Top 15 Holiday Party Tips

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We got a call from the Hartford Courant last week, asking us for holiday party tips. At first, we didn’t know what to say, but then we got rolling…

  • Avoid planning a party for Saturday. Thursdays are best. Fridays are good.

  • The guest list is the point of your party.
    • Balance couples and singles
    • Mix it up: invite old and new friends
    • Not too big: small parties are more rewarding

  • Set up your apartment before you prep food and drinks: a. shop b. decorate c. cook d. drinks. If you run out of time, you want your work to be in only one place: the kitchen.

  • Don’t forget to buy plenty of ice.

  • Clean up as you prepare.

  • Lighting is essential for setting the mood.

  • Enjoy yourself. If you do, your guests will too.
    • Play great music while you prepare (see our Top 30 List).
    • Dress up. Costume and glamour set the tone (this IS leather pants and glitter season, honey).

  • Decorate with fresh flowers and candles in every room, bathrooms and bedroom too.

  • Use tablecloths to transform tables.

  • Make your bedroom beautiful. Bedrooms make a big impression on people.

  • Have your preparations done before guests arrive. This means no last minute parties. Shop a day ahead and get home early to set up. This insures that not only do you enjoy yourself, but your guests will be happier as well. You should be “hosting” your party, not slaving in the kitchen.

  • Serve strong drinks right away.
    • Margaritas
    • Champagne
    • Prosecco
    • Have colorful, festive non-alchohol alternative available for drinking (OJ and selzer or ginger ale with a little grenadine works well).

  • Tasty, easy, small food is best:
    • Cheese, stinky and soft, is essential.
    • Use plain crackers and toastettes to fully taste the cheese.
    • Proscuitto and salmon are everyone’s favorite.
    • Bowls of mixed olives are attractive and tasty.

  • Don’t get stuck at the edge of your own party. Work the room, and keep heading back to the front door so you can greet and say goodbye to guests. Remember, your the host.

  • Have many bottles of fizzy water in plain sight. Not only are the bottle beautiful and luxurious, drinking lots of water brings people back down, and makes them feel better towards the end as well as in the morning (favorite: Pellegrino).