I’m not going to lie, every party hack I know, my grandma taught me. She was always the hostess with the mostest, and known for her epic holiday party ideas. From costume parties to game night parties, she has been best remembered for her love of gathering people together during the holidays. It didn’t matter if you were blood related or just met at the grocery store five minutes ago—if you knew my grandma, you got invited to her epic, annual holiday party!
From my time helping her brainstorm holiday party ideas, to actually setting up for the party itself, I’ve picked up pretty much everything there is to know about hosting an unforgettable holiday party. The most important ones though, can be summed up in just seven tips. These seven holiday party ideas & tips have been formed over almost a century, so they’re not to be taken lightly! Please do NOT take this advice if you want people to forget your party. These tips are for unforgettable times only!
Holiday Party Ideas & Tips
Some of these holiday party ideas may seem simple, or obvious, but it’s not until you’ve hosted a big party that you realize how important they actually are! You can never have too many checklists, or be too prepared. I promise that with these seven holiday party ideas and tips, you’ll be stress-less for your next holiday fiesta!
1. Get Creative With Your Invitations
This tip is so easy to overlook, but I swear more people RSVP “yes” to a party that has fun and unique invitations! Whether you hand deliver them, make them 3D, or have a creative friend design them, the invitations completely set the stage for people. It tells them what to expect, how much they need to be there, and that this is no ordinary party they’ve been invited to!
2. Create Your Menu In Advance
Food is more than table decor. It should match the theme of the party, the mood, and most of all, the time of day. Decide what you want to be served well in advance. Get creative, and try to match the food to the theme. Will everyone be dressed as Santa Claus? Serve red and green food! Will people be mostly outside? Hot food and hot cocoa is probably a good idea! Even better if you can print out a few menus to display so people know exactly what their options are.
3. Have A Good Playlist
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with an awful DJ or band, you know how important this tip is. There’s no better use of your time than investing into making a great playlist. Just like with the food, be sure to match the vibe of the theme and guest list with the music chosen. One of the best holiday party ideas I got from my grandma is to have a playlist that’s double the amount of time of the party. That way you have room to get in the mood before the party starts, wiggle room to skip a song if it doesn’t fit in the moment, and some buffer songs for the friends that always stay way later than everyone else!
4. Serve A Signature Cocktail
To make a party truly memorable, you have to create something that’s completely your own. The invitations set the stage, but the cocktail reels the people in! Name it something fun, and make it totally gorgeous. That can mean having holiday themed glasses to serve them in, adding in edible glitter, or just having them be ridiculously delicious.
5. Style A Beautiful Tablescape
Have one area of the party where people can just admire the theme. This can include a ton of candy canes, gingerbread homes, cups of grab and go hot cocoa, anything that fits the overall theme of your particular holiday party! The purpose of this table is to be the sort of homebase. It’s where people can gather if they want to people-watch, take a pause from the dance floor, or simply enjoy the beauty of a tablescape!
6. Have Games Ready
While I’ll never understand why, not everyone loves to break it down on the dance floor. It’s just not for everyone. But to be a great host, you have to be able to cater to everyone. Having games ready to play is the key to an epic party. Even with a hundred dance-lovers in attendance, nothing beats some good old fashioned game competition. It can be card games, a relay race, or a family game that you get to teach everyone on the spot. Some of my favorite memories at parties have been with friends and family twisted up and laughing over a game.
7. Don’t Forget Dessert!
There are no better holiday party ideas than dessert ideas. Everyone loves a good sweet, and holiday party sweets are the BEST sweets. My favorite kind of desserts for parties are bite sized treats. That way, guests can have a little bit of everything without wasting an entire slice of something. Better yet, have to-go bags available for people to make their own goody bags! Not only do people love picking out their own “gift”, but it also helps with cleaning up!