As they say, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
One of the best parts about this time of year is looking forward to gathering with friends at annual holiday parties. Although this year may deliver soirées a little smaller in size, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a big statement.
Between holiday errands, trimming the tree, wrapping presents and a shopping list longer than Santa’s, we can easily feel overwhelmed and begin to lose sight of the seasonal spirit!
Ultimately, hosting a holiday party is an act of generosity and fun, and should be as stress-free as possible for the host.
Here are 7 tips on entertaining with ease, and a few pieces of furniture that will transform your home into the best house party on the block!
1. Pick a Theme
An easy way to stand apart from other parties is to pick a theme. When you stick with a theme, it simplifies the process of making design choices, selecting your menu, music, and more.
A theme can be as simple as incorporating a specific color palette, or playing off of a favorite family tradition. Choosing a theme and then building your food, beverage and decor choices around that idea will weave a unified party thread that will make overall preparation easier.
A few theme ideas could be a traditional “White Christmas”, a more campy “Pajama Party” or “Ugly Sweater” vibe, or a warm and cozy “Winter Wonderland”.
Perhaps this year you will be inspired to finally give everyone a reason to dress up, and invite guests to a fancy and glamorous black tie dinner! With enough time and planning, you could even trim your tree to match your theme.
2. Plan Ahead & Get Organized
A few weeks in advance of your party, sit down during a quiet moment and make a list. Start “big” and ponder different theme and decor ideas. Think about any new recipes you have been wanting to try, and reflect back on parties you attended over the years. What did you love most about these events? Was it the menu, the music or the energy? Did a special guest drop by in a red suit? Was there an incredible musician that played all night? After you make your dream party list - set a budget and edit the list to match what you want to spend.
Celebrity chef, Ina Garten often mentions in her cookbooks that when she hosts parties, she prepares two dishes that are homemade, and then purchases the rest of the spread.
With a few store-bought items, you can create a gorgeous cheese and charcuterie board or a colorful tray of mini desserts. Then, all that is left to do is to add a few creative touches for an artistic presentation.
3. Feather Your Nest
Take the time to really decorate for the occasion. A holiday only happens once a year and we deserve a reason to celebrate the curtain falling on 2020!
Walk around your space and try out new configurations by rearranging furniture. Position your Christmas tree as a focal point. Check that your front steps and parking areas are well lit.
Is there a dedicated closet or rack in your entryway for guests to hang their outerwear? Do you need to hire one or two people for the event to help park cars or tend the bar? Make sure guest bathrooms are stocked with fresh towels, and that you have enough serving-ware.
Most importantly, strategically place a few cocktail tables in party rooms for drinks and snacks to land. We love this elegant pair of nesting tables with a brushed gold finish. Not only do they create extra spaces for guests to rest their drinks, but are beautiful to behold!
Another important element of any good party is lighting - overly bright and glaring lights make for glaringly poor photo moments. If you don’t already have dimmers as part of your lighting plan, they are a great investment.
Of course there is no better glow at the holidays than from a Yule log burning in the hearth or natural candlelight. This candle fixture with an antique finish makes a statement in both stature and aesthetic, and will add a warm illumination to your party mood.
4. Stage an “Entertainment” Zone!
At your party, why not create the ultimate fun room? This can be a designated room that you transform into a gaming den or mini movie theater where guests of any age can flock together for some friendly competition or to view a holiday classic.
Adding theater style seating will take this space next level!
These ‘game zone’ reclining loveseats are fully loaded with console drawers to store devices, remotes and game apparatus - and of course, built in cup holders will keep everyone well hydrated during heart pounding moments.
A room full of competitive spirits can work up some appetites and nobody wants a round of ‘The Hunger Games’. This 5-piece tray and table set is a winning solution for sharing snacks and drinks. Or, these portable pieces can easily be set up for your very own “Queen’s Gambit” style tournament.
5. Signature Cocktail Station.
A signature cocktail and a stylish bar cart go together like a gin and tonic.
During a party, kitchen and dining areas are usually heavy traffic zones. Try featuring a special cocktail station in a room away from the crowd. A hot chocolate bar for kids, or a great martini or classic drink that matches your theme is sure to make a splash. Don’t forget the garnishes!
This 2 tier serving cart crafted in a chic lucite is perfect for rolling libations out to lively guests.
6. Holiday Finger Foods.
Whether you are hosting a casual cocktail hour, an open house with a buffet or a sit-down dinner, there should be no shortage of spirited snacks and holiday appetizers.
“Festive Finger Foods” are a must-have at any party!
This sleek granite and black kitchen cart is a perfect platform to feature trays of finger foods. Multiple storage options allow for easy access to extra cocktail napkins, plates and glassware.
The wheels on the cart are a great way to mix things up during your party. For example, at the end of the night, you could clear off your appetizers and reset with a DIY Gingerbread House station or create a ‘Candy Bar’ on top by filling different sized glass jars with colorful treats and little ‘to-go’ bags. Roll your cart right to the door and guests can pack a sweet snack bag for the road on their way out.
7.) Personalized Parting Gifts.
Party favors aren’t just for kids!
Showing appreciation for those closest to us is always a great idea, and especially during the holiday season. A small parting gift for guests doesn’t have to be expensive, you wrap up homemade Christmas cookies with a personalized hang tag, or paint a decorative ornament. Mulling spices, wine or a pack of holiday themed cocktail napkins are a few fun ideas.
All of us at JaxCo wish you a wonderful holiday season and hope you have the opportunity to share the spirit and celebrate with those you love.