Whether it’s your first time or your 5th time hosting the annual holiday party… there’s that overwhelming feeling of “How am I going to pull this off?”
The most important thing is to relax and not stress out about everything being perfect. As much as you try to conceal it, that stress will extend to your guests and make them feel uncomfortable.
1. Plan What You Can Manage
-Don’t become too ambitious with the food. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night! The party is about being with your guests.
-Try lasagna or a roast that can cook slowly all day and won’t require a lot of last minute preparation.
-If you’re throwing a cocktail party, an appetizer buffet is a great way of handling things. Put an array of platters on one or two tables, and then have drinks in a separate area, so people move around and the party will flow.
2. Prep Ahead of Time
Making your preparations in advance can help reduce your stress levels. Lay out the platters, bowls, and serving utensils in advance. Have an extra pitcher of water in the fridge. Have ice made and available for drinks. Chop all your last-minute garnishes and have your appetizers ready to go. When you’re scrambling in the hour before guests arrive, it’s great to know that you are ready, even if they show up early.
-When it comes to preparing your home for the guests- if you clean ONE room, make it the bathroom. It’s the only room of the house that people won’t be distracted by talking to other guests.
3. Set a Welcoming Vibe
-When the guests arrive, your focus needs to shift from party prep to party host.
-An activity for guests, like a build-your-own-beverage bar, can make for a fun start. Buy a couple of flavored syrups, have a variety of mixers (ginger ale goes with just about everything), and print out a couple of different recipes. Guests will have fun creating their own concoctions.
-You could also have guests manage the music. Load a DJ app onto your smartphone (in advance) and let your friends and family pick the evening’s tunes.
4. Invite Guests to Crash-
-At your place, that is. The easiest way to avoid driving drunk is not to drive at all. If your celebration will go into the wee hours, turn it into a slumber party to keep intoxicated friends off the road.
5. End on a High Note
– Know when its time to call a night. If you’re ready for bed and a few guests are hanging around, try to quietly turn up the lights or raise your glass in a toast. This way, you end your party on a high note.
So, have at it, and start in on the planning. If you prepare early enough, keep things simple, and remember that you’re among family and friends, you can’t help but have a jolly good time.