Holiday parties are tricky. On the one hand, you’ve got a ready-made theme. On the other, you’re probably unwittingly competing against a number of other invitations your friends and family have received from other hosts, which means your festivities may be compared with others.
Here are a few tips that will make your holiday party stand out from the pack — no magical helper elves necessary.
1. Christmas tree, without the tree, a big NO NO. Make an Effort to be different here. Make it special.
2. Cranberries float: These sturdy red fruits seem like they were designed for holiday décor. Float some in a mason jar around candles for an impressive (and cheap) centerpiece like so.
3. Grown-up balloons: This tip actually comes from someone who did it for her toddler’s party, but it’s got a sophisticated air. Fill clear balloons with glitter before you inflate them and voila! Festive sparkling balls.
4. Potpourri is still a thing: You can instantly make people feel cozy and happy with a homemade batch of the stuff. The holiday season doubles your chances at pleasing all of your guests’ senses in the winter.
5. “Christmas” is in the air: Even if you’ve opted to skip the tree, or don’t celebrate the holiday, you can still get that lovely pine-tree scent with essential oils. Deposit a few drops onto a bowl full of pine cones for a natural scent diffuser.
6. Make-your-own hot chocolate bar: The fixings for hot chocolate are inherently beautiful, and you can up the ante with cute labels. (Feeling indulgent? Don’t forget the adult beverage additions, too.)
7. Punch without punch: The reason people traditionally serve punch at parties is so they don’t have to worry about mixing individual drinks.
8. Hat in hand: Party hats make amazing appetizer cones.
9. Not yo mama’s meatballs: Then again, you can pretend you got this recipe for orange-glazed meatballs made in a slow cooker from the old country and slaved over them all day for your guests.
10. Edible Santa: We never noticed how much Santa’s hat looked like strawberries until we saw this adorable recipe … and this much easier one.
11. Holiday card station: Photo booths with silly props are all the rage at weddings these days, but they’re just as fun at a holiday party.
12. Grown-up dreidel: These guys had the genius idea to combine the dreidel game with Texas hold ‘em. Players of all creeds (well, maybe limited to those who are OK with gambling) can enjoy it.
Most of all, have fun and relax.