Hosting a holiday party should be fun…not just for your guests, but for you, too! Unfortunately, entertaining can leave your spirit feeling more broken (or broke) than bright, especially this time of year, when you feel like you’re literally trying to juggle jingle bells 24/7. We’re here to bring a little more joy to your world with a few helpful hints for keeping your seasonal soirees simple and smart…just like Our Life Covered℠!
Have a plan.
This might seem overly obvious, but it’s amazing how often we set things in motion without really thinking them through. Before you get caught up in a festive moment and start inviting everyone from your best friend to your barista over to your house for a cup of cheer, take some time to think about what kind of cheer you’re going for and, if you’re one to follow glassware conventions, what kind of cups you’ll need to hold it.
Midmorning mimosas with a light brunch? Craft beer and a crockpot of chili? Wine pairings for a multi-course dinner? Martinis and oysters? Coffee and cookies? There’s no wrong direction to go…you just have to pick one so you don’t end up as tangled as those twinkle lights you just pulled out of the garage.
Start with the basics.
The holidays come with a lot of tinsel and trimmings, and it’s way too easy to get caught up in the little details of your party and forget about the pesky logistics. Just as the most dazzling collection of ornaments isn’t much use if you don’t have a Christmas tree stand, that ambitious list of Pinterest projects you’ve stacked up won’t go very far if you don’t have a solid foundation. So before you go crazy at the craft store or sign up for a calligraphy class so you can make hand-lettered labels for your cheeseboard, make sure you a.) own a cheeseboard and b.) you don’t blow your cheese budget on fancy pens.
It’s tempting to go full-on Martha Stewart and/or Buddy the Elf this time of year, but for the sake of your budget (and your sanity), it’s usually best to keep it simple. Mixing in a few store-bought goodies with the ones you make lovingly from scratch will keep things manageable. Smaller decorations = more room for food. Inexpensive votive candles = instant coziness (and low light means no one will notice if you don’t scrub the baseboards—bonus).
Prep, prep, prep!
It’s always better to work hard before your party than to work hard during your party, so plan your menu and activities accordingly. You don’t want to spend the evening (or the morning/afternoon, depending on that direction you chose earlier) sweating in the kitchen with no one to talk to…you want to spend it sparkling next to a spread of elegant pre-assembled appetizers and signature beverages, laughing and chatting with all your favorite people (and maybe a few random ones who just showed up).
If your shindig is scheduled to last for a while, you may not want to put everything out at once, but you can still have it ready to go. Cut up or portion out extra veggies, cheese, meats, etc. so you can keep your crudités and charcuterie boards magically fresh with a quick trip to the fridge. Have hot bites ready to pop in the oven as needed, and if you have them (or can borrow them, better yet) use chafing dishes or warmers to keep everything toasty.
The payoff of all this prep work and planning? You’ll have way more time to bless your guests with your Mariah Carey impression when the DJ (AKA, your phone) drops “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
Don’t be afraid to outsource.
Does Santa work himself into a frenzy making all those toys by himself every year? Heck, no! He has a team of experts behind him every step of the way, and there’s no reason you can’t have your very own elf squad helping you out. If you love to decorate but hate to cook, deck the halls to your heart’s content and have your party catered.
Before visions of canapés being passed around by servers in crisp white shirts make you dismiss the idea as too fancy, remember that Chipotle has a catering menu, so…your options range from champagne on silver platters to burritos wrapped in silver aluminum foil.
We should have started with this—oh, wait…we did! Remember that while your guests will absolutely appreciate that amazing artichoke dip, that sparkly sangria, and that impeccably crafted playlist (pro tip: check Spotify for gems like this before you take the time to make your own), they really just want to spend time with you. So do your homework, do your prep work, and then throw on your ugliest sweater or your prettiest party dress and enjoy yourself!
All the merriest and all the brightest from all of us at Our Life Covered.