With December just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to invite the holiday spirit into your home. Putting up decorations is lovely, and the smell of Christmas cookies baking in the oven is deeply comforting, but without the laughter of friends or family, your holiday house isn’t quite a home for the holidays. So make a plan to host a simple party that draws the kind of warmth you can’t get by adding another log to the fire. The key to pulling off a celebration of any kind within the month of December is keeping it simple. Everyone has a lot going on, so a clear, focused theme keeps the planning in check for both the host and guests. No need to go crazy, just follow three easy steps to host any of these five classic gatherings. Holiday Tree Trimming 1. Pick a date, customize your own holiday party invitations, and send it to your ten favorite people. 2. The day before your tree-trimming party, set up your tree so the boughs have time to relax. Make sure enough space is cleared that guests can easily move around the tree. Pre-test light strands, set out boxes of decorations, and cue up Christmas music on the stereo. 3. On the day of your party, put out a crockpot or an urn filled with hot cocoa, and set out a few plates of Christmas cookies. For an additional activity for kids, set up a station for making garlands – popcorn and cranberries for the older kids, looped construction paper for the younger kids.
Holiday Open House
1. Pick a date, customize this holiday party invite,, and send it to local friends and family members. 2. The great thing about a holiday open house is that you can keep things super casual. Simply choose a wide-open window of time one weekend afternoon/evening, then plan to have snackable items available for friends and family members who swing by within that time. 3. On the day of your party, simply cue up some holiday music and enjoy your company as they come and go.
1. Pick a date, customize this card, and send it to anyone who loves to bake – invite between five and seven guests. 2. Make sure you make the terms of the cookie exchange clear. Instruct guests to make a minimum of one dozen cookies for each guest in attendance, and to bring a copy of the recipe. 3. On the day of your party, all you have to supply is a beverage – coffee or hot cocoa – to accompany the cookie sampling, plus boxes, tissue paper and ribbons for packing up cookies to go.
1. Pick a date, customize this card, and send it to your favorite girlfriends or a handful of friends and family members. 2. You can either choose names from a hat ahead of time, instructing guests to bring the perfect ornament for that person, or you can ask guests to bring an ornament anyone would love. 3. To keep the party casual, request that guests bring their favorite holiday treat too. All you have to do is provide a few choices of beverages, and set a cozy scene for a festive celebration.
Christmas Cocktails1. Pick a date, customize this card, and send it to all the people you’ve been dying to have a fancy drink with. 2. Choose two killer cocktails to be at the center of the evening’s toasts – one that’s light and refreshing like a candy cane martini and one that’s warming like a Kentucky Christmas bourbon cocktail. Set up a station where guests can mix their own using a preprinted recipe card, plus all the right tools and ingredients. 3. Serve simple snacks that pair well with the cocktails you choose. Warm dips with fresh bread or a classic spread of cheese and crackers is plenty.
If you really want to make a statement, print recipe cards for everything from cookies to cocktails that match your original invitations, then send them home with guests as mini party favors. (Check out our previous post on how to create your own recipe cards here). But the most important thing is to NOT get caught up in the need to be perceived as Martha Stewart. It’s far more valuable to keep the celebrations simple so they actually happen!
Happy Holidays! Happy Mixbooking!