The holidays are fast approaching, and for many people, (now that we can carefully reconvene with friends and family!) that means a social calendar brimming with holiday parties.
If you’re hosting this year, you’re probably looking for the best ways to make your party the event of the season. Here's how to make it happen.
Ready Your Space
It’s important that all of your guests are comfortable (duhh). Even if you have a small space, rearranging furniture and employing savvy organization practices can provide a spacious and easy environment.
Especially if you’re looking forward to a large gathering and/or lots of kiddos, move anything valuable or easily breakable out of the way. Next, make sure there are plenty of seating options. Keep a few folding chairs, cushions, or weight-bearing ottomans on hand so you can work them into your space if you end up with one too many plus-ones. Just be sure to keep walkways clear so everyone can move about comfortably (and safely!).
It also may be helpful to make a few different rooms available--not just the main dining area. This gives your guests space to break off into smaller groups and have more intimate conversations as desired.
Create A Stunning Table Setting
Your table setting is going to be the centerpiece of your entire party, so it’s worth spending extra time and energy to create something that will blow your guests away. We’re all about “measure twice, cut once” around here, so we recommend a few practice runs before the party, to give you time to perfect all the details.
Start by working out the logistics: make sure you have enough space for all of the food, plates, and silverware. (P.S. If there’s a chance you may end up with surprise guests, have a contingency plan for seating.) If you’re not working with a large dining room table, you might consider setting up the nibbles buffet-style, to minimize the amount of space that’s taken up by food.
The next step is to add holiday-specific decor, like winter plants and candles. It’s important to use small items so your guests can see each other across the table. Crafting your own place cards or centerpieces can add even more charm and style to your table setting.
One last tip: prepare as much of your food in advance as possible. This gives you more room for trial and error, and will also give you more time to relax with your guests without stressing about food.
Keep the Kids Happy
A party is only as convivial as the most upset child in attendance. That being the case, if you’re expecting little ones, it’s important to come up with some fun activities to keep them occupied and included in the merrymaking.
A great way to make children feel a part of things is to have them help with the holiday decor. This could mean adding stickers or other precious additions to place cards, making gingerbread houses for display, or stringing popcorn garlands!
If you’re wanting to keep the decor a grown-up endeavor, consider putting together a little craft station for the kids to exercise their creativity. To keep potential stress to a minimum, avoid mess-makers like paint or items that require supervision for some age groups (like scissors). Coloring books, crayons and markers, paper dolls, legos, and plenty of paper are a good start. Just make sure they have lots of space and are clear on the rules about drawing on the walls. 😉
Finally, if you have a separate room with a TV in it, you can also have a kid-friendly holiday movie marathon. This is a great option if you think the kids will get tired. There are many kid-friendly classics, so you’ll have plenty of options.
Be Prepared For Anything
No matter how good your intentions to think of and prepare for everything, parties almost never go off without a hitch. If you and your space are prepared to take on unexpected challenges, though, it is possible to quell them without disrupting the flow of the party.
One common party mishap? Spilled food and drinks. Make sure you have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand before the party starts, just in case. Red wine stains, for example, might feel like the end of the world, but they can often be removed with a mix of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. Other handy cleaning supplies include paper towels, Magic Erasers, wet wipes, and drain snakes or sticks.
With a little attention to detail and plenty of holiday spirit, you can throw an incredible party regardless of your space or budget.