Hint: take off those heels and pop open that champagne.
For those of us who weren’t born #blessed with the Martha Stewart gene, hosting a holiday party can prove to be more maddening than merry. But that shouldn’t be the case; having friends over to your place for a festive fete is one of the sweetest – and most fun! – ways to celebrate the season with your pals. We’ve put together ten tips and tricks to help make your hostessing nightmares a dream.
As the host, you’re sure to be flitting about, fetching drink refills and running to the door to kiss cheeks— so ditch the heels. Get a glittery pedicure before the party and go barefoot; not only will it save your soles but the casualness of it will immediately put your guests at ease.
Wear Something Outrageous
With that said, now’s the time to dip into your fab caftan collection and have fun with your outfit! Seriously, a brightly printed caftan or jewel toned maxi dress is just the right balance of glam and comfy for your hostessing duties. Add a huge pair of hoops or a vintage rhinestone statement necklace and viola! Party ready in no time.
You Need More: Booze, People & Music Than You Think You Do
Call it the Party Holy Trinity or the good time triumvirate but whatever you do, don’t skimp on any of ’em! Nothing kills a party quicker than running out of wine, a lag in attendance or slow, quiet music. The more, the merrier!
Don’t Worry So Much About The Food
By all means, have lots of it! But don’t stress about homemade peanut brittle and fresh crab cakes. Try one of the Barefoot Contessa’s Entertaining cookbooks; she’s got great make-ahead dips, salads and apps that won’t keep you in the kitchen and will still impress even the most discerning guest.
Use All White To Decorate
White flowers, white candles, white serving trays, white napkins and white garlands; affordable, accessible and super chic. Keeping it simple with the snowy shade will keep the party decor looking unified and festive. If that feels too washed out for you, add a pop of red with a few berry branches in a white vase by the door or spray paint some pinecones gold for a glam centerpiece.
Start Prepping A Week In Advance
Make a list a week before your party and give yourself a couple of tasks to accomplish each day. If you get the dusting and sweeping out of the way on Wednesday, shop on Thursday and prep on Friday, by Saturday all you’ll need to do is pick up some ice, get Beyonce on the speakers and open a bottle of wine.
Speaking Of Opening A Bottle Of Wine…
…make sure you have a drink in your hand and wine open when the first guest arrives.
Your friends will take their cues from you; if you greet your guests with a glass of wine in your hand, they’ll feel comfortable taking one for themselves. And be sure to have a bottle of white and red open, along with a few bottles of chilled beer and maybe a punch. This will help you avoid the awkward “Oh, I’ll just have whatever’s open…” situation.
Don’t Start Cleaning Up While You Still Have Guests
When a host starts to empty plates and throw bottles into the recycling bin – even if you’re just trying to make more room! – it sends the message to your guests that you’re wrapping up and can make folks feel uncomfortable. Plan to spend the next morning cleaning up and let yourself enjoy the party until the last guest leaves.
Small Details Add Up To A Big Pay-Off
Keep a candle burning and have common toiletry items on hand in the bathrooms for your guests to head off any embarrassing situations. Buy an inexpensive coat rack for the entryway. Think of things you’d appreciate as a guest and make them happen for your own!
Greet, Introduce & Mingle!
Be sure to say hello to each of your guests as they arrive and take care to make introductions, especially for the first few groups to arrive. If you have a friend who shows up solo, introduce them to one of your more outgoing couple friends. The quickest way to a successful party is comfortable, happy people — you included! So sip your drink, take a cookie and have some fun!
You might not be a hostess, but if you’re attending holiday parties this season you should most definitely buy a Thank You gift. Here are 18 awesome hostess gift ideas that are better than Thank Yous!