As any host knows, the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. On top of finding the perfect present for everyone on your list, there’s the added pressure of throwing a party your guests will rave about for Christmases to come. Whether you’re having an intimate get together or a huge holiday bash, don’t sweat hosting this season; read on for tips and tricks that’ll help make entertaining easy.
IF HOSTING A SMALL SORIÉE: ENCOURAGE CONVERSATION WITH YOUR FURNITURE ARRANGEMENT
Most living rooms are designed around the television, but you don’t want your guests reaching for the remote while you’re entertaining. Rearrange your furniture to encourage conversations; depending on the size and shape of your room, you could group chairs inward toward a small table, or arrange additional seating — like ottomans or a bench — opposite the sofa.
IF HOSTING A BIG BASH: FREE UP FLAT SURFACES
If you’re hosting a party where there will be more people than you have chairs, be sure to take advantage of the flat surfaces in your home, repurposing pieces from other rooms if need be. Ottomans, poufs, stools and even sturdy side tables can double up as extra surfaces for seating, while consoles, buffets and coffee tables cleared of display can be utilized as extra serving stations or a space to set down drinks and plates.
IF HOSTING A SMALL SORIÉE: FOCUS YOUR PARTY AROUND ONE AREA OF THE HOME
If you’re prepping for an intimate get-together, focus your party around one common area of the home so that guests will know that’s where they should stay and mingle. Putting up decorations and setting out snacks is a great way to let guests know where the party’s at.
IF HOSTING A BIG BASH: SET UP DIFFERENT ENTERTAINMENT ZONES
The kitchen is a natural gathering hub, but it can quickly become crowded, especially in smaller spaces. Encourage guests to move around and mingle around your designated entertainment zones with multiple seating areas and small food stations in each room.
IF HOSTING A SMALL SORIÉE: DON’T BE AFRAID TO DECK THE HALLS
If you’ve got space to spare, enhance the party vibes by making your home feel as festive as possible. From adorning the fireplace mantel with garland to creating beautiful holiday vignettes, filling your home with holiday decor is sure to make your guests feel merry.
IF HOSTING A BIG BASH: KEEP DECOR AT A MINIMUM, AND FOCUS ON A THEME INSTEAD
If space is limited, keep holiday decor to a minimum and boost your home’s festive vibe using essential party pieces instead. Choose a theme or color scheme for items such as candles, napkins, tablecloths and charger plates so that your home still feels fun and festive without sacrificing space to larger decor pieces.
IF HOSTING A SMALL SORIÉE: WHIP UP YOUR SIGNATURE DRINK OR DISH
Preparing a signature drink or dish is easier to do for smaller groups, and is one of the best ways to let your guests know you’ve been thinking about them. Adding a sprig of greenery, berries or flower head is a great way to make a signature drink feel more festive.
IF HOSTING A BIG BASH: ORDER IN — AND LABEL EVERYTHING
Cooking for large groups can be stressful and time-consuming, so don’t be afraid to order in crowd-pleasing foods. For snack foods and charcuterie boards, which include cheeses, jams and meats, label everything so that guests — especially those with allergies — know what’s on the platter. Chalkboard stakes, like these ones from Michaels, are inexpensive and reusable.