The magic of the holiday season is in full swing. Cheerful lights are twinkling, festive music resonates and an all-around feeling of joyful nostalgia fills the air. With the holidays, however, come the holiday parties. Whether you’re the host or the guest, holiday entertaining can be made simple with these tips from the pros.
Clinton Kelly, co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear and author of Freakin' Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else offers clever tips on how to make your holiday party the best on the block.
- Keep your entertaining space in mind and let it determine your party size. Calculate how many people can comfortably fit in your party location. “Unless you have a gigantic room," Clinton warns, "avoid the urge to go gigantic.” You want your guests to enjoy mingling without bumping into one another.
- If you’re concerned about enough space to seat and serve your guests, consider throwing a cocktail party with filling hors d’euvres. This will maximize space for mingling without sending people home hungry. On the same note, if you’re pressed for space, avoid oversized decorations and centerpieces. Settle for tasteful décor on a scale that complements your space.
- Take full advantage of the glow of candlelight. Candles make your space feel warm, cozy and inviting, as opposed to artificial lights that can seem overly bright and harsh. However, be conscious of where the candles are placed (avoid high-traffic areas to prevent accidents) and always keep them in sturdy holders.
- Clinton’s number one tip is to let your party reflect your personality. "Your table is a reflection of who you are as a host, just as your wardrobe is a reflection of who you are as a person." Put your guests at ease by ensuring everything has been taken care of. “A room full of cozy, well-fed guests equals one happy hostess.”
As for party guests, trying to find time to squeeze in neighborhood, office and family parties while choosing festively-appropriate attire and the perfect hostess gifts can make attending parties nearly as stressful as throwing them. Amanda Hinnant from REAL SIMPLE
magazine (realsimple.com) offers handy suggestions to help you relax and enjoy the holiday party scene.
- First and foremost, always RSVP, no matter how casual the party. The host will appreciate knowing how many guests to expect and can plan accordingly.
- At the office party, save special individual gifts for another time, so others don’t feel left out. Be sure to greet the company bigwigs at some point and express your gratitude and appreciation for working for them. Keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum so you’re not the talk of the office the next day. Upgrade your usual office attire and add a few accessories.
- For the New Year’s Eve bash, ask ahead what the attire is so you don’t over- or under-dress. A basket of tea, coffee, muffins and scones for the morning after is an ideal hostess gift they’ll surely enjoy. Be sure to recognize the cues for when to leave after the festivities – music turned down, lights turned up and the food trays staying empty. You don’t want to overstay your welcome.
- No matter what kind of holiday party you attend, whether it’s the neighbor down the street, the president of the company or your mother-in-law, a simple, yet sincere thank you note is always appreciated after the party.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a festive holiday season as a host or a guest.