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Last Updated on October 4, 2017 by Diane Hoffmaster
Have you started planning your holiday entertaining already? Are you stressing out about plans that seem way too complicated? It shouldn't be that hard, right? Well, I am going to share a few simple holiday party ideas that might help. That means you can focus on what's REALLY important: relaxing! Having friends and family over for a holiday get together is a great way to remember the truly important things in your life. You don't have to be a celebrity decorator or waste your entire holiday budget to throw a great party!
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Simple Holiday Party Ideas
In an effort to get myself organized and learn how to host a rocking (and relaxing!) party, I put together some simple holiday party ideas that you might want to consider for your own event.
Get the word out early:
If you wait until the last minute to invite people, you run the risk of your guests having other plans that night. You can buy inexpensive invitations or use online invitation sites like Evite to make this process even simpler. For busy times like New Year's Eve, you might want to consider sending out invitations a month ahead of time! And don't forget to include things like whether kids are allowed, if it is BYOB, requests for dishes to share, or if it is a little black dress sort of event.
Be aware of food allergies or dietary preferences:
This is a big issue to keep in mind when planning your menu. Do you have vegetarians or vegans coming to your party? Is your next door neighbor gluten intolerant? Make sure your menu includes a variety of dishes to appeal to a wider crowd. Don't cover everything with cheese or have meat in every dish. Put out a veggie platter or some crackers and hummus. Try to make sure that none of your guests leave hungry!
Analyze the layout of your home and make adjustments!
My biggest pet peeve when I go to a party at someone's home is not having someplace to set my dish or drink when I sit down to relax. Invest in a few folding tray tables to scatter around the living room so people can sit and chat without holding a plate or cup on their laps. Remove valuables that may get knocked over in a crowd...that pretty vase in the corner might look nice but if your friend knocks it over on the way to the bathroom you will not be too thrilled.
Prepare your food ahead of time:
There is no reason for you to spend all day cooking before your party. Or, even worse, to spend your entire PARTY cooking! Look for appetizers that can be made the day ahead and refrigerated. Find meals that don't require a lot of work but that are elegant looking. Check out the Martha Stewart website for some easy party food suggestions.
Plan some festive drinks:
While a straight glass of wine or sparkling cider might be nice, it's often fun to plan more exotic drinks to share with your guests. Make sure to have a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage at your holiday party. Spruce up a plain wine glass with wine glass charms or invest in whiskey stones for your Scotch or Bourbon fans.
Splurge on a cleaning service:
If you are having a holiday party, the last thing you need to do is spend a week cleaning. Nor do you want to see counters full of dirty dishes the morning after. It might be worth the extra money to actually hire a cleaning service to do it for you. Check out my post about questions to ask a cleaning service before hiring them for some interview tips.
Give people something to talk about:
Sometimes planning simple games is a great way to break the ice amongst your guests. Have a themed guessing game where you put a sticker on everyone's back with an object name relevant to the holiday and the guests have to ask other people questions to figure out what their object is. You could do the same type of game with movies as well. Having a Christmas party? Give everyone a Christmas cartoon special and see if they can guess the right movie. Not the game playing sort of crowd? Leave some creative coffee table books scattered around the house. Trivia, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Optical Illusions...there are a lot of ways to get people to loosen up!
If this is a party, you need party decorations, right? Simple place cards for the dining room table, attractive centerpieces like this Lighted Berry Holiday Centerpiece, or even a basket full of pine-scented pine cones are inexpensive but will add a touch of spirit to your holiday party. You don't have to spend a fortune to decorate for a party. Check out my cheap Halloween ideas if you are planning a Halloween party!
Set the mood:
Lighting and music are both important in setting the mood for a holiday party. A string of white lights and a Christmas playlist are easy ways to get people in the mood. Having a party for Mardi Gras? Try multicolored flashing lights and some Zydeco music! Simple holiday party ideas can be a big hit but lighting and music are important!
This is a party and it is supposed to be FUN, right? Don't forget to relax and enjoy yourself. Talk to your guests, mingle, have some of the food you spent so long creating and enjoy a festive holiday beverage or two!
These simple holiday party ideas are a great way to stop stressing out about your next holiday get together and start enjoying it. Remember, the holidays are all about friends and family so go ahead and throw a party!
Have any other simple holiday party ideas to share?
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.
Wonderful post! Now that we are finally in a home of our own I am looking forward to entertaining more!
Love these tips! Honestly, the food allergy thing is what prevents me from ever going forward with party or get together plans. I wish I wasn't such a chicken about that! haha
I find that offering simple things like fruits and veggies is helpful. And gluten free crackers are an easy add to a party tray!
So many people forget to consider food allergies. You never know what someone will be allergic to!
These are really great tips! One thing I forget is allergies because we don't deal with it here. Now that more kids in school have allergies we are becoming more aware to be conscientious of this when planning holiday parties.