We’re fast approaching the winter holidays, and the good cheer is by no means in short supply! We know that the best way to spread that holiday cheer is to throw an unforgettable holiday bash, which inspired us to lay out our party throwing expertise for your festively fab benefit! If you’ve been keeping up with us the past couple weeks, you’ve seen us go over getting started, invitations, design, and decorations. But we’ve saved the best for last… food, drink, and fun! So without further adieu, here’s the final piece of throwing the perfect winter soiree!
Good Eats & Treats
The key to festive eats sure to impress is to have variety, while keeping things simple as possible. Maintain a balance of hot and cold, sweet and savory, meat and meatless. Keep things bite size if possible (dinner parties exempt), otherwise you’ll find guests overlooking dishes you’ve spent the day slaving over simply because it’s not convenient… Think grazing. Some guests may have diet restrictions, so be sure to provide variety with that in mind. Guests should be able to eat at least half of the options provided.
Get Your Drink On
Keep things merry, but easy. Unless you’re hiring someone to work a full bar, offer 2-3 staple cocktails and no more. You can get fancy with a couple mixed drinks, but cider, mulled wine, and eggnog are tried and true traditional favorites! Be sure beverages have varying alcohol bases, and just like your good eats, keep the hot and cold balance present. Leave the beer & wine for guests to bring.
The most important thing to remember for prep is that you don’t want to miss out on your own party. For food, have every dish ready and waiting to go in the oven before guest arrival. That way, you are free to pop in and out of the kitchen as needed, as opposed to being a prisoner in front of the stove while guests wait awkwardly. Choose one or two dishes that can be made and served in a crock pot (slow cookers are a party host’s best friend). For drinks, make things in bulk before arrival, if possible. Put the cider on simmer, punchbowl on the table, and lay out a couple bites to eat.
Ready for Arrival
When all refreshments are prepped, get ready for showtime! Light candles, turn on some holly jolly tunes, switch on tree lights, etc. When guests arrive, you don’t want anyone to feel like “I’m the first one here.” They should feel at home, not awkward. It’s helpful to get a “partner in crime” (i.e. husband, wife, best friend, significant other) to be the entertainment buffer while you’re in and out of the kitchen, as well as to help introduce guests to each other.
And a Little Activity
After the mingling, tasting, sipping, and merrymaking have each had their time, you may choose to have a holiday related activity. Timing is everything, because you want to do this early enough that guests won’t be twiddling their thumbs waiting to begin, but late enough that most guests have arrived and had plenty of time to enjoy refreshments. We recommend having only one activity at a holiday gathering.
And that’s about it! Although the holidays can be stressful, the celebrations don’t have to be. Our one last tip to all you party hosts out there is something so important that we’ve found to be true for all of our weddings… Just enjoy. In the end, it’s you and your guests, and everything else is just icing on the (oh so merry) cake. We hope we’ve been helpful these past few weeks with all our tips and ideas for planning a fabulously festive fete!