Hosting the perfect year-end party
I’ve always envied my friend Meg’s hostessing abilities. For one thing, when I attend an event at her home and she introduces me to another guest, it goes something like this. “This is my friend, Mimi. She’s the one who just got bees.” Then to me, “Susan is the friend I went to Seattle with last month.” Susan and I launch into a spirited discussion of space
needles and honey harvesting as Meg glides away into the crowd. It’s a simple thing but she orchestrates it effortlessly.
True hospitality is subtle like that. It begins with focusing on your guests and
how you’d like them to feel. Here are some tips for helping guests relax and enjoy
a memorable time at your holiday party.
- Know your guests and what they like, whether laid-back or lavish, traditional or unconventional, and give them an idea what to expect beforehand.
- Be aware of dietary restrictions and make sure there’s something everyone can enjoy.
- Plan a menu that can be prepared mostly ahead of time so you’re available to mingle with your guests.
- Stagger the offerings, holding back various things to introduce as the party progresses.
- Accept help that’s genuinely offered. Plan enough ahead of time so that when someone asks, “What can I do to help?” you have a (small) assignment ready for them.
- At the same time, make your guests feel pampered, like the whole event was planned for their relaxation and enjoyment.
- Think about your “party path.” When your guests arrive, where will they put their coat or purse? Where will they go for food or drink? Where might they go to sit and relax or mingle?
- Keep food and drink flowing and restocked. Show people where everything is.
Throwing a party is a lot of work, but it should never look that way. Stay focused on creating a vibe where everyone has fun—even you!
Get creative with your holiday party with one of these themes.
Have guests dress as a character from a children’s book and bring a book to donate to a local literacy program.
Wrap & Rum
Invite friends to bring their gifts and wrapping supplies. Serve rum toddies and enjoy wrapping, visiting, and laughing together.
Celebrate Christmas ‘70s style with guests dressed in the decade’s best. Include vintage toys in your party décor and killer tunes from that era.
Everybody loves Christmas music, so why not a Christmas karaoke party?
Movie Theme Party
Invite guests to come dressed as someone from a beloved Christmas classic. Decorate your home on theme and award prizes for best costumes.
Christmas Gone to the Dogs
Invite fellow animal lovers to a party at the local dog-friendly park. Bring snacks for the dogs and their people and a prize for best-dressed pet. Encourage guests to bring a donation for a local animal shelter.