Holiday parties are supposed to be fun, but soiree planning can get stressful. Cooking Channel stars and mixology duo, Alie Ward & Georgia Hardstark, have easy and fun party planning tips that will make holiday get-togethers more enjoyable events not only for your guests, but you as well.
The best way to throw a fabulous party is to be prepared. That means shopping a day ahead of time, laying out all of your place settings and, of course, picking out the perfect party outfit. For a fun holiday gathering, ask guests to dress in line with their favorite holiday movie – and take turns guessing which one they chose!
Potluck with a purpose.
Assign different guests courses to bring, such as a salad or the mashed potatoes, for an easy less-fuss community type dinner.
For a smaller party, brine and roast just the breast of the turkey. If you’re not expecting a huge gathering of guests, you’ll avoid the intense prep and long roasting of the whole bird.
Concoct a colossal cocktail.
Don’t throw away your mother’s punch bowl just yet! Rather than slaving away behind the bar, try creating a bountiful batch of party punch or serving pitchers of wine spritzers. Better yet, set up a “buffet bar” and serve three different libations with corresponding garnishes so guests can help themselves!
Play a game.
For a holiday party, try a seasonal trivia game to see which friends are most knowledgeable about traditions and holiday history. Festive gifts can be awarded to winners, and the games can be played in a “White Elephant” fashion. Each time a guest gets the answer right, they can pick or steal a sought-after gift from another player – this adds a little competition.
Keep it interesting.
Spice up your get-together with a DIY photo booth. Giving guests something to focus on can really help them come out of their shells! Utilize fun props like ugly holiday sweaters and ski poles as your friends snap away. You can also create a custom hash tag exclusive to your party, where your friends can tag each other. #SoGusto!
Create a delicious drink.
Everyone loves relaxing with a coffee or tea after dinner. Turn your home into a deluxe café (we use our NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto machine), which will allow you to serve party-goers their choice of hot and cold drinks like Mochas and Vanilla Latte Macchiatos. For a more grown up after dinner treat, spike your coffee drink with a cream liqueur instead of milk for a more spirited sipper.
Be sure to send a group email or Facebook message after the party to thank everyone for coming. It’s a great way to connect people who met at the party but didn’t exchange information. You may be the catalyst for a new romance, or at least two friends swapping holiday wish lists.