The upcoming holiday season means a slew of excuses to have parties with your family, friends or co-workers. Attending a party is one thing, but planning and hosting takes quite a bit of preparation and effort. Whether you want to ring in the next era of the “Roaring Twenties” with a lively bash or it’s your turn to host the annual family party, we’ve got some tips for a unique twist on the classic party formulas or to help you pull off a smooth celebration.
Fill up for a feast
If you’re preparing the bulk of the food for your party, cook and prepare as much of it as you can before the day of the actual event. Soups, stews and dips are supremely easy to prepare ahead of time and to prepare in large quantities, and also perfect for the winter season. Make them in a crock-pot for minimal attention and keep it heated up for when guests come.
If your party is going to have more appetizers and hors d’oeuvres than meal food, choose ones that are easy to assemble but can still seem classy, like cheese and crackers, meatballs, fruit or potstickers. And if you’re hosting a potluck, send out a shared document or create a group chat for attendees to list what they’re bringing so there’s a variety and more inclusive options.
Send out detailed invites
Whether you wanted to go old-school and mail out printed invitations on stationery or will be doing the tried-and-true Facebook event invite, you’ll appreciate having some form of an official invite over just verbally spreading the word or texting people. With an event of this caliber, an RSVP system in place (make sure to include an RSVP-by date) will help you to keep track of attendance. Besides the basic date, time and location, remember to include organizational details like theme (if you have one), dress code and what the food situation is. Guests will appreciate knowing how to dress, knowing if the mood will be more formal or casual and if they should plan to eat dinner beforehand or will need to bring something.
Deck the halls
Parties, especially holiday parties, are some of the few occasions you can really go all out on your decorations, so make the most of the opportunity. Either choose a theme (how can you resist the chance to have a “Great Gatsby”-themed party?) or a cohesive concept like colors or mood. String lights are a fun and easy way to embellish a room as well as provide some mood lighting. Electric candles are a classier way to provide some lighting and a centerpiece for your tables or mantles and not have to worry about an open flame. Hit up your local dollar store for some affordable decorations like ornaments, centerpieces and ribbons and for further ideas. Include some greenery (real or not, we won’t judge) like flowers or wreaths to liven up the room.
The more the merrier
Stock up on supplies such as plates, cutlery and cleaning supplies so you won’t have to run out to the store while you’re hosting the party of the year. In the same vein, overestimate when buying drinks and food so the party doesn’t die out when guests see a shortage of food. People can bring home leftovers (and who doesn’t love that?) or you can even donate to your local shelter.
Prepare a playlist
Once you have your intended mood or theme in mind, create a playlist of songs sticking to that idea to fill up the room and keep the party lively. Adjust the volume accordingly to what you see fit, and make sure to include a variety of songs that everybody knows as well as songs you know people will not be sick of. Don’t be afraid to fill up on holiday songs. ’Tis the season!
Plan your floor set-up
Whether you’re sitting down to eat or having guests mill with food in hand, arrange the food accordingly so it’s accessible to everybody and not causing crowding in one specific area. Dedicate separate areas to where the food will be stationed and kept warm and others where guests can sit or mingle and move around. Make sure there’s a quieter area for folks looking for a breather from the holiday hustle and bustle.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.