How To Throw A Holiday Party Without The Headache
Now that the holidays have kicked off, you might be inclined to throw a little shindig of your own. Gather all your friends, share some food, cocktails, and make some memories. Hosting for the holidays can take your stress level from zero to 60, but worry not, you got this.
1. Plan Ahead – consider what you are realistically capable of taking on. Make a list, and ask your friends for help. One thing I always do in the weeks before a party is empty my fridge, you would be surprised how much space you’ll need in your refrigerator to accommodate food, drinks, and ice for your guests!
2. Create an “event” on social media – this is the easiest way to invite guests, keep track of rsvp’s, and discuss what each person is bringing. You can even crowd source your playlist!
3. Prepare food ahead of time – do as much as you can before the day of the party so, when its time for your guests to arrive, you just have to reheat and give final touches to the food you’re serving. Asking your guests to bring a dish to share also works wonders in helping take the pressure off of you, and people love to share recipes, more so during the holidays. I especially like cold grain salads or charcuterie boards that can be tossed together the previous day; the flavors are actually much better after 24 hours of being refrigerated.
4. Prepare a specialty cocktail for the evening that you can make into a large batch and serve in a conversation piece - My favorite is King of the Road Punch, bonus points if served out of a fun beverage dispenser.
KING OF THE ROAD PUNCH
45oz Bourbon (we are not kidding around!)
45oz Black Tea (I like to use Whole Foods 365 Unsweetened Black Tea)
30oz Cocchi Americano
22.5oz Brizard Apricot Liqueur
7.5oz lime juice (squeeze your own, please!)
15oz Shrub & Co. Spicy Ginger Cocktail Shrub
Cinnamon Sticks and lime wheels for garnish
Assemble punch and add large ice cubes about 20-30 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lime wheels.
If you are an overachiever and want to make your own tea (I recommend spending this time choosing a party outfit), then use this tea recipe:
4oz loose quality black tea
45oz boiling water
Put tea in a wire strainer and rinse under cold water briefly. Steep 3 to 4 minutes. Strain. Cool. The tea should be strong and slightly tannic.
5. Keep it casual – don’t force your guests to sit around the dinner table, instead create different areas for them to congregate and mingle. Make sure to introduce people who have things in common and will strike a conversation. This takes a little pressure from you as the host to keep everyone entertained.
6. Create an icebreaker – funny cups, plates, or napkins can be a functional way of breaking the ice. One of my favorite ways of doing this is with funny cocktail napkins like these “Dear Cab Driver” (more like Dear Uber Driver these days).
7. Create a progressive playlist – the right music can be crucial to set the tone for your event. You know your crowd, start with holiday music to put everyone in the festive mood, then go into old favorites that everyone won't be able to help but sing along, then move on to dance favorites as the night progresses.
8. Invest in to go containers – TRUST ME when I tell you that you do not want to deal with all the leftover food the next day (or, realistically, the whole next week). Buy some eco-friendly to go containers; your guests will leave excited for leftovers and you will be excited to have none.
9. Save whenever you can – a house party should not break the bank. Planning ahead helps you pay attention to sales, collect coupons (digital ones, who has time for cutting paper coupons anymore?), and save on high price items.
10. Relax and have fun! – There is nothing more off-putting than a frazzled, stressed out host! Remember that your guests are there to enjoy your company, they will not notice if your bed is made, or if your kitchen is spotless. The holidays are about having fun and creating memories with your loved ones, those dishes can wait!