How to Host a Christmas Party
Is it your turn to host the family Christmas party this year or plan a holiday get-together with all of your friends? Whether this is your first time hosting a holiday party or your 20th, it is easy to become stumped for ideas. Thankfully, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make your party a success. Here are a few tips for making your upcoming Christmas celebration a memorable and fun occasion.
Choose Your Party Date Wisely
Should you throw your Christmas party before, or after Christmas? The answer largely depends on preferences and schedules. Many people prefer to throw their holiday parties before Christmas, but that can sometimes be a challenge because the weeks leading up to the holidays are often chock full of parties, shopping and family activities. If you send your invitations out before your guests have a chance to fill up their pre-Christmas calendars, you will have an easier time getting a great party turnout before the holidays officially arrive.
If your guests already have full pre-Christmas calendars, throwing a party after Christmas may increase party attendance. Additionally, many people have work off starting from the week of Christmas through the New Year, and may welcome entertaining diversions to brighten up the days immediately after Christmas.
Set a Theme
Are you hosting an elegant adults-only cocktail evening or a kid-friendly cookies and cocoa party? Your theme will dictate how you plan the rest of the party, from the guest list to the food and décor. If you're throwing a themed holiday party or have specific instructions for guests to follow, make sure to include the details on your invitations.
Send Invitations Early
If you send your invitations out before your guests have a chance to fill up their pre-Christmas calendars, you will have an easier time getting a great party turnout before the holidays officially arrive. Try to send your Christmas party invitations out about a month in advance. This will give your guests plenty of time to pencil it into their calendars before they are caught up in the business of the holidays. At the very latest, you should send out your invitations is two weeks before your party. If you're looking for a clever Christmas message to put on your invitations, check out these Christmas party invitation wording ideas.
Designate a Party Area
Keep the party contained to certain areas of the house, like the kitchen and living room, to reduce mess and clean up time. You also won't have to spend as much time getting the whole house party-perfect before the event. Close doors, and if necessary let guests know that you prefer they don't wander to other parts of the house.
Decide on Decorations
Deck your home with holiday-themed décor like pillows, wreaths and of course a Christmas tree! You can create festive centerpieces to place on various tables around the house, or hang mistletoe in an unexpected place to surprise guests. If you're planning to serve some sweet treats, a dessert bar can do double duty as décor and snacks. Light holiday scented candles around the home to create a wintery ambiance that will have guests lingering for longer.
Another benefit to throwing your party after Christmas is that most department stores heavily discount their holiday items in order to clear off their shelves once Christmas is over. This could be a great opportunity for you to purchase decorations for your party without spending too much money.
Set Up Self-Serve Food and Drinks
You may feel like you need to go all-out and cook up a wonderful five-course dinner for your upcoming party. However, even the most ambitious host can quickly become overwhelmed and miss out on the fun if he or she is slaving over the stove while everyone else parties. Finger foods, potluck-style meals or self-serve stations can relieve some of your stress so you can sit back and enjoy the festivities, too! You can also ease some of your stress if you hold your party after dinner and only offer desserts and snacks to your guests.
Start the Mingling and Music
With a little work upfront you can ensure everyone leaves the party having had a good time. Encourage your guests to mingle by making introductions at the beginning of the party. Set up some Christmas themed icebreakers so that once you have made the initial introduction the group is still chatting away. Everyone will have a good time once they loosen up and enjoy each other's company. Plus, playing some classic Christmas jingles always helps to get a party started.
Plan Activities for All Age Groups
If kids are welcome at your party, be sure to specify in your invitations. Keep kids, and even adults, entertained with fun Christmas party games that will keep the party going. A party is no fun if adults are so busy tending to their children's needs that they are unable to relax and have fun themselves
Plan activities that are safe and fun for kids to do without constant supervision from adults. Christmas crafts for kids can be a lot of fun, but make sure you only provide safety scissors and other kid-friendly crafting supplies. You could also organize a kids' corner, complete with kids' Christmas movies, play mats, books and other activities.
While separating the adults and the kids can make your party more laid-back and fun, you might also want to plan at least one activity that involves both the adults and the kids. Ideas include pin the nose on Rudolph, snowman-building contests or holiday-themed relay races. Remember, you don't have to spend a lot of money or effort planning activities for your party. Sometimes the simplest and least expensive activities turn out to be the most memorable and fun.
Set Up a Photo Booth
When you're having a great time with friends and family, you want a souvenir that will help you remember the occasion. Rather than renting a photo booth, why not set up a DIY photo booth at your party where everyone can go to take their own fun photos? Simply create a backdrop with a large piece of cardboard, and decorate it with colored paper, mistletoe, stockings, wreaths or anything else that will make the backdrop look festive and fun.
Hand Out Edible Party Favors
Party favors are not a necessity, but if you want to send guests away with a little something to remember your party by, an edible favor is just the gift. Whether you make your own treats or purchase something from the store, everyone will love the gesture. Wrap with ribbon and a gift tag for a festive feel.
These simple tips will help you plan an entertaining, low-stress Christmas party that you and your guests will look back on with fondness until next year's celebrations.