Easy Holiday Tips for Intimate Parties
Whether you are hosting a sit-down dinner or a cocktail party, the process should never be stressful. Here are some ideas that will help make it easy on you:
- If your friends and/or family arrive earlier than expected – be ready. Cart them to an area where they can serve themselves, like the bar. The bar should be stocked with everything needed so that they don’t keep coming back to you asking for things like ice, juices, glassware, drinks, bottle openers and a few snacks, like nuts.
- Friends like to go where the action is, so if you are still preparing dishes in the kitchen, they will surely want to go there to chat with you. Give them a work area far from you and welcome their help in doing small jobs.
- The younger crowd at your party can start helping by distributing the appetizers to keep the guests entertained.
- For a sit-down dinner, place name cards in front of every seat. Split couples to encourage mixing and make conversations more interesting.
- It is best to have a side table by the dining table as a refilling station and load it with drinks, carafes of water and utensils so that guests can just reach and serve themselves.
- After dinner, serve dessert in the living room to allow your guests to stretch their legs. Serve easy desserts such as cupcakes, brownies or cookies. This way, they can serve themselves without a lot of fuss.
- A toast at the end of the evening gives the party this last cheer for the holidays.
Tips for Large Parties
It is best to start preparations at least three weeks before the party.
- Make an invitation list. Invite 20 percent more people than you can fit, since typically only 70 to 80 percent of invitees attend.
- Decide on a theme, if you want one.
- Send out invitations and follow up with an SMS.
- Whether you are catering or planning home cooking, plan the menu ahead of time, as you may want to change certain items every now and then.
- It is also best to line up any help you may need early enough, since during the festive season, caterers and help are usually busy.
- On the day of the invite, be sure that the guest bathroom is well stocked with fresh hand towels and toilet paper.
- One of the help should always be at the door to take coats and shawls or gifts and place them in a closet or a room nearby.
If you are Hosting the Party at Home
- If your home is small, remove as much as possible of the extra or unwanted furniture to enable people to move around. It is also best to keep the décor simple.
- Split the appetizers in different corners of the house so that guests will not be clustered in one area.
- Invite people that can interact well. Get them talking. Give assignments to those who are shy such as checking on everybody’s drinks or pass some appetizers around.
- If you have a garden, think of adding extra chairs, garden furniture or hire high tables so that guests can pass through from inside the house to outside or vise versa.
- You can also do some of the cooking in the garden, like a pasta station or barbecue.
- Your bar, where most people gather, should be in a far corner or balcony or terrace if you have one, so that you leave room for maneuvering.
- Don’t serve the hot buffet too late. People tend to fill up on appetizers and then cannot eat much when the food is ready. One and half to two hours maximum after the arrival of the guests is more than sufficient.
- Most guests tend to bring gifts, especially if it is a special occasion. It is a nice surprise if you have little trinkets that don’t cost much to give to every lady guest on her way out.
- Fill your house with flowers. It is a nice gesture and gives a homey feel.
- A centerpiece in the middle of the table with a theme is also important, like Christmas balls, Easter eggs or a Ramadan theme.