Last week, Mr Science and I hosted a lovely little holiday cocktail party. I adore hosting parties (like, seriously. It’s ridiculous how much I love having people over as long as I have planned and prepared accordingly ;)), and figured I’d pass along some quick tips in case you have any upcoming events to host at this time of year:
- Create multiple, in-dept lists at least one week before the party. These lists should have a general idea of who will be attending, the types of food and beverage you plan on providing, and your to-do list leading up to the party. I would recommend doing this three weeks in advance to give yourself plenty of preparation time (so it is perfect for you to be reading this blog post right now if you are planning to host a New Year’s Eve party!). Figure out what you will need to do the week leading up to the party, the day before the party, and the day of the party. Now is also a good time to send out the invite to your guests!
- The week before the party, crack down on the food and beverage menu. If you will be hosting more than a dozen people, you should nail down the menu two weeks in advance of the party.
- Stick with easy-to-eat finger foods. Go with things like chips / crackers with dip, cheese, veggies, pre-cut brownies, cookies, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (those things disappear when Mr Science makes them!), stuffed mushrooms, etc. If you can make things ahead of time and if they can be served at room temperature rather than piping hot, even better.
- Always make sure you have more food than you think you will need. Mr Science and I pride ourselves on being all about the food (and, *cough*, beverages) for our parties—there has only ever been one occasion in which I underestimated the amount of food we’d need at a wine & cheese, and I shall never make that mistake again. Assume that all of your guests are really hungry: worst case scenario, you’ll have dinner for the next four days (did I say “worst”?).
- Keep it simple with the beverages. For our holiday cocktail part last year (yeah. It’s an annual thing ;)), we offered more than six different cocktails. And that was awesome, except it makes it challenging for guests to choose between all the drink options! If you’re having a smaller party (a dozen people or fewer), aim to have one to three cocktail recipes on offer at your party. I recommend having additional beverage options on hand just in case guests want to make different cocktails.
- Always provide several non-alcoholic beverage options. This one is easy to overlook when you’re hosting, but it is much appreciated by the DDs!
- Have good music on hand. Get yourself a Spotify account and choose from any of the playlists on offer (might I recommend Mr. Science’s Indie Evolution playlist? :)). Music is a must!
- Bring the food and drink to wherever the guest are. In our little 700-square-foot open-concept condo, this isn’t really an issue: we have the bar set up in our massive kitchen, and the tapas on the coffee table in the living room. But if you want your guests to congregate in one area of your house, bring it to them. Otherwise everyone will just end up in the kitchen (you just know that’s going to happen).
- Don’t neglect the details. Have piles of napkins at the ready, and ensure that fresh glasses, plates, and cutlery are easily available. Take the time to do something with the decor, too: Mr. Science and I usually keep it simple with lighting some candles, but at this time of year, we add holiday garland, fairy lights, and other festive touches (one of my favorite people, Carly, always has the best party decor when she’s hosting—get inspired by other people in your life who are hosting events!).
Got any other holiday hosting tips? Do you love hosting parties? Are you hosting any events this holiday season? Share in the comments section below!
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