There are people in this world who have a natural ability to put together the most memorable holiday parties, with perfect decorations, beautifully crafted cocktails, and food that looks and tastes absolutely amazing. And then there’s the rest of us—we have to work at it a little bit more.
The key to holiday entertaining—and, really, to throwing any kind of party—is to do a lot of planning and get as much work done in advance as possible. Prepping for a get-together doesn’t start the morning of—get started a week before and do a little bit of cooking, baking, and decorating everyday so you’re not in a harried rush the day of the party.
Here are some tips for throwing the perfect holiday party—stress-free!
Skip the Cocktails and Opt for Punch
Because who wants to play bartender all night? Put together a self-serve punch or sangria or opt for a single, signature drink for your party. We shared this and some of our other favorite tips to help you prepare for holiday guests with ease on Live. Love. Lux.
Make Your House Smell Like the Holidays
If you’ve got some room on the stovetop, a festive pot simmer recipe will fill your whole house with holiday scents. And if you don’t have room on the stove, try one of these holiday room sprays, which are made with essential oils so they won’t irritate guests with sensitivities to chemical fragrances.
Prepare Your Apps in Advance
While baked dips and hot appetizers are always delicious, they also take up valuable space in the oven when you should be cooking dinner. And once they go cold, they’re not nearly as appealing.
Instead, opt for a gorgeous crudite platter, which is easy to put together in advance—we show you how here. Pair it with Roasted Garlic Herb White Bean Dip or Asian-Inspired Edamame Hummus or make things even easier on yourself pick up a variety of dips from the grocery store!
Don’t Go Overboard on Dessert
Between the appetizers and dinner and drinks, you really don’t need to go all out for dessert. Honest! Keep things light with these make-ahead healthy holiday trifles or put out an assortment of easy-to-make cookies and candies, like our Chai-Spiced Raw Macaroons and Homemade Buckeyes.
Send Them Home With Something Special
When you’re setting the table, place a small handmade gift beside each guest’s plate. This year, my daughter and I are making these holiday wax sachets to give as gifts. For a party with your girlfriends, a sugar scrub trio is sure to be a hit, as will these layered scented candles.