From friendsgiving to New Years Eve and everything in between, holiday parties are easily my favorite part of the season.
Our twenties is the first time that many of us start hosting and attending adult holiday events (and footing the bill for them). As you may notice, however, being the ideal host(ess) with the most(est) is not second nature to everyone.
But don’t trip–help is on the way! If you follow these five tips then you’ll make any holiday party go smoothly for everyone involved:
1. Have enough to eat and drink
Now I don’t know about y’all, but running out of food or drinks (hard or soft beverages) is among the worst things that can happen at any party I’m throwing or attending.
As the host and party planner, organization is key to staying sane. Stay organized by keeping track of how many guests you invited and, of those, who is actually attending (and their +1 or however many, if allowed).
The earlier you can confirm the number of people, the earlier you can know how much stuff you need to buy.
Determine your menu of snacks, food, and desserts; the more options you have, the less you can make of everything. Also be mindful of your guests’ allergies and dietary restrictions.
If you need specific numbers for a reference point then use this helpful guide here.
2. Choose a signature drink
Speaking of food and drinks: If you’re planning a party and the liquor budget is looking tight, then consider making one or two signature cocktails and sticking to those. A few popular options are sangrias, punches, or margaritas. Pick some inexpensive alcohol, choose your other ingredients, and get the party going!
You can also serve seasonal drinks like apple cider or a hot cocoa bar to give your party a cute extra touch.
Additionally, you should consider having mocktail options available for guests who are sober or simply don’t want to drink at that time for whatever reason.
3. Don’t come empty handed
This one is strictly for the guests:
I hope I’m not the first person to tell you this, but showing up to someone’s home event empty-handed is tacky. Full stop. Especially during the holiday season.
If the party host has not specified what they’d like you to bring, then ask them if they need you anything. Even if they say they don’t need or expect anything it’s always nice to bring a bottle of wine/alcohol or a small host gift like a bouquet of flowers or a candle.
Since someone is opening their home to feed and entertain you, the least you can do is be polite and show a small gesture of appreciation.
4. Stick to what you know
I’ll make it plain: this is not the time to experiment.
If everyone loves your baked macaroni and cheese, then the holiday party is not where you try out the non-dairy or that *add random ingredient you saw on the internet* recipe for the first time. If desserts are more of your thing, then don’t volunteer to make the main dinner course.
Go with the things that you can make in your sleep (or at least ones you’ve made and enjoyed before). Please stick to the dishes and the bakes that you’re used to, or whatever TLC said.
5. Make your own traditions
Listen, I love a good family tradition and understand the value of keeping them alive; I’m an advocate for never forgetting the recipes. But let’s be honest: keeping up with grandma’s hands during the holidays can be EXHAUSTING.
My advice? Take the best and to hell with the rest.
You can opt out of the usual turkey and ham and go with something different. Or different side dishes. Try an entirely different cuisine if you want to. Use different decorations. Try a different playlist. Or don’t.
It’s totally fine to keep your favorite parts of your family’s traditions and create some new ones of your own. Every year is an opportunity to switch things up.