Years ago, when the mister and I were first married, we both agreed that the one thing we wanted to do together every holiday season was to throw a party the weekend before Christmas. Eleven years ago, we started this tradition and it continues every year. We’re all so busy during the year, and months can pass by so crazy fast when we don’t see our friends. This is just one way we choose to show others how much we care ~ we open our doors the Saturday before Christmas and invite them all in!
You know that scene at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when George Bailey looks around at all his friends and family and Harry toasts, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town!’ It chokes me up every single time! You too?
The moment in the film is about the importance of friends and a purpose filled life, but here’s what I always get from this classic: it doesn’t matter how elaborate or modest your home or your lifestyle, the best moments of the holiday season come from the togetherness and good spirits felt from surrounding ourselves with the ones we love. It has nothing to do with money.
To me, a holiday party is a great opportunity to capture that feeling. So many people hesitate to throw a party because they’re worried it will cost too much or their home isn’t presentable. Nonsense! Every year, our party has grown bigger (we’re talkin’ 100+) but we don’t spend a fortune. I enlist the help of some friends, but I don’t cater nor do I hire a bartender. (But I did hire a babysitter when the kids were little.)
I was inspired to write about our holiday party after I read 101 Party Do’s & Don’ts in the latest issue of House Beautiful. A worthy read, more tailored to the dinner party, but here’s a few more things I’ve learned over the years about how to make a crowd feel welcome without spending a fortune.
Tips for throwing a less stressful holiday party for a large crowd:
1) Decorate early! The weekend after Thanksgiving is decorating weekend! If you plan to do Black Friday shopping, then I recommend decorating even before Thanksgiving like the retail stores do. I know that sounds like you’re cheating on T-day, but if you’re throwing a party, get those baubles up early!
Concentrate your holiday decor where people will enter and congregate: the front porch, the entry, your kitchen, family room, dining room, and the powder room.
Your decor need not be elaborate. Some candles and greenery are all it takes, perhaps some ornaments and twinkle lights strung here and there, just enough to capture the holiday mood. It doesn’t take much! Melissa has some great tips today for easy ways to add a touch of Christmas to every room.
Resist the temptation to wait to decorate the week or day before your party, we’re talking about reducing stress, so decorating early is key!