How to Host a Holiday Bash

The season of celebrations is upon us! Hosting a holiday party may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s your guide to hosting a stress-free holiday bash.

Decide on the Date
It’s tempting to stall this step. But your guests need to know when the party is so they can plan ahead. When choosing the date, remember that your party doesn’t have to take place on the weekend — you can host your holiday bash during the week. Also, consider hosting your party between Christmas and New Years Eve, when schedules are slowing down for most people.

Don’t Ignore the Invites
You don’t have to send a card in the mail — an email or phone call will suffice. If you decide to send a printed invitation, then make sure the card matches your party’s theme. The invitation is the first impression of your party.

Think of Themes
Set the tone of your party by choosing a theme. Your theme can be fun and festive, like a tacky sweater party, or casual and understated, like a New Year’s Eve get-together. Once you’ve decided on the theme, you can move on to the decor and menu.

Do the Decor
Tap into your creative side when doing the party decorations. Here are few festive ideas.

Yuletide Topiary
Idea from Martha Stewart

One block of floral foam (or one block for the cone and another for the base)
Floral adhesive
Serrated knife
Cachepot or urn
Basin or tub
Florist’s cutters
Small Christmas balls with wire hangers

With a serrated knife, carve a foam base that will fit into the cachepot or urn. Set base into pot before shaping the rest of the foam.

Carve from top to bottom in long strokes, sloping outward until you produce a symmetrical cone. This cone should be several inches thinner than you want the finished tree to be, since carnations will thicken it considerably.

Fill a large tub with water and remove foam from pot. Float it on the water. Do not submerge foam. Once it has absorbed enough liquid, it will sink by itself. Remove foam from water after 20 to 30 minutes and replace it in pot.

Using florist’s cutters, trim carnation stems so that they are just long enough (about 1 inch) to insert securely into the foam. The few stems that will be positioned atop the arrangement may need to be even shorter, so that they don’t push one another out of the foam.

Keep adding carnations until all of the foam is hidden. Intersperse flowers with Christmas balls by sticking their wire hangers into foam.

Christmas Tree Place Cards
Idea from Martha Stewart

Branches from chopped firewood
Drill and small bit
Paper name tag
Gold star

Cut a tree branch into thin rounds.

Drill a hole in the center with a high-speed rotary drill or a regular drill with a small bit.

Insert sprigs of greenery, and position a cut-out paper name tag in the top of the branch, or tie on with colored twine. And don’t forget a star at the top.

Don’t Skip the Set Up
To make your party flow smoothly, think about the set up of your decor and food.

Place the food in an area that will allow plenty of room for your guests. Don’t block the bathroom with any decor or furniture. If you’re hosting a winter garden party, string twinkle lights along your fence and porch. This will invite guests to move in and out of the house.

Make a Menu
Perfect your party with festive foods. Here are a few recipes to try.

Warm Mulled Cider
Recipe from Real Simple

1 navel orange
½ gallon apple cider (not juice)
2 tablespoons honey
whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced
8 cinnamon sticks

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the orange to create long strips.

In a medium pot, bring the cider, honey, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and orange zest to a simmer. Do not boil. Heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Ladle into cups and serve warm with the cinnamon sticks.

Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto
Recipe from Real Simple

2 pears (such as Bosc or Bartlett), each cut into 8 wedges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup arugula
3 ounces blue cheese, cut into small pieces
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

In a large bowl, toss the pears and lemon juice.

Layer a slice of pear, an arugula leaf, and a piece of cheese on a piece of prosciutto and roll up.


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