Are you throwing a holiday party this year?
There are so many ways to plan and throw a holiday party, I believe that you can keep things easy and straightforward by being prepared and planning ahead. I have teamed up with the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association in a sponsored program to share ideas and tips for holiday party planning. If this is your first time, or if you are looking for some party planning tips, you’re in luck! Read the step by step ideas below and learn how you can “WOW” your guests this holiday season…
How to successfully plan a Christmas party
Planning a party for the holiday season can be very easy, as long as you’ve got your elves in a row. All you have to do is make sure you are covered with the following steps…
Budget – You must start here, this is the determining factor of the entire shindig. You can’t plan and prepare everything until you know how much you can spend! The number of guests, venue, food choices and decor are all riding on the budget, so be sure you know what you can afford.
WOW Factor: Obviously, a larger budget will give you more options, but don’t be afraid to ask for help, contributions from friends or family members, or to DIY it.
Venue – Dependent upon what type of guests you have, choose a place to host your party. This could be in your home, at a restaurant banquet room, warehouses, complex clubhouses or even outdoors in a backyard.
WOW Factor: Choose a cool place, something different, like a museum. They often rent out space during their off hours, I went to an event in a museum in NYC and the vibe was so cool!
Invitations – Decide whether you want to be fancy and send out invitations via snail mail, or send a simple invitation online. Make sure your timing is right, send these out as early as 1 month in advance, and no later than 2 weeks. Make sure all of the info is available, the time, date, location, what to wear, contact info, and any other special information.
WOW Factor: Order modern holiday party invitations from Tiny Prints (my fav), or hand make them yourself. People love the thought and care!
Decorate – Once you’ve got your venue squared away, you need to making holiday ready with festive decorations. Take a look at the rooms and think about what you’d like to do to them. Garland? Reds and greens? White winter snow? Be sure you pay close attention to detail, don’t forget about the little things.
WOW Factor: Add a Christmas wreath as a focal point to a plain wall or area. Tie ribbons and bows on each of the chairs. Create gorgeous tablescapes and Christmas table place settings with name cards.
Activities – Will there be kids? Will there be a gift exchange? Or is a lot of fun chatter enough to keep everyone entertained? If kids will be present, you NEED something for them to do to avoid chaos. You can provide coloring sheets, crafts, or other activities. For adults, there’s holiday bingo, charades, name that tune, pass the present, and other traditional fun games.
WOW Factor: Plan to have a gift exchange. Everyone brings an anonymous gift, draw numbers to see who chooses first. They pick a present, then the next person decides whether they want the first gift that was already opened, or if they want to choose another to open. If a gift is stolen, that person opens another gift. Each gift can be stolen twice, then it’s frozen. Continue until everyone is finished, it’s such a fun game!
Food – Everyone is going to want to eat, and drink. Gauge your guests and be sure to provide a variety of selections. Also, look at what time your party is being held: At an afternoon event, it may be good to serve various appetizers and drinks. If your party is closer to dinner time, a little more food will be necessary. Be sure to get enough for all of your guests, healthful comfort foods and finger foods are great choices. I am a fan of frozen mozzarella sticks, taquitos, and sweet rolls to hold off our guests. Also, you’ll need some type of dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth. Plan to bake a fresh cake or pie using fresh eggs and milk. Note: Frozen food is actually fresh food, preserved. Simple, affordable, nutritious and tasty!
WOW Factor: Try making something that is super festive for the holiday season. There are some good Christmas party food ideas here. Also, remember that lots of people are on a health kick these days, watching what they eat. It is a great idea to serve fresh, flavorful and wholesome dishes that use real food ingredients. None of the processed crap. I think a cranberry juice cocktail would be a festive beverage to serve, spike it for the adults!
Extras – If you have additional budget, consider party favors. Tie some ribbon around a scented holiday candle to make them yourself, or purchase some delicious festive Christmas chocolates to hand out as parting gifts.
In my opinion, the food is the biggest thing that can make the party a great success. Make sure you WOW your guests with delicious food choices, using real ingredients, fresh flavors that can be refrigerated or frozen. Visit EasyHomeMeals.com for ideas and check out The Dish Diary for tips, tricks and inspiration for the holidays using fresh, refrigerated foods.