The best part of the holiday season is spending time with friends and family, and there’s no better place to gather up all of your favorite people than right at home. But, as we all know too well, holiday gift shopping and a full work schedule can leave the average gal a little short on time and money around holiday time. With a few key elements, you can throw the ultimate cocktail party by planning ahead and keeping it simple.
Here’s how you can be the hostess with the mostest and throw the perfect holiday cocktail party without exhausting your time and budget.
Cocktail Party Food
What’s a party without great food? It can be a daunting task to cook for a large group, especially when you want to make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy. But when hosting a cocktail party, you can limit the food you serve to hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. Since the fare is on the lighter side, make sure you have a nice selection and plenty to last through the evening. Quiches are a great way to go since there is such a wide selection from which to choose, and they can be make beforehand and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until the big night. You will be able to accommodate all of your guest’s dietary needs by serving vegetarian quiches such as spinach and Swiss cheese, mushroom and asparagus or even an artichoke pie; and more hearty selections like quiche Lorraine or ham and potato quiche. You can get ready-made pie crusts in your grocer’s freezer section and whip up the rest in minutes in the weeks before the bash.
Keeping it simple is the way to go when planning your bar menu. Having a fully stocked bar can certainly become the most costly part of throwing a party, so in order to keep the selection to a minimum without sacrificing the fun, serve one or two easy-to-make signature drinks along with a selection of beer and local Long Island wines. Have a few signature cocktails already made so that the first guests to arrive will be able to sample the delectable drink of honor and get the party started. Choosing a simple drink with just a few ingredients as your signature will allow your guests to be able to easily re-create your masterpiece. Print out the recipe and keep it at the bar so that you will not have to play bartender throughout the evening.
Of course you will be throwing a party to remember, but a nice way for your guests to remember what a great time they had long after the party is over is to be able to enjoy a little keepsake as a warm reminder. There are many sentimental items from which to choose, but one of the most practical and long lasting is a holiday tree ornament. You can pick up a great selection or keep them all the same, or even make them yourself! Tie a velvet ribbon to a shiny holiday bell for a DIY project or buy a large multi-pack of the same ornaments and put them in a festive basket near the door when guests start to leave. If your party is not holiday themed, small jarred candles or baked goods are a great option.
Don’t forget to decorate with seasonal flare. You don’t have to choose a particular holiday to celebrate if you keep to a wonderful winter wonderland theme. Hang a winter wreath on your door so you’re your guests are greeted with winter cheer from the very start. Spray your windows with fake snow and add some glitter to your table runners. And if you are really creative you can make snowflake cut-outs of all sizes to display throughout the house. Fresh flowers with holiday greens and berries on the buffet will add that certain touch to the table, while a touch of garland greenery will bring the theme all together.
Now that you have all the details in place, make sure that you keep the party bright and lively. Take some time to find the perfect station or organize your Ipod selection beforehand. Playing a good selection of music is key to the mood to any good party. Cocktail party music is commonly a bit more low-key in style and volume, but you can play any genre of music you think your guests will enjoy. If you want to keep the party infused with a holiday theme, there are tons of more up-to date and up-beat holiday songs and tracks that you can add into the mix.
Keeping it simple will ensure that your cocktail party is a huge success and that you will be able to enjoy your friends and family, instead of spending the evening in the hot kitchen or behind the bar. And isn’t that why you had the party in the first place?
For more information about LI events and activities for the whole family, check out our Events Calendar.