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.
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