As much fun as it is to attend the parties of others, there’s something about throwing your own holiday shindig that’s a little more enjoyable. But while the likes of Martha Stewart make hosting seem like a June Cleaver guide to life, the truth behind the best parties is that less is more. And while you may think you need 12 seats, a turkey and coordinating tablecloths, the more memorable parties are the ones that reflect their hosts.
It’s official: you don’t need to be a cook, chef or even slightly domestic to provide food at your party – the words “pot luck” exist for a reason. But if you feel bad asking your pals to bring their favourite dishes, the wide world of appetizers is only an oven setting away. Spring rolls, samosas and those delightful sausage pastries require only to be popped in the oven, and pre-packaged snacks are everywhere thanks to the holiday rush – because let’s be real: those “homemade” advocates never had to work 12 hour days like you do.
If you’re crafty, feel free to develop a brand new Christmas game that will take the world of party-goers by storm. But if you’re like the rest of us, board games like Scattegories, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit and even Scene It will keep both conversation and drinks flowing without having to explain anything or clean up afterwards. Besides, retro is back – why not apply it to your unique brand of party hosting?
Christmas music is great for a while, but if the words “dance party” begin to creep up, nobody’s going to want to bust a move to Nat King Cole (although he is quite lovely). This is the only part of your soiree that takes planning: a great playlist is an art, and in no universe should Cut Copy come on after Journey. You want to keep people dancing, drinking and doing their best impression of Elaine Benes at her work party, so music needs to flow. And if you’re not musically inclined? Ask the friend that is. Music snobs will gladly take the reigns and DJ – just be sure to give them a couple extra cookies.
The magic of gift giving can go one of two ways: if you’re only having your closest friends over, you clearly don’t need to plan ahead or worry about logistics, but if your place is the go-to for everyone and their brother, a good game of Yankee Swap will take care of the awkward “I drew so-and-so’s name, and have no idea what to get them”. Themed gifts are also slightly brilliant: in lieu of candles, vases and the rest of the generic gift roster, opt for wines, liquors, teas or movies. That way, it’s easier to swap without hurting anybody’s feelings, because let’s face it – we’ve all seen that Christmas episode of The Office.