The holiday season is upon us, which means time for celebrating good times with friends, family and of course, delicious food.
Whether you always look forward to serving as the hostess of your holiday get-togethers or seem to somehow find yourself in the role, planning a party can be stressful. But did you know that whipping up a great party can actually be easier than you might think?
If you’re one to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram dreaming over the holiday dinner parties of others, focus on making your holiday party your own. If you’ve got the willingness to host, you’re already one step closer to planning a party your guests won’t soon forget.
To help get you started on your holiday party planning endeavors, here we share a quick guide that maps out some important things to keep in mind as you plan.
Let’s start with perhaps the most important component of a holiday party - the food. The holidays are the perfect time to try out a new, fun recipe using ingredients you know and love. Planning a menu can often initially be stressful, particularly if you have guests who have specific dietary restrictions.
But, by planning a variety of dishes, as well as using ingredients like oil and vinegar that are suitable for most diets, you’ll be sure to have something delicious for all. Set up the party food as buffet-style rather than a formal sit-down dinner so guests can pick the foods they can and want to eat. It doesn’t feel good for your guest or the host to have a full plate of uneaten food.
Wondering what dishes you should make to be crowd-pleasers? Check out this list of simple yet delicious holiday apps for your next party. Try this pear crostini or lobster crepes with butternut squash puree. Whatever your style of cooking, there are apps and snacks you can craft quickly and easily for your next get-together.
Once you have the perfect menu set, you want to be sure people will have something to eat with. Choose to use your everyday forks, your fine stainless steel or plastic and disposable. While using reusable silverware and plates can provide a more homey, formal appearance, sometimes going disposable is just easier.
Whichever route you go, know that the quality of your party does not depend on the type of cutlery and plates you use. Rather, it’s the overall experience and joy you cultivate for your guests. Of all the things to worry about in planning a party, choosing the right utensils, plates and napkins should rank low on your list.
When planning a party, there’s often a lot to be done right as the festivities begin. To help ease your schedule, do as much prep work as you can for both the food and overall set-up. Chop up the veggies you’re using. Arrange the charcuterie board and keep it in the fridge. Put out the plates, napkins and cutlery.
A lot of these tasks you can do hours or even days before your party. Plan ahead and prep for a successful party by spacing out your tasks over time.
Show appreciation to your guests or bring them a spark of delight with a small and inexpensive party favor for them to take home. A small bag of candy, an inexpensive toy for the kids or any other small item can be a great way to add excitement to your party and bring joy to your guests.
Elevate the holiday experience by adding decorations to the tables and rooms where you’ll enjoy each other’s company. Given the time of year, you may already have your house decorated for the season. Add a few specific items to your tables as well to amp up the festive decor. String lights and candles can be a quick and easy addition to your dining room. Add a few candles for an evening party to add to the coziness of your space. Place paper ornaments by each place setting for guests to write their name or something they’re thankful for.
Find a holiday-themed game or two to add delight to your guests’ experience. From Christmas jeopardy to a gift unwrapping game to secret santa, adding in a fun activity for kids, adults or for all can amp up the excitement of your holiday get-together. Plan as big or small of an activity as you want, based on who you’re bringing over and how big of a group you have.
Planning a holiday get-together for friends or family doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be a fun chance to try new recipes, decorate your space and bring delight to your guests. Through all the prep and running of your party, be sure to enjoy yourself as well, as celebrating the season is perhaps the most important task. Don’t sweat it if your crostinis are a little crispy or if your twinkling lights have stopped twinkling. Enjoy the experience with those you love, no matter how perfect the party.
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