How To Throw A Holiday Party

True story: The first time I ever gave an open house in Los Angeles, someone asked me if the party had anything to do with real estate. christmas-plaid-bowtie-red-black-white

Perhaps it’s a southern thing. I thought the concept was universally familiar, but then again, I grew up throwing an annual mother-daughter Christmas tea.

If you’re thinking of having a holiday bash, now is the time to start planning. People’s social calendars fill right up, so it’s best to get your invitations out soon after Thanksgiving.

I’m a big believer in the notion of the open house. Why?

  • They’re the easiest possible parties to throw. No big dinner. No full bar. Just a house full of friends, festivity and fun.
  • It’s efficient. You can invite everyone you know and quickly reciprocate all the lovely invitations you’ve received throughout the year.
  • You won’t have to compete to get on people’s calendars. Choose a weekend afternoon early in December. No one will have left town yet, and guests can swing by on their way to other parties later that night.
  • It’s Christmas. Having a big, noisy, more-the-merrier kind of bash is just the right thing to do.

Here are a few other time-tested Annabel Manners party tips:

Spread the Word
My favorite way to get started is to choose invitations that set the tone. (The onespictured here came from paperstyle.com.) Another option: send a chic, digital invitation from a site like paperlesspost.

Haul Out the Holly
Get your decorations out, trim the tree, and tack a wreath on the door. While you’re at it, build a party playlist that sets precisely the right musical mood.

Make a List
Whenever I entertain, I jot down a long list of potential nibbles, then pare it down to create a yummy, balanced menu. For an open house, all you need are a few savory hors d’oeuvres, little bowls of nuts, a cheese plate, and some sweet holiday treats. Not a cook? Stock up on apps and goodies at Costco or Trader Joes, then put everything on cute silver trays. Done.

Mix It Up
Keep the drinks simple. A little prosecco, some beer in the fridge, maybe a signature cocktail if you’re feeling extravagant. Oh, and I always do spiced cider on the stove because it makes the whole house smell like Christmas.

Time It Right
Fling open the doors and give it your hostessing best during a brief, boisterous window like 2-5 or 3-6. Mingle, be merry, and most of all, enjoy your guests.

In short, Thanksgiving is next week, which means Christmas is five minutes away. Let’s face it (and embrace it) in style!

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