Tips > How to Throw a Christmas Party
A Christmas party can be a major undertaking or a low-key
gathering of friends. Be sure you plan ahead, since
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone.
- Plan your party. Decide whether you want a big bash with a bartender, catered food and a DJ, or if you'd rather have a more casual evening with friends - or something in between. Consult several party books and decide on a budget before making up your mind.
- Get your party on the calendar. It's often best to schedule a Christmas party several weeks before Christmas - before calendars are filled with other activities, shopping and baking.
- Make a guest list. Ask as many people as you can accommodate to a sit-down dinner, or as many people as your house will hold for a cordial get-together with finger foods and drinks.
- Decide on a menu. If you are having the meal catered, consult with the caterer and choose a menu, or plan your own.
- Send invitations. Invitations should go out as early in December as possible so that your guests can schedule the party and RSVP. Be sure to include times, let guests know if a meal will be served, and mention appropriate dress.
- Decorate. Your decor should include the traditional Christmas tree, plus lots of candles, centerpieces (if appropriate) and other holiday decorations.
- Buy the food, beverages, paper goods and flowers you will need for the party.
- Make hors d'oeuvres, arrange the flowers, cook the food and chill the wine as appropriate, and set the tables or arrange the serving table.
- Just before guests arrive, light the candles, turn on some soft Christmas music, set out the hors d'oeuvres, and bring out the punch or open the bar.
- Have fun!
People really like to dress up at Christmastime, so a dressy cocktail party is always a winning idea.
More casual Christmas party ideas include a caroling party, where guests go caroling and come back to your house for hot mulled cider and Christmas cookies; a soup extravaganza, where guests bring their favorite homemade soup and you provide hors d'oeuvres, bread and dessert; or a tree-trimming party, where guests make popcorn and cranberry strands, popcorn balls, and Christmas cookies for decorating the tree, then stay for treats.
Be sure to have nonalcoholic drinks on hand for those who do not partake of alcoholic beverages.
Try not to take on more than you can comfortably deal with or afford. Remember, you still have to do your shopping and baking. Save some energy for the big day.
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