If you’re taking the reins on holiday hosting this year, you’ve probably got plenty on the to-do list. Sure, there’s cooking, cleaning, and decorating to be done, but your real job as a host is to show everyone a good time. These simple tips will help keep the conversation going, the seasonal beverages flowing, and the comfort and joy at an all-time high – so you can relax and enjoy the party, too.
There can be a temptation to serve appetizers, or even a big meal, freshly prepared from the kitchen. Once guests arrive, however, your attention should be on them, not whatever’s on the stove. Choose a low-key menu that can be prepared in advance and reheated – or, even better, served at room temperature – so you can mix and mingle throughout the evening.
Take some help from the store
Minimize stress and maximize socializing by putting out an array of snacks that don’t require much prep work. Grazing boards, cheese trays, premade veggie and dip platters, and frozen appetizers are all crowd-pleasing options that can be easily set up and quickly replenished throughout the night. Try out Hot Cocoa Dessert Board, perfect for the whole family while making holiday traditions.
Set up a DIY drink station
As a holiday host, you don’t always have time to make sure everyone’s glass is filled. A make-your-own beverage bar lets guests help themselves and customize their own drinks. Include a combination of pre-made big batch cocktails, mocktails, or punch along with ingredients for DIY drinks to ensure guests are never in need of refreshment. Try our Big-Batch Poinsettia Punch, perfect for celebratory gatherings.
Greet every guest by name
No matter the size of your soiree, a personalized greeting at the door is the first step to making everyone feel welcomed. Even if you don’t get a chance to circle back for more conversation, a warm hello at the top of the evening sets the tone and encourages party-goers to feel at home.
Pick a party playlist
Whether you’re hosting a room full of your best friends or a mix of people who don’t know each other well, background music is key to the ambiance. Spend time ahead of your event curating a soundtrack with upbeat tunes to keep the party going. Aim to make your playlist a few hours long, so there’s no need to change music mid-party.
Keep the timeframe casual
A big way to eliminate stress for host and guests alike is to treat your party like an open house. With all the hustle bustle of the holiday season, including juggling multiple events, arriving promptly at a certain time can be difficult. Include a start and end time on your invitation and encourage guests to come when they can. It will go a long way toward increasing the turnout and ensuring everyone is relaxed and ready to have fun when they arrive.
Accept that messes will happen
You’ve likely heard the expression, “It’s not a party until something gets broken.” Every good host knows this to be true, and the same can be said for messes and spills. While it can be frustrating, especially if you’ve spent time making your home look perfect for the big night, try not to sweat it. Accidents happen, and staying calm in the face of a cleaning “disaster” will help keep the good vibes flowing.
Don’t forget the reason for the party season: having a good time! Once guests start to arrive, focus on mingling and enjoying yourself. Forgot an appetizer or a final decorative touch on the table? Odds are no one at the party will notice. The number one thing a good host can do to keep the good times rolling is to get in on the celebration, too.