Now that December is here, the holiday party season is about kick into high gear. When it comes to hosting the perfect holiday party, it isn’t about having the most extravagant decorations or epicurean offerings, but about enjoying good and memorable times with loved ones. Here are some tips to make this year’s holiday party one to remember for guests and hosts alike:
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
The number one key to hosting a successful holiday party is to be well prepared in advance. Know what things can be bought, prepared, or set up well in advance, and which require last minute dashes for the freshest ingredients. Decorations can be put up days or even weeks before your party, and who wouldn’t like the extra holiday atmosphere? With the cold weather, many groceries or drinks can be stored in a cooler in the garage or even backyard if you lack the fridge room. Many food options can be prepared in advance and just reheated when it’s show time. Make a list of every needed ingredient beforehand and check your stock so you don’t realize in the middle of the party that you need nutmeg. Make sure you have party necessities like bottle openers. A well-prepared party is a good party.
Nothing makes a guest feel more special than being cared for and accommodated. Make note of the dietary restrictions of your guests well in advance so you can prepare food options for them. For example, if hosting a dinner party and one guest is vegetarian, make an equivalent protein option so that guest can enjoy the same flavours and not feel left out. You certainly don’t want to go overboard, especially if hosting a large party, but it is the little things that make you a host to remember. If serving finger food to a large crowd, consider having tasty vegetarian, dairy-free, and/or gluten-free appetizers to suit the needs of your guests – and the rest of the group will love these tasty options too!
While the party you host may be BYOB, it can still be fun to prepare a seasonal group drink with alcohol like eggnog, cider, or punch. If so, consider making a non-alcoholic version for the designated drivers or non-drinkers in the crowd, so they aren’t left out of the seasonal delight. If children are expected to be present at the party, make them feel included by preparing kid-friendly cocktails like grape juice with ginger ale, or mixing up some Shirley Temples (you can really wow the kids by garnishing with maraschino cherries!)
Have fun! The holiday season is about enjoying time with our family, friends, and loved ones of all stripes. Rather than being laser-focused on being a robotically perfect host, let yourself enjoy the event. Take the time to pull aside an old friend you rarely see and catch up. Grab a plate of your favourite appetizers and savour your efforts. Your guests will have a good time knowing their host is having fun as well. With great food, drinks, and company, any party you host can be the perfect holiday party.