‘Tis the holiday season, which means it is party time!       

There are work parties, family parties, friend parties and even neighborhood parties. Chances are your entire calendar for the month of December is booked out, bouncing about between social gatherings.

It is also a time for fun holiday traditions such as white elephant gift exchanges, mulled wine and mistletoe. The holiday lights will be out in full force, the Christmas carols will put you in the spirit and the ugly sweaters get a chance to shine once again.

For many, it is the highlight of the season. A chance to catch up with old and new friends, get to know your colleagues better and reunite with family. But for those that are doing the actual hosting, it can feel quite overwhelming. The pressure is on to make sure the holiday festive magic is there and that everyone in attendance has a great time that year.

So how can you make hosting the ultimate holiday party stress-free? And what are the recipes for success to ensure your party is the hit of the season?

To help guide you through the party planning process, we have created the ultimate guide for you to follow.

Here is everything you need to know about hosting the ultimate holiday party.

Step 1: Pick a Theme and Stick to It

First and foremost, you will want to decide what sort of them you want to have at your holiday party. Do you want to go for the traditional holiday décor and colors? Or do you want to re-create a scene from The Grinch and transport attendees to Whoville? Deciding on a theme is the first step you should always take as it will help you navigate your way through the rest of the planning process.

Step 2: Plan Out the Food Menu

You can’t have a holiday party without serving up delicious finger foods, courses and cocktails. Your theme will play a large part in helping you decide the type of food that will be appropriate for your holiday party. Guests should be offered food consistently throughout the party so that they never have a chance to think that they are actually hungry. If you are having a lot of people over for a mixer type event, going for finger foods and small bite items will help you cater for the crowd. And if you are going more intimate and hosting a holiday dinner party, then you should also make sure you can cater to everyone’s food allergies. Oh, and of course, if your budget allows why not consider hiring a catering company or pre-order party foot like traditional croqueta so the hard work is already one and you simply have to put in the oven, allowing you to be able to enjoy the party rather than slaving away in the kitchen.

Step 3:Over Order on the Booze

One way to make sure that all your guests have a fantastic time at your holiday party is to ensure they always have a drink in hand. Consider passing out champagne glasses upon arrival. Or get really creative and have a designated bar area that serves up more exotic choices like mezcal. It is better to have too much alcohol than not enough. Plus, you will likely be able to return any unopened alcohol to the vendors following the party if it is not used. But one sure way to kill the vibe at any holiday party is to run out of alcohol. Things will go from very merry to nightmare before Christmas vibes.

Step 4: Set the Atmosphere with Music

Another way to get the vibe up at your holiday party and to keep the vibe going throughout the day and night is by constantly having music playing. An easy way to do this is by creating a Spotify playlist with hundreds of songs, so it will automatically keep up the tunes for hours on end. There are already a ton of pre-curated holiday playlists out there as well. Or, you can really keep the party classy by dusting off your vinyl record player and making the jazz albums the star of the night. Again, the theme of your party will hugely dictate your music selection. And if all else fails, you can consider hiring in a professional DJ for the evening as well so you simply do not have to worry about the music.

Step 5: Decorate with Details

Transforming a space into a festive party all comes down to the details. Whether your party is at your home or in a venue, it is the thoughtful theming choices that can really make a space feel special and help create that magical vibe. For example, you can theme your party area out with forever roses. And since those roses last a lifetime, you can then use them as décor for your own home as well. You can find a lot of great ideas for decorating on various budgets on places such as Pinterest. And if decorating is not something that you personally enjoy, then the good news is that there are professional party theme companies who will plan and set up the decorations for you based on your brief.

Step 6: Get the Crowd Involved with Games

Another great way to really liven up the party and help loosen people up is by playing group games. If you aren’t sure what type of games you would want to play at your holiday party, consider getting something like the party pack from Jackbox Games, which sends you energetic and exciting games perfect for any party. There are also some holiday classics like a marshmallow stuffing contest or a gingerbread house decorating competition that will get the crowd bonding and excited.

Step 7: Write a Run Sheet

While you do not have to follow your run sheet to the letter of the law, a run sheet will allow you to pre-plan how the logistics of your party will work and can also act as a checklist for you too. Things to note are what time you need to be ready for the guests’ arrival time, when you want drinks or food served and when games or the dancing begins.

Step 8: Have Fun

This is the most important part to hosting any holiday party. You as the host have put a lot of time, effort and money into creating the perfect space. And once the big day finally arrives, it is your turn to have some fun as well. Rather than being stressed and trying to make everything perfect, you should be out there mingling with your guests, drinking all the drinks, eating all the food, and feeling merry.

So in conclusion, hosting the ultimate holiday party is not out of reach. It simply takes some pre-planning, some coordination and some creativity to make it happen. Start with choosing a theme and let them be the driving force behind all your party planning decisions. And above all, make sure you allow yourself to also enjoy the big day. As you out of everyone have put the most work into the event and deserve to have a great time.

With these six steps to follow, you are well on your way to planning the ultimate holiday party that will go down in the books as legendary.