‘Tis the season to deck the halls, gather with loved ones, and celebrate with a proper holiday party. If you’re playing host this year, rest assured that it doesn’t take a huge budget or hired help to pull it off. You just might even be able to get it all together yourself and still have enough energy left to enjoy the party along with everyone else! Here are our 7 tips to throw the ultimate festive holiday party (along with some specific product shout outs to lend you a hand).
1. Sprinkle festive décor everywhere.
You don’t have to go big in order to set the scene; you just need enough small touches dotted around the house the keep the décor consistent. Classic white or yellow Christmas lights look simply elegant and timeless when strewn thoughtfully over doorways and window frames. Artificial frosted garlands and wreathes can be hung in entryways, on shelves and over bare walls for an extra-special wintry touch. And don’t forget to hang that mistletoe!
2. Make it cozy.
Festive décor has been hung — great! Now you need some accents that make the house feel welcoming and cozy. Again, small touches are often best here. If you don’t have a fireplace (or simply don’t want the burden of managing one all night), fake it and employ a fireplace directly on your TV. Streaming sticks like Roku® have a number of free channels with rotating seasonal fireplace scenes that can run all evening. Ignite even more of a cozy glow with scented holiday candles strategically placed around the house, or if you don’t want real flames during the party, opt for electric scent melt warmers that will give off wonderful seasonal aromas sans fire.
Pictured left to right: Yankee Candle® Candles (Balsam & Cedar, Christmas Cookie) and Scenterpiece® Melt Warmer, Roku® Express
3. Set the mood with tunes.
No matter your jam — holiday music, wintry jazz, or straight-up rock and roll — fill your house with tunes so guests stay in the groove from room to room. Use a multi-room wireless speaker system to enjoy the same music whether in the kitchen pouring a cocktail or the living room admiring the tree. Create the perfect playlist ahead of time and have it ready to go on your tablet, computer or smartphone.
Pictured: Bose® SoundTouch® 10 wireless music system - 2 Rooms of Wi-Fi® Sound
4. Keep your warm appetizers warm — and accessible.
You don’t want the hot appetizers stashed away in the oven all night, making your guests come in and out of the kitchen to refill their plates … but you also don’t want to just leave the food out on tables to turn lukewarm and unsavory. Make it easy on yourself — invest in a couple of small slow cookers to hold food warm on the table. There are plenty of models made specifically for appetizers and dips. A brilliant choice is Hamilton Beach®’s 4-Quart Entertainment Center Slow Cooker, which lets you attach multiple units together using just one wall outlet. Bonus tip: In addition to your famous BBQ meatballs and chicken wings, you can also keep a pot of spiced, mulled wine nice and warm for your guests!
Pictured: Hamilton Beach®’s 4-Quart Entertainment Center Slow Cooker
5. Give a little love to wine service.
A little love goes a long way when it comes to serving wine, especially at a holiday party where red and sparkling wines will be flowing all night. First of all, serve your wines at the right temperature. A wine cooler or cellar can keep your wines stored at the proper temp year round so they’re ready to go for the party, or you can also pop a bottle in the fridge ahead of time to get it where you need it. (Check out this handy how-to guide from Wine Spectator on proper wine temps.)
Another good wine practice is to aerate your wines before enjoying. Letting the wine “breathe” opens up the aroma and flavor of the wine with almost no effort. It’s helpful for younger, more tannic reds and whites. You can aerate your wine easily by pouring it into a glass decanter or carafe, or by using one of those clever funnels that aerates instantly as you pour the wine through it.
Pictured left to right: Wine Enthusiast® N'FINITY PRO S Dual Zone Wine Cellar (Stainless Steel Door), Nachtmann Vivendi Decanter Set, Vinturi Essential Red Wine Aerator
6. Throw in some fancy hands-on stations.
Keep things lively by adding a bit of hands-on food fun for your guests. Set up a DIY s’mores station where guests can assemble their own desserts, or perhaps a cocktail bar where they can whisk up their own mixers with fresh ingredients. And for a retro throwback touch, try a chocolate fondue fountain alongside a tray of strawberries, marshmallows and pretzels.
Pictured: Nostalgia Electrics Mini Black Chocolate Fondue Fountain
7. Capture the magic with impromptu pics.
Encourage on-the-fly photos by placing a few disposable cameras around the house. Or better yet, leave out an instant camera so guests can snap pics and enjoy the photos immediately as take-home gifts. From friendly mingling to kisses stolen under the mistletoe to the inevitable late-night dance party that is bound to break out, capture every magical moment.
Pictured: Fujifilm Instax® Mini 25 Camera Bundle
Above all else …
… don’t forget to have fun with it! The holidays are a once-a-year celebration, so really live it up however it works for your house and occasion. This is your chance to share good cheer, love and laughter with friends and family, so include any touches that speak to your sense of holiday merriment.