How to Host the Best Dang Holiday Party Ever
8 little things to know before the relatives arrive
The pieces of the holiday puzzle are finally coming together. You got the presents. The holiday cards. The OMG pie. But a few things are still missing. Introducing our eight secrets for navigating the holiday party scene. Here, we’ll equip you with clever little tips for nabbing inexpensive decor, setting up a foolproof kids’ table and even crafting the perfect conversation starters. Study up. Your social calendar is begging you.
FIRST, PLAN YOUR OUTFIT
This will set the tone for the entire event. Have a pair of fancy pants you’re just dying to wear? Boom: “Fancy Pants” is your theme (when else will you wear them?). And don’t fret, they pair well with a slinky blouse or a slouchy oversized sweatshirt.
SKIP THE RED AND GREEN OVERLOAD
To really achieve Pinterest-worthy decor, stick to three colors max. Notice the impact of gold and silver metallics against a clean white wall? Stunning.
THE TRICK TO INEXPENSIVE DECOR
Doesn’t it feel like the more you spend on flowers, the quicker they shrivel up and die? If you have a real Christmas tree indoors (or evergreens outside), you have an inexpensive yet elegant solution to decking your halls. Arrange a few branches in vases for simple centerpieces, or drape a few over your chandelier. The effect is festive and fragrant, and the look will last ’til January 2.
BE THE BEST BARISTA
Dessert and coffee are holiday essentials. But this year, leave your futzing for the piecrust and create a self-serve coffee bar. Give your guests a choice of flavors for a delightful twist, like Dunkin’ Donuts’ Cinnamon Coffee Roll or Caramel Coffee Cake. Not sure how strong to make it? Just follow this handy guide.
NEVER BE WITHOUT FESTIVE TUNES
Compile a go-to holiday playlist on Spotify to have on hand at all times--and when the neighbors drop by early, just press play. Instant party. If you’re clueless on how to start, check out our premade version here.
SET UP A (COOL) KIDS’ TABLE
Two words: kraft paper. When the festivities continue well beyond dessert and your youngest guests are getting punchy, you’ll be glad you have a tablecloth that doubles as a drawing surface. Throw some crayons (and snacky cereal) at ’em and keep the grown-up merriment going.
STOCK UP ON EXTRA GIFTS
Few things invoke holiday trauma quite like when a friend brings you a thoughtful gift…and you have nothing in return. Don’t get caught empty-handed. Before your gathering, pick up a few extra could-work-for-anyone presents and keep them wrapped, tucked away and ready to go. (Everyone loves a quirky pistachio bowl or socks with personality.) Leave the gift tags blank and fill them in secretly while everyone’s admiring the crudités spread. A Post-it note on the bottom will remind you that it’s a scented candle and not a Darth Vader piggy bank.
CHAT WITH EASE AND GRACE
As the hostess, you’re gonna need to say a few words to everyone, but starting every convo with “How’s your holiday going?” gets really…blah. Have a few interesting icebreakers up your sparkly sleeve: Download the Conversation Shaker app and peruse a few questions before the party starts. (The trial version is free and features loads of good questions in categories like “Light & Easy” and “Tough Topics.")