November 18th 2011

8 Holiday Party Tips

All of the holiday parties are around the corner, and we’ve compiled a list of eight must-have tips to help make yours a success.

Whether you’re getting together with friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else, here are the tips you need to make sure you get through any holiday soiree with ease.

(PS. It’s never too early to plan).

Don’t just pick any day

When you’re planning your party, don’t just pick any random day of the week. Yes, we often think of typical party days as the weekend, but we recommend planning it late in the week instead. Don’t choose the Saturday – chances are your invitees already have something going for that day, too. Though Fridays are good, Thursdays are even better. It’s late enough in the week for something to be looked forward to, but suitable enough that they won’t be staying at your house all night long.

Think of the guest list

Out of everything you need to do to prep for the party, consider planning the guest list to be the most important. When you’re writing down the names, keep a few things in mind: mixing and matching is good. You want to invite old friends, new friends, coworkers, anyone and everyone. Don’t worry if they all know each other. In fact, it’s even better when they don’t! People love striking up conversations and meeting someone new.

Also, be sure to balance the couples and the singles. Nothing is worse than being one of the only singles at a party.

And finally, go for small. Big parties are good. Small parties are better. It feels more intimate and you can take the time for more careful planning and menu making based on a smaller crowd.

Prepare. Clean. Repeat

While you’re making everything, clean as you go along. It is much easier to scrape vegetable scraps into the compost before you start working on the next dish, instead of cleaning the whole lot at once. Plus, if time gets away from you at the end, it looks a lot better to your guests if you’re last minute preparing a dish (with minimal mess) then standing in a torrential storm in your kitchen.

Speaking of food…

When you’re choosing food for the event, unless it is a dinner party, go for small, appetizer/tapas inspired bites. Also choose items that everyone (or the vast majority) will include. Along with that, choose a few exotic items, and a few nostalgic. People love food. Don’t forget to accommodate those who don’t eat meat, both vegetarians and vegans.

Always go for a cheese platter with plain crackers. Choose a basic cheese or two, then go for the gold with flavored goal cheese, some high quality brie, and other stinky or soft cheeses. Many people enjoy smoked salmon and prosciutto, and candied nuts, a variety of olives, and simple vegetable trays always go over well. Other popular bites include nori rolls (choose vegan and seafood versions), gazpacho (put it in shot glasses), and mini-sandwiches (try almond butter and wine jelly).

Set the mood

To really make it ideal, keep the lighting low, and use plenty of unscented candles. Let the holiday lights sparkle, decorated on your tree and, if you can, add a little more around the room. You don’t want it to be dark, or not even dim, but just consider opting to avoid extremely harsh bright lights.

Have fun

Sounds obvious, right? Well, it’s definitely been done before: host does loads of preparation, host gets stressed, host has too much to do at the party, host hardly talks to guests, host stresses out more, host doesn’t have fun. No matter what, enjoy yourself. Guests notice when the host is on edge, so be sure to take the time before and relax. Dress up, have fun, mix and mingle. Work the room, and continually say hello and bid goodbyes to guests that are coming and going.

Serve more than just alcohol

Don’t forget about those who might not want to sip the stronger stuff. Though fun drinks like margaritas, and strong drinks like champagne, are absolutely necessary, have non-alcoholic alternatives that have a festive flair. Think mock shirley temples. For those who don’t want a mixed drink, do something a little classier than water. Have bottles of high quality carbonated water, such as Pellegrino, available for folks who want to drink the simple — but elegant — stuff.

Clean your bedroom

Silly? Not really. Guests tend to take a wander, and most will want to see the bedroom if they’ve never been in your house before. As well, the common location for keeping all of the jackets is on the bed – a convenient spot to set them away without being in plain site, as well as offering a locale for folks to go if they need to use their phone. Bedrooms make a big impression on people, so our recommendation is, well, to keep yours clean… and then make it look even better.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.