Whether you’ve already decided to throw a holiday party and need some help with the special touches, or are putting something together last minute, we’ve enlisted our party planning guru, Kristin Banta, to share some of her expert tips for hosting the Hautest Holiday Party of the season!
- If you are envisioning more of a cocktail party format but are concerned that guests will not have enough to eat, serve small dinner portions on individual tasting plates. Your guests will be well fed and served an array of more substantial bites all while still retaining a relaxed casual and social environment.
- Supplement tray passed hors d’oeuvres with interactive specialty stations like a gourmet grilled cheese bar where guests can come up with their own combinations from different cheese selections to ingredients like pulled pork, bacon, tomatoes and apple slices and have it grilled on the spot. Another favorite is a ramen noodle bar or pasta bar where guests can choose their ingredients, sauces and customized spice level.
- Consider a unique specialty cocktail or two to be served all night. As a fun interactive opportunity for guests, bring in a mixologist to teach guests how to create the cocktail themselves. This will instigate conversations and will allow an activity to organically bring guests together. For a takeaway, send them home with the drink recipes and mini bottles of the spirits used in the recipe.
- Instead of serving an hors d’oeuvre on its own, consider offering each paired with a special mini cocktail or wine or spirit. Possibilities include empanadas with small cordial glasses of sangria or bratwurst bites with mini shots of imported German beer. Guests will delight in having a more enhanced experience with the selected cuisine being served and it offers something else fun to create conversation.
- Think about fresh ways to encourage your guests to mingle and get to know each other. Place signage with funny or interesting questions that can serve as great conversation starters placed at your bars, lounges, food stations and cocktail tables.
- Shake up your dessert displays by presenting sweets in a new way – for instance consider clearing out your bookshelves to present a floor to ceiling display of varied mini pies on sticks or bread puddings in jars or a box your own truffle station complete with luxe mini boxes for guests to take home with them.
- Don’t over complicate decor – sometimes the simplest statements are the most editorial like an abundance of hurricanes and candles everywhere or one simple item repeated throughout whether that be guilders pine cones in bowls or white feathers in a variety of glass cloches or big wooden spools of yarn on pedestals. Repetition of simple items can create drama and interest.
- Holiday decor doesn’t have to be relegated to pine sprigs, ornaments and reindeer. Invest in an inexpensive movie projector to silently screen your favorite holiday movie on a wall of your home for thematic visual interest. Instead of placing Christmas ornaments around your home or feeling relegated to all things red and green, consider an alternative like fresh pomegranates, guided antlers, white pumpkins or LED string lights placed in glass jars.