The best part of the Holiday season is the spirit, right? The gathering of friends and family. People you love, but might not see all of the time. People who come from near and far. There are work parties and gatherings with acquaintances or peers. I’m a young adult, I am only 20, I have never hosted a holiday cocktail or dinner party or actually “hosted” a party of any kind in my entire life. But, I have faith that I could do a decent job. With lessons from my lovely mother, grandmother, and the book The Art Of Southern Charm: Patricia Altschul, here are some tips on how to be the host/hostess with the mostess (lol).
1. Invites Should Be Hand-Written.
I think I am the only person under 30 who still writes handwritten thank you cards and things of that manner, and that is ok. I feel as if a good hand-written note is one of the most special things you could give a person. It feels personal, and as if you are throwing the party just for them. From Patricia’s book, a written invitation can say a lot, such as the heavier the card stock, the more formal the event. The only time I would say use an email invite is if it is a work event, or you are looking for an attendance of over 50. Get some good paper and a pen you love, a roll of stamps, and get to work!
2. Plan in advance.
On the day, you should know when food will be there (if catered) or have all of the ingredients for things that couldn’t be prepared ahead of time, have a fully stocked bar of some kind, some decorations, a playlist, and a clean environment. Get as much done ahead of time so the day of, it is more relaxing and you have some time to yourself before you are busy during the whole gathering, people tend to stick next to the hostess when they do not know anyone else, so you’re not going to have much free time.
3. Have A Theme.
People love a theme, I honestly think it is some primal instinct to get excited about themed parties. For more formal parties or big networking events, maybe have a more broad theme, to include everyone’s Holiday Preferences such as “Holiday Bash” or something. This could include non-religious symbols and a lot of seasonal colors (red, white, gold, green, blue, silver). For more intimate gatherings at home or a smaller space, do something more specific like a white Christmas. This can mean white Christmas trees, strictly metallic decorations (gold and silver) and guests can only wear neutrals or whites. Themes also allow room for creativity in little ways, such as signature cocktails or cute pun names for appetizers.
4. Have A Set Time Frame.
This might sound a hit boring and annoying of you to do, but if you have a set time frame of the party on your invitations, those guests who you do not particularly want to hang out with all night will have a specific time to leave, and your close friends and family know to stay later. This also works if you have kids you need to put to bed, or work the next day. You are allowing yourself time to clean up, de-stress, and have a good nights sleep.
5. Don’t Have A Cash Bar.
Seriously, just have an open bar. Don’t be rude. The bartenders know when to cut people off and there is no need for drink tickets or overpriced glasses of wine. Let everyone enjoy their night.
6. Relax and Have Fun.
No one likes a strict, no-fun host/hostess. If you are running around all night trying to make sure everything is perfect and in order, you’re going to be miserable at your own party. If you prepared thoroughly, you’re fine. Eat, drink, and be merry with your guests. That’s what the Holidays are about.
Happy Holidays! Drink safely!