Posts Tagged ‘holiday party’

Holiday Party Tips!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

We’re getting ready to invite a ton of people to our home this month to celebrate the season at our annual Christmas Party and we’ve been doing it for over ten years. A few of you sent me some emails about how we do it, so I thought I’d share some tips.

We’ve come up with a few tricks for making it flow smoothly, and not come across as too fussy, just a lot of people having a lot of fun. We host our party every year the Saturday before Christmas and it’s a big party with 100 people invited and we usually get a big turnout so we prepare for a crowd. 

In the past we’ve started with an icebreaker game, this was before everyone knew everyone like they do now, but it’s a great idea if you’re mixing a lot of people that don’t know each other, we call it the Guess Me Game and we stick the name of a character on people’s backs, they have to ask yes or no questions of other guests to figure it out and it always gets guests talking!

For more game ideas, Apartment Therapy published a list of great party games today.

guess me holiday party game


Sometimes we assign someone the role of greeter (my dad is so good at it) but I’ve also used a sign on the door inviting people to come in on their own since it gets loud and it’s hard to hear the doorbell! I set up a collapsible garment rack (like this one) in my office for coats and purses so they can enter on their own and join in the merriment.  

sign on door

We learned the hard way to have kids remove shoes – we ended up with horribly muddy carpet one year so we ask just the kids not the grown ups to remove their shoes and magically it calms them down too. We play a movie for them and hand out candy canes, it keeps them happy while parents socialize.      

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Throw a Less Stressful Holiday Party!

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

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?

harry toast its a wonderful life

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:  

country living entry table1) 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!

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