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Hosting Your Holiday Party

December 4, 2023

Holiday party hosts exchanging gifts and a close-up of UrbanStems bouquet, The Claus.

‘Tis the season for festive gatherings with family and friends. When you’re hosting a holiday party, you want your event to stand out among the many celebrations during this time of year. Whether you’re having an intimate cocktail party for close friends or a lavish celebration for extended family, you want to have a well-designed plan to create a truly unforgettable event. Discover plenty of festive inspiration in this guide to host a holiday party that will delight your guests.

  • Choose an Inspired Theme
  • Offer Specialty Cocktails and Mocktails
  • Design a Menu That Stands Out
  • Incorporate Live Entertainment
  • Provide Versatile Seating Options
  • Celebrate the Season With Favors
  • Design the Perfect Photo-Op
  • Offer Creative Entertainment Options
  • Give Your Guests a Night to Remember
Lifestyle image of a Poinsettia plant and gift with red bow.

Choose an Inspired Theme

Twinkling lights and dazzling decorations create a home that’s ready for a holiday party. Simplify your party planning by choosing a theme and letting that inspire your décor. For example, you can transform your space into a winter wonderland with all-white decorations accented by snowflakes, twinkling lights, and silver accents. Or, embrace the Christmas spirit and deck the halls in classic colors of the season, using red and green décor accented by holiday-themed patterns, such as plaid table linens. Incorporate greenery and blooms of the season, such as a wreath for the front door or stunning Christmas centerpieces from UrbanStems featuring red roses, white calla lilies, berries, and greenery. For a luxe look, opt for a metallic color scheme with gold and silver décor that dazzles. With a unified theme, you can design a holiday party that delights guests as soon as they step through your door.

Offer Specialty Cocktails and Mocktails

Most parties you attend probably have a bar stocked with staples: beer, wine, and some nonalcoholic options. While those beverages always work, for a spirited occasion, offer something unique for your guests to enjoy. Design a few specialty cocktails with a holiday twist. Try a gingerbread martini, a sparkling wine punch infused with cranberries and rosemary, or a spiked hot chocolate with whipped cream and crushed peppermint topping. Always have a nonalcoholic drink on hand as well — consider eggnog as a classic holiday treat.

Design a Menu That Stands Out

Your menu helps set the tone of your event, so think carefully about what fare you want to offer. Plated dinners are the most formal option and work best with a small guest list. A three-course meal catered by a local restaurant or cooked on-site by a hired chef can be a truly delightful experience, allowing you to savor the experience with your guests rather than trying to prep food all night. For a large crowd, consider a bountiful spread of hors d’oeuvres. Charcuterie boards filled with favorite meats, cheeses, dips, and nuts go a long way in feeding a crowd. No holiday party is complete without a sweet treat, so consider a cookie or candy table for dessert.

Incorporate Live Entertainment

If you want your holiday party to stand out, invest some money into your entertainment options. Live music elevates your event and energizes your guests. You can hire a string quartet to play cherished holiday songs. Or, opt for an acoustic singer to entertain the crowd. If you’re hosting your party in a large venue, you could even hire a band or DJ that’s sure to get guests on the dance floor. Your investment in entertainment will be well worth it, as music can guide your evening and entertain your guests throughout the event.

Provide Versatile Seating Options

Whether hosting a seated dinner party or a lively cocktail hour, you want to ensure your guests are comfortable and ready to socialize. Offering different seating options can encourage conversation and keep the event interesting. High-top tables work well for a cocktail party, and floral centerpieces can add a finishing touch. Incorporate some lounge areas, mixing and matching sofas, love seats, and cozy chairs to create a relaxing spot where guests can chat. Weather permitting, you can even use outdoor spaces for additional seating — but keep in mind that you might need some portable heaters on hand to keep everyone comfortable.

Celebrate the Season With Favors

Gift-giving is synonymous with the holiday season, so send your guests home with a favor that says, “Thanks for coming.” Choosing favors doesn’t have to be tricky — just focus on a few common types of gifts that are always a hit. First, consider consumables, such as a custom cookie or a miniature bottle of your favorite wine or champagne. Small bottles of luxury beauty products, such as a lotion or bath bombs, can be good options as well. Choose a holiday scent to stick with the party’s theme.

Next, consider offering a personalized holiday party favor. Try a customized coffee mug featuring each guest’s name or monogram, paired with hot chocolate and marshmallows for a post-party treat.

Design the Perfect Photo-Op

Let guests capture all the fun of your event by designing a spot that’s perfect for photos. An open room or blank wall is the canvas of your holiday-themed photo op for family and friends to enjoy. Incorporate string lights, evergreen trees with twinkling lights, and other holiday décor to create a stunning spot to capture the moment. For added fun, you can even throw in some festive accessories for guests to wear as they take photos. If you’re looking to make a statement, consider renting a photo booth, which prints photo strips that guests can take home as a memory of your event.

Offer Creative Entertainment Options

Lean into your knowledge of your guests to choose party entertainment that they’ll enjoy. If you have a lively crowd coming, some music and space to dance might be enough to keep them entertained all night. Hosting a crowd that loves games? Consider having everyone participate in a white elephant gift exchange at the party that’s sure to bring some laughs. Alternatively, you can support a good cause at your holiday party. Instead of a gift exchange, you can ask guests to bring a donation for a charity — think an unwrapped gift for a child in need or nonperishable foods for a local food bank. The holiday season is about giving, after all.

Give Your Guests a Night to Remember

The holiday season brings family and friends together to create lasting memories. As the host, it’s your job to design an event that your guests will remember. So, put on your holiday best and use these tips to inspire your party planning during this festive season.


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