Thinking about hosting a holiday cocktail party this year? How festive! ’Tis the season to celebrate with friends and family, and a holiday cocktail party is a great way to do so.
Here, I’ve rounded up my favorite ways to make this party totally stress-free.
Invite Well in Advance
Holidays are a busy season for everyone, so plan ahead and invite guests at least 3-4 weeks out.
You don’t have to send out a formal invitation; since it’s a cocktail party you can give friends a call or send out an e-vite.
Try to get a final headcount about a week in advance so you can plan for food and drinks. It’s O.K. to call and text those who haven’t gotten back to you so you’re sure of who is coming.
Make Food Easy
A holiday cocktail party means you don’t have to serve guests a full dinner! Instead, focus on small bites like holiday hors d’oeuvres.
Make your holiday appetizers ahead of time and look for recipes you can do in advance, in the instant pot, or your slow cooker. And outsource the little things. A homemade dip, for example, is always a great idea. But if you want a ton of mini macarons, it’s best to buy those.
Prep Your Fridge
Since you’ll be making as many items as possible ahead of time, be sure to prep your fridge and make room for everything! I recommend clearing things out a few days in advance and not planning on making any major meals that will result in tons of leftovers right before the party.
Use Your Food as Decor
Make holiday decorating easy by using your food as your decor. Plate small things on a tiered serving tray, look for cute bowls and platters and create a cohesive look.
You can even make holiday-themed appetizers, like this cypress Christmas wreath via Cafe Delights.
You may also like: The Gracious Dinner Party, How to Make Guests Feel Welcomed
Consider a Signature Cocktail
When you’re serving holiday cocktails for a crowd, it can feel like the pressure is really on. But you can simplify that by having a holiday party cocktail. This Christmas cocktail recipe via Kaylchip is both fun and festive.
Don’t Forget a Christmas Mocktail
It may be a holiday cocktail party, but you should also include something festive for your designated drivers and any guests who don’t drink alcoholic beverages.
You can set up an area with sparkling water with various flavors or make a Christmas mocktail like this Jingle Juice recipe via No Biggie. It adds to your holiday decor, is easy to pull together and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Let Guests Self-Serve
To make your holiday cocktail party as stress-free as possible, let guests self serve their drinks!
You can decorate a bar cart in a holiday theme where everyone can make their own holiday party cocktails.
Some festive elements like gold trimming, pinecones, ornaments and ribbon are all you really need. This Christmas bar cart idea I found on Pinterest is gorgeous and easy to re-create.
Make Holiday Decor Easy
Sometimes, less is more. So don’t overthink your holiday decor! You can use your Christmas tree ornaments around your food or on your table as seen here via Life with Mar. Bunch them up around some large decorative vases filled with flameless candles.
Or, display them on a tray as seen here via Heart Haven Home. Smaller ornaments like these work just as well!
An easy holiday centerpiece will also set the stage for your dinner table. I love this particular look via Glaminati featuring candy canes as a base with gorgeous Christmas florals on top.
Plan Everything Ahead
Planning ahead is really the key to making sure your holiday cocktail party goes off without a hitch.
Between deciding on your decor, food, entertainment needs and other logistics, there are a lot of things to keep track of.
Keep it simple by downloading this free party planning checklist, which will help you stay organized.
Don’t Forget to Enjoy!
Get ready early as you never know what can come up last minute. Take care of final touches, pour yourself a drink and relax and enjoy your holiday soirée!