Looking to host a holiday party this December? Whether you’re hoping to gather all your friends and family for an epic holiday feast, or simply seek to entertain a smaller crowd this holiday season, here are 6 tips to help you host the perfect holiday party this winter.
#1 Planning Makes Perfect
So you’ve decided to throw a party this holiday season, but what kind of party will it be? Will it be an elegant affair like a cocktail party or a fancy dinner? A college house party with a fridge full of drinks? A family get-together with all your cousins, aunts and uncles? Or something more daring, like an ice fishing trip up to Maine? When it comes to holiday parties, the word “perfect” means something different to everyone—but if there’s one common denominator, it’s spending the season with the people you love. Pick a date, send out your invitations early, and plan accordingly. It’s the holidays, so get creative, take a trip to your local craft store and send handcrafted holiday invitations. Remember to also use social media to help get the word out.
#2 Pick a Menu
Once you have a better idea of potential holiday party attendees, it’s time to take into consideration things like allergies, food preferences, and whether or not there will be kids at the event. If you’ve already put into practice our 5 Tips to Become a Master Baker this Fall or dabbled with some of our apple themed recipes, you’re already ahead of the game—many fall treats like apple pie or entrees and sides from Thanksgiving carry over well into the winter. But if you’re looking for some holiday centric fare, keep reading—our next couple of tips will help you prepare the essential food and drink that will make your holiday party shine.
#3 Decorate the Halls
You can’t call it a true holiday party without holiday decorations. Harken back to the good old days, when you were in elementary school and you learned about seasonal colors—red, green and white dominate the color palate of this time of year. Stick to these colors when picking out tablecloths, napkins, plates, cups and utensils. Consider lining the windows with brilliant red poinsettia, hanging stockings over the fireplace, a reef to greet guests at the door and a holiday tree standing tall, laced with lights, tinsel and ornaments. It’s all about setting the right ambiance for the holidays.
#4 Holiday Treats make Great Appetizers
The cold weather tends to bring out everyone’s sweet tooth, and that’s why we often associate the holidays with cookies, candies and cakes. Consider adorning your holiday platter with some Christmas cookies, sufganiyot and gingerbread men. Mini holiday themed cupcakes, coconut snowmen and strawberry fruit tarts will all help set the holiday mood. On the savory side, offer an assortment of fine cheeses, crackers and cured meats. You can get creative with hor’dourves like these cream cheese and olive penguins.
#5 Set Up a Cocktail Bar (or Mocktail)
There’s nothing like a nice tall glass of eggnog to get your guests in the holiday spirit. Set up a self-serve cocktail bar off to the side so that people can help themselves to seasonal beers, spirits or cider. If there will be a significant number of kids at the event, it definitely helps to cordon off the adult beverages on a different side of the room. Consider setting up a mocktail bar for the kids, complete with non-alcoholic cider, eggnog and other holiday themed drinks. Since it’s the holidays, also be sure to serve plenty of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows or hot cider seasoned with cinnamon. Red wines, white wines and soda are also welcome additions to any party.
#6 Holiday Entrees
When it comes to holiday dinner parties, it’s all about roasted poultry, slow cooked meats, and hearty soups. Meals taste best when prepared with the freshest of ingredients, so consider seasonal favorites for vegetables and fruits you’ll utilize in your meals—sweet potatoes, squashes, brussel sprouts, spinach, leeks and cabbage. For meats, roast turkey is still in vogue long after thanksgiving, it’s the traditional choice for the centerpiece of the table, but also consider firing up some steaks, a holiday ham or some Irish bangers and mash which all go great on cold winter days.