3 Tips for Hosting the Best Holiday Party Ever
With the holiday season in full swing, chances are you have volunteered to host at least one gathering in your home. Throwing these seasonal get-togethers can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful. Use these tips to make your bash the best one yet.
1. Pick a Party Type
First, decide what kind of party you want to throw. A sit-down dinner is always a wonderful experience during this time of the year. Maybe you want to make it a formal New Years’ Eve meal with multiple courses, or perhaps you would rather assemble a large group of friends for casual take-out at your place the weekend after Christmas. If holiday preparations are taking up more time than you thought, forgo a full dinner and opt instead for a cocktail party with a semi-formal dress code–or maybe an ugly holiday sweater or a white elephant gift exchange party to add some lightheartedness to the occasion. Whatever theme you choose, be sure to let your guests know what to expect, so they can dress and prepare accordingly. Once you have decided on the scale of your party, create a guest list and send out invitations.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Preparing for the unknown is a key part of being an excellent hostess. According to EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine, you should set out a few drinks and snacks before you start getting yourself ready – this way, any early arrivals will have something to do if you are still getting dressed. If you have friends or family interfering with your delicate kitchen system, steer them away from the food and give them a task like taking drink orders or refilling hors d’oeuvres trays.
It’s always advisable to ask about any of your guests’ dietary needs in advance. However, if someone arrives with a dietary restriction you did not know about, do not panic. Offer to make them something else and let them know they are welcome to anything in your kitchen. As a host, your most important job is to ensure everyone feels welcome and happy.
It is also best to be prepared for things to spill and break. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and club soda to mop up any potentially damaging stains. Keep the broom at the ready for shattered dishware and have the space heaters on standby in case of a furnace emergency. Live in a warmer climate? Keep a portable fan or two handy to help your guests feel comfortable and create a cooling breeze in a hot kitchen. Lasko’s tower fans and cyclonic heaters are excellent choices for parties because they feature slim designs, and the heaters can be placed at the wall and out of the way. Whatever may happen, you will feel more confident knowing you are ready for anything.
3. Do as much as you can ahead of time
The more you do ahead of time, the better you will feel, and the more you will be able to enjoy yourself when the big day rolls around. HGTV suggests making a list and seeing what needs to wait for the day of the party and what can be taken care of a few days before. Buy as many snacks and beverages as possible well in advance – you do not want to be running to the grocery store an hour before guests arrive. Don’t forget to prepare the gifts in advance: think about the gift ideas for women who have everything: tricky, right? Buying the gifts a few days earlier will save you time and won’t let you be stressed at the last moment. Stocking your kitchen with pre-made appetizers will cut down your prep time, so you will only need an hour or two to get everything ready. Because you will not be spending time managing the kitchen, you will have more time to relax and mingle with your guests.
If you plan on serving soups or stews, you can cook them prior to the event and keep them fresh in the freezer. If most of the food needs to be made the day of, try chopping up vegetables and setting out pots and pans the night before. When you wake up, you will be ready to spring into action.
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