkey to guarantee the best results.
Tackle Prep Ahead of Time
In addition, you can also save time by planning ahead. You need to prep your Thanksgiving turkey for roasting ahead of the holiday. This includes thawing and brining the turkey so it’s ready to go on Thanksgiving Day. Or you can make the compound butter for your poultry and store it for up to one week in the refrigerator.
If you plan to brine your turkey, you need to allow time to completely thaw it beforehand. Combine the thawed turkey and brine in a clean brining bag or large stock pan. Brine for 8 to 18 hours before roasting. Take care, however, not to exceed this timeframe as over-brining can lead to overly salty meat and a spongy texture.
In addition to the prepping the turkey to be cooked, you can also prepare the gravy ahead of the big day using low-sodium turkey, chicken, or vegetable broth. We like to add sweet onions, butter, flour, soy sauce and fresh herbs for flavor. Once made, you can freeze the gravy for up to three months. Simply thaw it overnight the day before your dinner. Then reheat over low heat, whisking occasionally to counteract any separation that may occur.
Allow Ample Time to Thaw Your Turkey
Allow plenty of time to thaw out your turkey prior to cooking. Otherwise, dinnertime will roll around and your main entrée will still be in the oven! The safest way to thaw your turkey is in your refrigerator. Just keep in mind that it takes a minimum of 24 hours for a 5 lb. turkey to thaw. Therefore, a large bird weighing 20 lbs. will need 4-5 days to completely defrost.
We advise against thawing a turkey at room temperature or in hot water as this can lead to bacterial growth and the potential for food borne illness.
Tips for Roasting Your Thanksgiving Turkey
The second most important part of Thanksgiving dinner (other than the quality time with loved ones!) is the main course. If you’re serving turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, then here are some tips for roasting the best Thanksgiving bird:
How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey
Before Thanksgiving Day, it’s a good idea to decide on who will carve the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll also want to be sure you have the right tools to get the job done. If you’re new to carving cooked birds, we have a great video (below) on how to carve your turkey for the holiday to avoid any mishaps.
Before you carve your turkey, tent the foil, and allow the bird to rest for at least 25 minutes before carving.
Once you’re ready to get started, use a very sharp knife or a carving set designed to handle the task. You want to remove the drumsticks first, followed by the thighs and then the wings. Finally, carve the breast into half-inch slices for serving.
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
Safety is another important consideration this time of year. Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is the top day for cooking fires in the US. Therefore, we rounded up precautions to take when cooking, traveling, and preparing food for your guests. You can avoid the most common mishaps that occur on this holiday by checking out our post filled with Thanksgiving Safety tips here.
We hope you find these tips for Thanksgiving useful! If there’s someone you know who loves to cook, then also be sure to check out LifeLong Gifts™ for a wonderful selection of personalized kitchen gifts you can give for the holidays.
Discover our top Thanksgiving safety tips for a happy and healthy holiday. This post covers precautions to take when cooking, traveling, and preparing food for your guests.
Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is a top day for cooking related fires in the home. There also tend to be a lot more kitchen and travel accidents this time of year. To help avoid turning your holiday upside-down with a mishap, we rounded up a collection of the best Thanksgiving safety tips. These tips are just a basic reminder of where you need to take extra precautions to keep you and your family safe. So, you can simply enjoy a well fed and happy holiday without incident!
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
When you think about Thanksgiving, staying safe likely isn’t something that automatically springs to mind. (Unless maybe you have relatives that terrify you every holiday for one reason or another.)
However, cooking fires are common this time year, with Thanksgiving being a peak day for cooking fires. Not only are more people spending time in the kitchen preparing for guests, but there are also a lot of folks who are making Thanksgiving dinner themselves for the very first time.
Therefore, in order to help you avoid any unanticipated surprises, as well as any potential disasters such as a kitchen fire, we’ve put together a list of our top Thanksgiving safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Cooking and Fire Safety
Food Safety Tips for Thanksgiving
Foodborne illness is never fun. Not only do we want to protect ourselves from getting sick unnecessarily, it’s also vital that we keep our pets in mind as well. Here are some simple rules to follow this Thanksgiving to ensure food safety.
Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips
Most of us travel for the holidays. Whether we’re visiting friends or family or need to make that last minute run to the grocery store, it’s important to be cautious and extra diligent on the holiday. Following are our best Thanksgiving safety tips to consider when you travel.
We hope you found our Thanksgiving safety tips helpful! For more ways to stay safe and help protect your friends, family and community, be sure to check out our emergency and safety tip magnets. These custom magnets can be personalized with your business information. So, they’re a great way to look out for your neighbor, while also staying in the forefront of your customers’ minds.
Learn how to make a memory box to mark important occasions in your life, or that of a loved one. Plus, explore our ideas on what to put inside a keepsake box to preserve your memories and important mementos for years to come.
How to Make a Memory Box
It’s easy to make a memory box for keepsakes related to a celebratory event, to mark a happy period in your life or to remember someone who has passed. Not only will this treasured box hold your memories and keep them safe, but it’s also a wonderful way to revisit these keepsakes later.
To create a memory box, all you need is a quality, wooden keepsake box and the materials you’d like to put inside. While you can purchase inexpensive boxes and then decorate them yourselves, we love the quality and personalization available with the keepsake boxes from Magnets USA.
These wood boxes are crafted from beautiful American Cherry or Walnut wood. Available in a variety of themes and designs, these boxes and can be professionally engraved as an elegant and easy way to store your most valued treasures, recipes, photographs, and mementos.
What to Put in a Keepsake Box
What you put in a keepsake box depends on the theme you settle on for your memories. In the end, however, it’s all up to you! This is your box! Therefore, you can fill it with anything that’s sentimental or meaningful to you.
We love curating our boxes with a theme in mind so that they tell a story. However, you can also slowly add elements that have personal meaning to your keepsake boxes over time.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together some great memory box ideas along with suggestions as to what to include inside. We hope you enjoy these ideas for keeping and passing down little treasures of your memories.
Memory Box Ideas
Need ideas for memory boxes? Whether you’re creating a keepsake box for yourself or giving one as a personalized gift, these themes are all great choices!
Memory Box Ideas for Baby
New moms will appreciate being the recipient of a memory box for their baby! After all, childhood passes by so quickly, it’s important to mark new milestones to preserve for when they’re grown. While parents will appreciate receiving a memory box for their child, it’s also something they’ll likely fill themselves over time to mark baby’s first year.
Common items to include in a keepsake box for a child include a lock of hair, newborn footprints, the hospital wristband, that first pair of baby booties, and physical photographs. You can also include a newspaper announcement from their birth, congratulation baby cards, or a coin from the year they were born.
As they grow, things can be added such as a first tooth, a favorite stuffed animal, awards or certificates, artwork, and school pictures.
Wedding Keepsake Box Ideas
Your wedding is a day to be remembered. As one of the most important days of your life, marking the occasion with a wedding keepsake box is a wonderful way to reflect back and share those treasured memories.
When making a memory box for your wedding, you can include any number of items from the date inside. Things like dried flowers from the bride’s bouquet or the groom’s boutonniere, the wedding cake topper, a garter belt, and a groom’s bowtie are all wonderful choices. You can also add a copy of the vows you wrote for one another along with a copy of your invitation or save-the-date cards or wedding cards you received from guests. Even a napkin or wedding favor make great additions.
Memory Box Ideas for Couples
Similar to a wedding memory box, you can also make one for your relationship. Take the time to have your most treasured photographs printed from your phone to put inside so they aren’t lost down the road. You can also include love letters you’ve written to one another, travel journals, and ticket stubs from memorable events.
In addition, you can also create a combination wedding/couples treasure box that highlights both trinkets from your wedding and your many adventures afterwards. Anything that highlights your love for another, including those honeymoon souvenirs, are fair game for a fascinating trip down memory lane later in life.
Travel Keepsake Box Ideas
Whether you took the trip of a lifetime across the world or simply took that big vacation to Disney, these are the types of memories you want to preserve forever. In addition to physical photographs of your journey, ticket stubs, maps and souvenirs are all easy adds. We also love the idea of including shells from a beach trip, as well as postcards or thimbles from the places you visited.
Memory Box Ideas for Graduation
Graduations, and other special occasions, are a big deal. Yearbooks alone often aren’t enough to hold all the memories of school friends and those noteworthy moments from high school or college.
Report cards or transcripts from senior year, awards or certificates, graduation cap or tassel, and photos are all great options for a college or high school memory box. And, of course, graduation cards you received from friends and family are another great addition.
Birthday Memory Box Ideas
Like graduation, birthdays are another great event to celebrate, especially for children as they grow. For a birthday memory box, we like to include tokens from the past year prior to the big day as well as items from your child’s actual birthday.
Therefore, you can put birthday cards and candles marking the occasion in a birthday memory box for a child. In addition, you can also add artwork they created or jewelry they recently grew out of, report cards, photographs of sports or activities they participated in – basically anything that’s special to the day or to your child as he or she has grown over the year.
Grief Memory Box Ideas
Whether you’ve lost a pet or a loved one, grief is hard. Keep the memories you have of that special person or pet alive with a memorial keepsake box.
For pets you can keep their collar and tag inside along with a favorite toy.
Otherwise, add your favorite mementos from the person you’ve lost. This could be letters and photos, their cherished trinkets or items, or even ticket stubs or their passport that reflect back on their travels and favorite pastimes. You can also tuck the funeral program inside the box along with dried funeral flowers, a printed copy of their obituary, sympathy cards, and any memorial gifts that you aren’t quite ready to process.
Anniversary Keepsake Box Ideas
Mark those memorable anniversary dates at 5, 10, 25 and 50 years together with an anniversary keepsake box! Wood is a traditional 5-year anniversary gift. Therefore, you can give an engraved keepsake box as a gift on its own to fill with treasures together.
A recent photo to mark the date is the perfect way to kick off this sentimental keepsake. You can also include photos or treasures from an anniversary trip or dinner out, anniversary cards you received from loved ones, a map of your city, photos of your home, love letters to one another remarking on the time you’ve spent together so far, a key to you home, pressed flowers or even a mixed CD of your favorite songs as a couple.
Other Ways to Use Small Wood Boxes
Our personalized wooden keepsake boxes can be used for more than just making a memory box. You can also use them for storage and organization. Here are some of our top ways to use our wood engraved boxes in your home.
To celebrate World Kindness Day, we’re kicking off a November writing challenge! Our goal is to help you connect with the people in your community and bring a little bit of joy to their day. For this, we’re asking that you simply send note cards to five or more people this month.
Remind friends, family, and neighbors that you appreciate they are a part of your life. Or contact local businesses or staff to let them know they’re doing a great job! It’s amazing how infectious kindness can be when you take just a few minutes out of your day to show your gratitude. It’s also a great way to way to scrub out any lingering negativity that may be affecting your own mental health.
What Is World Kindness Day?
World Kindness Day is November 13th. This annual international holiday was formed in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement to help promote kindness throughout the world.
The purpose of this holiday isn’t just a reminder to be kind to one another and act with compassion in our daily lives. It’s also an opportunity to grow closer to our fellow man and community at large through understanding and thoughtfulness.
November Writing Challenge
For our November writing challenge, we want to inspire you to write and send out note cards to the people in your life who matter but may not always get the recognition they deserve. So, whether it’s your child’s teacher, a cashier at your favorite shop, or a neighbor who keeps an eye out when you’re out of town, now is the perfect time to show your gratitude and bring a smile to their face.
As the month of November is typically a time we express gratitude, we thought this would be the perfect occasion to kickstart a writing challenge. It not only ties in perfectly with World Kindness Day, but Thanksgiving as well.
To participate in this challenge, we want you to inspire you to send out five handwritten note cards this month. That’s just one note card per week. Of course, you can send more if you like! We find that once you get into the habit or writing and sending cards, it’s hard to stop. After all, the joy recipients get from receiving greeting cards is truly inspirational.
While writing personalized note cards may seem like a small gesture, it can have a huge impact on someone’s life. It’s also a wonderful break for the constant onslaught of daily junk mail and bills.
Now that you’ve been challenged with a writing goal for November, you may be wondering how to get started. Not to worry, we have you covered! Keep reading to find the tools you need for success, including:
What to Expect from This Note Card Writing Challenge
This note card writing challenging is all about spreading kindness! Not only will sending handwritten cards lift up those in your community, but it can also have a positive impact on your own mental health.
When you care kind to others, you can expect the following health benefits as a result:
When Is a Good Time to Write Cards?
Today is a great time to write cards! Whether you’re sending a thank you card or just reminding someone that you’re here for them, it’s never too late to pop a note in the mail.
However, it is best to not feel rushed when creating handwritten note cards. Therefore, we suggest you choose a time when you aren’t busy. Start by creating a list of people you’d like to mail greeting cards to and why. Once you have your list, set aside 5 minutes once a week to write a thoughtful note to at least one person on that list.
Who Should I Send Cards To?
Friends and family are obvious choices when deciding who to send out cards to. Nonetheless, there are so many other options to spread kindness. Following is a list of just a few of the many people you can send a custom greeting card:
Printable Address List
Most of us don’t have physical address books anymore. With contacts saved digitally, they often aren’t top-of-mind. Therefore, we created a printable address list to make participating in this writing challenge even easier.
Not only will this printable address list help you plan who you want to write note cards to, it will also make it easier when it comes time to address and send your cards. You can also mark the date you mailed the card, so you can remember to follow up.
Download our printable address list here.
Once you’ve printed the list, choose five people to connect with to start. Then add to the list as you have time to think about the people in your life, who you’re appreciative of, and those who would benefit from receiving a smile in their mailbox.
Where to Buy Custom Note Cards
If you don’t want to exhaust your time at the store shopping for greeting cards, then consider buying your note cards in bulk.
Magnets USA® sells a full line of premium personalized note cards to help you tackling any writing challenge you set for yourself. Featuring our luxurious, signature PLUSH™ finish, our colorful lineup of personalized note cards highlights more than 200 original designs perfect for every occasion.
Explore our collection of flat note cards, folded note cards, and house-shaped cards today. Then send cards and spread the love!