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Five Foolproof Tips for Your Holiday Party

2013 December 12


This weekend is sure to be filled with holiday celebrations big and small for many of you. Ours will be small(ish). We host an annual “cocktails and canapés” holiday party that is focused on eating a little, drinking a little more and being very merry. Here are my five tips to make sure your own gathering is memorable for all:

1) Stick to your comfort zone. The reason we host canapés and not dinner? It’s much easier on us and works well with the format of our smallish entertaining space. People can enjoy bite-size food and cocktails without any formality or fuss…and the prep feels just as easygoing. Only take on what you can handle.

2) Cue up a soundtrack for the evening. Nothing makes or breaks a party (in my opinion) like music. We like to create a playlist a few days in advance and mix in some holiday faves with other evergreen picks like Jay Z, Rod Stewart, Frank Sinatra and more. Make sure the list is long enough that it won’t repeat more than once throughout the night. Even great songs can get old on the third pass…here’s a good sample playlist to get you started.

3) Make some, buy some, barter some. I like to take the pressure off by prepping my menu (even for canapés) in advance and then dividing it into three sections: things I will make, things I will buy and things I will get others to make. Sometimes that means potluck, sometimes that means asking your mom for help or sometimes it means going to an expert (like I do with Debbie from Dessertville who makes all the desserts for my parties).

4) It’s all in the details. Buy fresh flowers in seasonal hues. Use candles everywhere. Lots of them. Votives are best because they can’t get knocked over and lighting one central scented candle is a nice touch (my favorite for the season is Merry) but no more or it becomes overpowering. Pick up some festive cocktail napkins (my faves are here) and some cute paper straws – Paper Source is a great place for both. Serve desserts adorned with sparklers. Pay attention to the little touches – they don’t need to be expensive, just thoughtful – that make the season bright.

5) Give a guest gift. Everyone knows about hostess gift etiquette but I love to give my guests a little something on their way out to thank them for coming to celebrate with us. Maybe a copy of the evening’s playlist. A personalized ornament for their tree. A bag of coffee from your local coffee shop for the next morning. Something small, sweet and seasonally chic.

And always have your Uber app handy in case anyone needs a ride home. Wishing you a joyful – and safe – holiday party season!

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Joan permalink
    December 13, 2013

    Great tips! Thanks!

  2. December 13, 2013

    Every party you’ve hosted has been such a thoughtful, delicious treat for all your guests.

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