By Guest Blogger, Heather McLeod
We are embarking on the prime weekend for holiday parties across the country and we want all of the hostesses out there to be prepared. So, we called in the experts and here are a few tips on how to throw a successful holiday party from our friends at Twist Entertaining.
We are assuming that at this point you are well aware of how many guests will be coming and that you have finalized the menu and drinks. Our quick tip for the menu: Think tasty, easy, small food items that guests can pop in their mouth. In regard to drinks, get them in your guest’s hands right when they walk in the door.
Now… We always write out a timeline for the day before and day of the party, so we know exactly what we need to do and at what time. It does not have to be elaborate; you just need to write down the details, which in the end will help you keep calm. Also, this helps you to realize that you can’t be in two places at once, so delegate.
Remember you also don’t have to make everything yourself. Order some things from a caterer or your local gourmet market. No one will ever know once you display the food on your serving trays. Be sure to serve things that can be eaten both hot and at room temperature. This makes things run smoother.
No one is expecting you to do everything. Hire a bartender or a friend’s daughter or son to help at the party or ask a friend. It is so nice to have someone help pick up plates and glasses during the party and to assist in the cleaning when the party is over.
Now hear this friends…Dim the lights. Nothing is worse than bad lighting. If you don’t have dimmers…well everyone should have dimmers on all of their lights. If you don’t have dimmers then purchase light bulbs in an amber hue to give off a soft glow.
Don’t chintz on the candles. An abundant amount of candles create a beautiful effect. Our advice is to not use scented candles. When guests arrive they do not need an overwhelming scent of pine or perfume slapping them in the face.
Music should always be playing when guests arrive because it sets the tone of the party and should go with your theme. So if you are throwing a Rockabilly Christmas then let the music help you set the theme as soon as guests enter. Also, the volume of the music should be soft as guests arrive. Raise the volume approximately one click for every 10 guests that arrive.
-Music at dinner should be at the level that your guests can easily talk over. The music should be soft and pleasant background music.
-Music towards the end of the night should be readjusted as guests leave…although I find we get louder as a good old dance party breaks out of nowhere – which is really the best kind
Temperature should be 70 degrees. You don’t want your house warmer than this…unless there is a huge blizzard outside and then adjust accordingly.
-70 degrees is an ideal temperature and a good place to start with 10 or so guests in your home. Turn you thermostat down one notch for each additional 10 guests.
-67 degrees is about as low as you should go…yes, even if you are doing a lot of cooking.
Leave pets in an off-limits room. You may think it’s cute when Blackberry the dog shares an hors d’oeuvre; your guests might not.
Jump in and introduce everyone. Ask some of your most outgoing friends to chat up the newcomers. It is so frustrating to see the same gang of friends just hang out with one another. Encourage everyone to mingle.
Your party will not be “perfect” so, don’t sweat the small stuff. If everything is not perfect, are the guests really going to notice? Don’t worry if all the napkins didn’t get folded or all the candles didn’t get lit. At the end of the night, all that matters is that everyone had fun. Right!!
Dress the Part: This is glitter season, so have fun and dress festive. You are the hostess, so everyone should notice you.
Most of all have fun!! It will be written all over your face if you are stressing out and you will bring the party down. So, chill out and have fun. We always reserve the 30 minutes before the guests arrive to sit down, have a cocktail, and check out our awesome party or seriously laugh off what didn’t work out so well. Throwing a party is fun and makes memories, cherish them all.
Thank you, Heather for making us smartier entertainers!