Host for the Holidays: 12 Tips for Making Magic at Home

The holiday season is here, and with it comes cookie swaps, holiday brunches, cocktail parties, and good old fashioned get-togethers! ‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry, so make it as stress-free as you can with these 12 tips for holiday hosting at home.

Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

  1. Choose a color palette: Red and green is traditional. Silver and gold is classy. All white is bright, while all red makes a bold statement. If you’re feeling creative, try an unusual shade from each of the red and green color families, such as fuschia pink and lime green. 
  1. Declutter: Just like when you’re preparing a home for the market, preparing for a holiday party is the perfect time to declutter your house. The less you have out, the less mess you’ll have to clean up after the party is over. Simplify your space–you’ll be glad you did.
  1. Keep it simple: No need to go overboard with decor. Some fresh greenery or flower bouquets can elevate your space without breaking the bank or stressing you out.
  2. Light it up: Make your holiday home sparkle with some thoughtfully placed strings of lights. Adhesive hooks will be your best friend for damage-free hanging. You can also use built-in features of your home: hang lights from curtain rods, around staircase banisters, or on bookshelves. 

Holiday Entertaining Tips

  1. Make a move: Encourage your guests to move around your house throughout the party by planning each course or portion in different areas. Appetizers and/or cocktails can be set up in one space to kick it off, then move to the dinner table for the main course. Dessert can move to a more comfortable space like your living room or around a fireplace. Not only does this make the party feel well-planned and exciting, it is also an excellent way to show off your home!
  1. Set the mood with music: You can’t call it a party until there’s music! The goal here is to create or find a playlist that includes both mellow and upbeat songs without being too overwhelming or distracting. Pandora or Spotify make great playlists for entertaining!
  1. Prep, prep, prep! The more food and drinks you have ready to go ahead of time, the more time you have to be present with your guests. Have a drink cart or counter stocked and ready for guests to make drinks on their own. Set out hors’ d’oeuvres, and make sure all your time-consuming tasks are done well before your first guest arrives.

Unique Holiday Theme Party Ideas

  1. Trim the Tree Party: This is the perfect way to host a house-warming party over the holidays! Invite guests to bring a house-warming gift to hang on an empty tree. If you haven’t recently moved into a new home, donations can be given to a family in need or a local organization. 
  1. Traveling Light Show Party: Send your guests a map of local light displays with their invitation. Invite them to visit the light displays starting at sundown on the night of your party, and then finish the night at your home for drinks and dessert. Hot cocoa and cookies are an easy crowd pleaser! If you’re local to Eastern Iowa, Iowa City Moms put together this great list and map of local Christmas light displays!
  1. Wrap & Rap Party: Invite a few close friends to bring over their presents and wrapping supplies. (Not too many people, as you’ll need plenty of floor space!) Blast some rap music and wrap presents together!
  1. Christmas Past Party: This party theme is all about nostalgia and memories of the past. Invite your guests to bring a favorite dish from childhood, have vintage Christmas movies playing, and pass the time by participating in old-fashioned holiday crafts like stringing cranberries or making pomanders.
  1. Roast & Toast Party: Put your fireplace to work with a party centered around the fire. Roast marshmallows and raise your glasses to toast to all the blessings of the year. Don’t have a fire? Consider a tabletop fireplace or s’mores bar! 

With these 12 tips, you can be the hostess with the mostest this holiday season! Happy entertaining!

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