Planning a holiday party? Here are some tips for keeping things fun and festive for everybody.
Sound it out. Music can do a lot to set the mood for on occasion, but leave the tacky holiday stuff for the mall. Chances are that everyone has already had their fill of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Keep it light and fun, and you’re good to go.
Lighten up. Planning a little cocktail hour? Make a point to pick wines with an ABV—that’s alcohol by volume—below 12 percent so that guests who don’t usually drink wine won’t be hit too hard.
Something borrowed. If you’re anticipating a full house but don’t have a full china cupboard, consider renting your china, glasses and silverware for the evening. It’s a more elegant option than plastic plates and cups, and one that sidesteps the purchase of things you’ll just have to store later.
Menu matters. We know how tempting those spreads in Bon Appétit can be, but now is not the time for culinary experimentation. Stick with the tried-and-true recipes you know will please a crowd. If you simply must try a trendy food item, consider buying those from a bakery or caterer to avoid disappointment.
Scent of the season. Create a scented centerpiece by filling a glass bowl with cut oranges, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and pine branches. Or, use gingerbread houses to create a festive tableau.
Make it match. Even if you’re not hiring a decorator, you can fake the look by sticking to two or three colors in your displays. Simple? Sure, but a limited color scheme creates a sense of cohesion and order that will come off as expertly planned.
Play it safe. If children or pets will be joining the festivities, nix the candles in favor of battery-powered votive and pillars. You’ll get the same atmosphere without the fire risk.
Send ‘em packing. If some of your guests will be traveling from out of town and staying in a hotel, send them away with some delicious pastries to enjoy in the morning.
Outsource the cleanup. You’ve put a lot of work into that party. Allowing someone else—whether it’s your spouse or a professional maid service—tidy up after is a special gift to give yourself.