We all love the holiday season and holiday parties. We get to connect with others, share our appreciation for one another, and have fun playing games, sipping on cocktails and sharing meals that we may have missed out on earlier in the year. The holiday season gives us the time to sit and spend time with one another, especially right after a busy summer and busy start to a new school year.
One thing that I found that I loved doing during the holiday season was hosting my own holiday party and there are a number of reasons why. The first one is that I hate the cold, so instead of having to travel to a friend’s house for the holiday party, I just host it at my own home. The other reason is that I love to cook and bake and I get a lot of joy from getting feedback about my food from those who get to eat it. I’m always trying new dishes and after they eat, I constantly ask what they thought.
In addition to cooking, I also have picked up a knack for creating my own cocktails, and each season I come up with new seasonal cocktails that I love to share with the people that I invite over.
I will admit that when my husband and I lived in our apartment, I wasn’t one that enjoyed hosting because I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that went into. But after a holiday season when I did host, I realized that there are ways to host and not feel overwhelmed. So since then, I’ve been hosting and happily enjoying each and every second of it. Over the years, I have developed a fool proof plan on hosting a holiday party and I want to share with you the top tips on how to host a holiday party without feeling overwhelmed before, during or after the event.
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PLAN OUT YOUR MEAL AHEAD OF TIMEAs the host, you are typically in charge of the food, even if your party is a potluck. If you’re cooking, one thing that I suggest is that you make sure to ask everyone if they have any dietary restrictions. You don’t want your friend to bring their significant other who is a vegan and all you have is meat, and you don’t want to put an ingredient in a food that someone may be allergic to. If you’re having a potluck, ask everyone to let you know ahead of time what they are bringing or making before they make it /purchase it. There’s been times where I have gone to holiday parties and shown up with the same dish that two other people have already brought. That’s how you end up with a bunch of sides and no meats, or a bunch of bottles of wine and no food. If you’re doing a invite virtually, such as through Facebook or Evite, have everyone comment in the public space as to what they are bringing so that everyone can openly see. It’ll help planning wise and it’ll also let you know as the time gets closer as to what you may still need to make or purchase the day of that may be missing.
DON’T SAY NO TO HELPYou may have friends who will offer to help come set up or offer to help with clean-up. I used to the person who always said, “No, I got it.” And then would feel overwhelmed as I rushed to set everything up before everyone arrived or felt defeated when I woke up the next morning and found my home in disarray. If you have friends willing to help, let them. You can even have them sample any of the food or drinks that you’re making before the other guests arrive so that you feel confident in what you are serving. Even more, they’ll help to poiint out if there is anything missing or that needs to be done, because let’s face it, when you’re hosting a party, you are doing so much that sometimes things get missed. Having back-up is not a bad thing and will make hosting a holiday party fun from start to finish. Then when it comes to clean-up, if you have friends or family who want to stick around and help, it’s okay to accept that help to. It’s fun to clean-up with your friends over the last drops of wine and gossip about your other friend’s new boyfriend. Plus, getting the clean-up done the night of will make you feel better in the morning when you wake up and don’t feel like you have to clean the entire house before you can relax.
LET SOMEONE ELSE PLAN THE GAMESIf you are hosting and taking up the food responsibility, the clean-up and everything in between when it comes to hosting a holiday party, let someone else plan out the games. Just ask one of your friends if they wouldn’t mind planning out a few of the holiday games whether it’s a board game, card game, or a white elephant story. For a holiday party, it’s a small task to hand over, because the majority of the holiday party will be spent with everyone talking, eating, and drinking. At one point, you may look up and realize that the party is halfway over. Having 1-2 games planned by someone else will take one thing off your list and you’ll feel that the games give you a little bit of backup in case theirs a lull in the party and people need something to spark the energy gain. What you can do if you let someone else plan the holiday party games is to just keep a few of your board games in the corner of the room for backup. Plus, if all else fails, just play some of those old college games that gets everyone a little buzzed.
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOYAs a host, there is one thing that you shouldn’t do, and is my biggest tip on how to host a holiday party – and it is DO NOT FORGET TO ENJOY YOURSELF. Don’t get lost in making sure everyone’s glass is full and that the playlist keeps playing. If the bowl of pretzels runs out, you probably have so much food out that the bowl does not need to be refilled right away. And if you leave all the bottles of wine out with the wine opener near by, the person wanting to refill their glass can open the bottle themselves. We throw holiday parties to be able to bring people together around us and so that we can connect with our friends and loved ones. So make sure you do. I’ve found myself, on occasion, realizing that I spent so much time trying to be the perfect host refilling everything and serving everyone. Then after the party, I would hear from my guests that the one thing that they missed was my company. Enjoy the time with your friends over the holiday as you host. Save the cleaning for after everyone has left.