Written by Guest Writer Sophie Lyddon, Editor-in-Chief of SocietyGoesWild.com
A holiday party is a fabulous way to bring people together and do something fun — but hosting a festive shindig at home doesn’t mean you have to throw a nightmare house party.
Here are 10 easy and sophisticated ways to impress everyone at your party with your party decor, food and hostess etiquette.
1. Scoring a prize
While lottery-style ticket announcements for the best special holiday treats are festive and fun, too much color on the table will turn everyone off. Instead, put cards with the lucky name on it near the buffet, by the drinks area or near the cookies and snacks.
Soak some candy canes in apple sauce and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. The ice cream will melt and the toppings will melt off too, but the flavor will be preserved.
2. Turning tables into dressing rooms
Best table setting advice for guests, however, is all about old-fashioned tablecloths, napkins and silverware. Tables will always look more formal than they do plain, so a touch of splendor is expected — and doesn’t feel overdone.
The ideal tablecloth is cloth. Elegant tablecloths are removable and easy to remove for the first guest and for clean-up.
For your tablecloth, choose soft fabrics with a longer weave and less color, such as chintz. Use pieces in rich pastels, such as gold, red and jewel tones. A tablecloth in a pattern, such as a floral, adds interest and style.
Cover the tablecloth with a scented or hanging curtain. For a dramatic effect, spritz your table cloth with mist, make sure it goes over the front of the table, and hang the curtain outside the house. The soft perfume will give your table a whole new dimension.
3. Not too much space
The festival spirit doesn’t mean more food, but more movement. Set the table on a level surface by placing platters on the center of the table rather than top-of-the-range, fancy placesettings.
This way, all the food — and, of course, more movement — will be on the right level.
For taller guests, or those who don’t enjoy having their elbows in the soup, try placing their place setting a few inches above where the plate rests. This way, they’ll feel more comfortable.
4. Opting for knives in the right places
Entertaining an audience is a skill, but it doesn’t take a master chef to serve delicious food. Less is more when it comes to food.
Most guests will probably have the edge-to-edge chicken legs, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. We really love that the party plate is placed under these to save space. If it’s not serving food, you may even need to sharpen the knife in the center of the dish.
5. Nothing too sweet
Remember to fill the whole room with fun, trendy decorations that sparkle and catch the eye without overpowering the festive color scheme. Sooty pinecones or carved fireplaces don’t need to be put up all over your home — just placed on one spot on the table.
Glow-in-the-dark crafts are fun and festive — use them outside too. Many LED floor lights are able to turn off completely when not in use, saving you cash in the long run and letting natural light shine through the decorations. They don’t even need to be activated until the party guests arrive to help light up the whole room, too.
6. Securing the mace
The first rule of house parties is that everyone needs to know who gets to hold the mace. Lock the mace in a jar or similar carry on device so everyone knows where it is.
You can even have a designated drink spigot handle held by a decorative lasso for guests. And if you don’t have one, pick up an old, common white-handled bottle of Mace when you’re stocking the fridge or pantry.
Even if the mace is not your property, it’s important to keep it stocked on hand at all times. If the goons arrive and don’t believe the real Mace is around, you can always tell them to go to the chair and leave the Mace behind.
7. Wearing a party hat
If you don’t wear a party hat, guests will find it hard to tell who was hosting the event and who isn’t. Go for big bows, lace and strings of festive lights on the outside of your hat.
For even more impact, use a long party hat covered in vivid Christmas colors or fun sparkly baubles