Holiday party ideas for dinner table

15 Tips for Hosting a Christmas Party at Home

November 18, 2021

Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are over, it’s time to switch focus to the jolliest time of year, the holidays! Gathering together with family and friends is one the best parts about the holiday season, but pulling off a flawless celebration requires lots of planning and preparation. Get a jump start on the process by following these tips for hosting a holiday party at home!

1. Make a List

First and foremost, you should definitely create a to-do list as you begin thinking about holiday party ideas. Even if you don’t end up following the list to the T, it will help you to organize your thoughts and prioritize tasks.

If you aren’t too sure where to start when making the list, break it down into questions instead. Here are some examples of questions you should ask yourself:

  • Where should I hold the party? 
  • Who should I invite? How will I invite guests?
  • Am I buying or making food?
  • Should I offer party games?
  • What is the best day and time to throw the party?
  • What’s a realistic budget?

2. Think Like a Guest

When it comes to hosting a Christmas party at home, it’s a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Think about what the experience will be like for them from the moment they are greeted at the door to the moment they leave. Is there a place for guests to store their coats and valuables when they arrive? Where can they set down presents and food contributions? Is there a designated seating area? Where can they grab drinks and appetizers?

As you think through different scenarios, you’ll get more clarity on what sort of prep needs to be done around the house.

Guests at Christmas party

3. Send Invites Early

You can read as many blogs as you want about hosting a Christmas party at home, but it won’t mean much if your guests are unable to attend. The holidays are an extremely busy time for people, so be courteous and send invites out as early as possible. Not only is it considerate to give your guests ample time to RSVP, it also increases the likelihood of them being able to come because they aren’t committed to other plans yet.

4. Choose a Theme

While there’s no rule book that says you must have a theme for your holiday extravaganza, it sure makes your home look more magical. Sticking to a festive theme creates cohesion in your space and, of course, impresses your guests.

Remember that your theme can be as simple as choosing a color scheme or holiday-themed motif like snowflakes.

5. Keep It Cozy

Make your guests feel at home during your Christmas gathering by incorporating cozy decor touches. Light up your fireplace, set out extra blankets on the sofa, and toss some soft pillows on the floor for extra seating. You can even take this holiday party idea to the next level by giving away snuggly party favors like fuzzy socks.

6. Spruce Up the Bathroom

While decorating the living room and preparing the dining room are two of the biggest to-dos, you can’t forget about this tip for hosting holiday parties. Add a little festive flair to your guest bathroom and make sure it’s stocked up on all of the essentials like toilet paper, soap, and fresh hand towels. Scented candles and accessories that match your party theme are a couple other decorative items to include too.

Holiday-themed living room

7. Remove Breakables

A general tip for hosting holiday parties is to try and reduce your stress as much as possible. That’s why removing any breakables or valuables from your entertaining space is a good idea. The last thing you want to worry about as your hosting is whether or not curious kiddos are going to knock over your antique vase or precious art piece.

8. Cook Ahead

If you’re brave enough to cook most of the food you’ll be serving at your holiday party, this tip is meant for you. Rather than take it all on the day of the party, try your best to prepare as many dishes as you can ahead of time. Even if you cook some of the food the night before, it will still taste delicious the following day!

In addition to cooking ahead, be sure to stock up on plenty of snacks and finger foods, as well as beverages. 

9. Consider Buffet-Style Food

Who doesn’t love a good buffet dinner? If you have quite a few guests attending your celebration, consider having a more relaxed atmosphere with buffet-style food. Not only will it take pressure off of you having to serve everyone, it will encourage your guests to move around and mingle as they grab their plate of goodies.

To put this holiday party idea in action, move your buffet table away from the wall so that guests can form lines on either side.

10. Provide Plenty of Trash Cans

It may not be the most glamorous tip for hosting a holiday party, but setting out multiple trash cans is a must. For the convenience of you and your guests, place waste baskets in the areas you’ll be eating and socializing in. You’ll be happy you did once your guests leave and there isn’t a big mess of trash left behind!

Family cooking Christmas meal

11. Accept Help

Just because you volunteer to host a Christmas party at home does not mean you have to do all of the work yourself. As soon as your friends and family start to RSVP, they’re sure to offer their help in some small way or another. Graciously accept the help! It will get your guests more involved and excited for the party. Plus, it will allow you to relax more.

12. Set the Mood with Music

Is it really a holiday party without the soft sounds of Christmas classics like “Silver Bells” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside?” Set the mood for your gathering by playing seasonal tunes as quiet background noise. 

During dinner hour, try to avoid any songs with lyrics as that will make it more difficult to converse. 

13. Always Overestimate

Whether it’s drinks, dinnerware, or food, always overestimate the amount of supplies you need for your celebration. Hosting a Christmas party at home is stressful enough, but it’s a lot worse when you have to make a last minute grocery run during the event.

Cook that extra batch of mashed potatoes and buy one more carton of eggnog! If you have lots of leftovers at the end of the night, pack them up and give them to guests as a thank you for coming.

Friends gathered around during Christmas party

14. Arrange Strategically

Whenever there’s a party, people tend to gather around the food. Because of this, experts suggest strategically putting food stations where you want your guests to socialize. Want them to mingle around the living room and bar? Spread out your dishes in both areas and it will encourage your friends to socialize in that space.

15. Tackle a Deep Clean

This tip for hosting a holiday party goes without explanation. The deep clean is probably one of the most dreaded preparatory tasks of hosting, but there’s no way around it. From vacuuming and mopping to dusting and cleaning the bathroom, make your home spick-and-span for your guests’ arrival. 

Follow these holiday party ideas and your gathering is sure to be one for the memory books! As you prepare your home for the holidays, have some fun with these 8 festive crafts for a jolly holiday season.

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