Earlier in the week, we talked about how to be a most excellent party guest, but what if you’re suddenly overcome by the holiday spirit and decide to host your own last-minute get-together? Here are some tips for throwing a truly successful holiday ho-down.
Time is the essence
Since you’re being all spontaneous and everyone’s schedules are pretty jammed this time of year, start your party early, so people can stop by on their way to other events. A 5:30 start time means all your friends look fresh and at their best and they won’t stay long enough for you to get sick of them!
Lighting is FUNdamental
Have you ever been to a party that seemed good on paper, but left you feeling vaguely exposed and uncomfortable? The problem probably wasn’t you, it was the bright (God forbid, fluorescent) lights. A host(ess) can have every other element down, but if it’s lit up like a surgery suite, the whole evening can be thrown out of whack. So make use of lamps, not overheads, and scatter votive candles and fairy lights around for a most flattering glow.
Obviously you need to feed your guests, but when you do all the prep ahead of time, you have more time to mingle. After all, the point of having a party is to hang out and have fun with your friends, not spend the evening sweating in the kitchen while everyone else has a good time. For fun foodie ideas that can be whipped up ahead of time check here or here. If you want to make things real easy, Real Simple has some great ideas on how to turn takeout into party snacks.
Dazzle them with your dress
Since it’s your party you can go completely glam because you’re setting the dress code. A gorgeous metallic gown will add a touch of shimmer, while a beaded dress will sparkle brightly amidst the festive lighting.
Bubbly is best
Champagne, Prosecco, Lambrusco . . . whatever you do, choose bubbles. Carbonated wines are light and fun, simply by definition. They lend a festive air and help get your party off the ground. Sure, you can have other spirits, but only as long as you have something fizzy to serve first.
It’s the little things. . . .
Flowers and a scented candle in the bathroom, the scent of pine or cinnamon in the air, little bowls of snacks in unexpected places . . . these are just a few of the tiny touches that are easy to do, but are often overlooked in the rush to clean the floors, buy the ice, and shave your legs. And of course, make sure you have enough toilet paper (you’d be surprised), that your buzzer is working if you live in an apartment building, that your phone is with you, for last-minute questions from guests, and mostly, that you remember to let go and have a great time.