- by Cindy
By: Hannah Kaiser
This year, it seems like the holiday season has been in full swing since the dawn of November. While some believe the early start to be too premature, many delight in the excessive merriment. Though if there’s one event that neither the merriest celebrator nor the biggest Scrooge can resist it would be a holiday cocktail party. Festive drinks paired with an array of hors d'oeuvres, soft Christmas music and Yuletide decorations, all these things create the perfect holiday gathering that will far surpass the average Christmas party at your work. Yet the thought of putting on such an event, especially among all the other demands the season brings, sends many running the other direction. Most wouldn’t even touch the idea with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole.
But I’m here to tell you that hosting a holiday cocktail party doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. In fact, throwing such a get together for all your loved ones might just be the star on top of the Christmas tree. To set the perfect atmosphere for your party, make sure to decorate your house with some trendy holiday décor. My go-to will always be garlands. This décor offers many different styles and placement options, so each host can find the perfect fit for their party’s style. If you have the time, dry some orange slices in the oven and string together your own handmade garland along with cranberries and popcorn. If the DIY route is not for you, a beautiful beaded garland, such as this one, or some fresh green swag from the florists would do the trick. Drape the garland over your fireplace mantle, hang it up on the front door or a wall, or even run it along the table.
Another holiday decoration I’ve been seeing around is the white ceramic house. These candleholders give off the perfect warm glow and look classy on any surface. Nestle a few houses among some pine branches and ornaments on your dining table or mantle for a gorgeous display. Arguably the most vital part of any Cocktail Party is the drinks. Make sure to have plenty for your guests. Serve a variety of festive beverages or, if you wish to go the simpler route, offer one special cocktail (such as a Christmas sangria with red and green fruits or a cranberry mimosa) alongside wine and champagne. You can find a list of 46 Holiday Cocktails recipes at this link. And while the drinks are essential, this doesn’t mean you can slack on the food. To avoid hungry guests, serve an assortment of finger foods they can munch on with their drinks.
If the thought of preparing many dishes overwhelms you, you can always strategize to make larger portions of only a few dishes. A recipe my guests always love is this Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Truffles. These red and green truffles look elegant served atop water crackers. The four ingredient Grape Jelly Meatballs are as simple as they are tasty. Your guests will delight over this sweet and savory combination. For a holiday treat, Sparkling Cranberries are surprisingly delicious. Make sure you plan ahead with this dish. Soaked in sugar water for three days, these once tart fruits become perfectly sweet. And they really do sparkle, making them a beautiful addition to your table.
Finally, party favors are not just for kids. Send your guests off with something to remember you're party with. A small jar of homemade hot cocoa mix, maybe even paired with a mini bottle of Baileys, is a fun option for adults. Or choose some homemade peppermint bark to leave your guests with a sweet treat. And if you find yourself simply as a guest at a holiday party, you still have a role to play.
Bring a festive gift to thank the host for opening up their place. Instead of flowers, opt for a fresh wreath from your local florist, or bring a wintery candle that gives off a cozy holiday aroma. Making sure the host feels appreciated helps them have an enjoyable time alongside their guests, resulting in a fun and relaxing celebration for everyone involved.