Holiday Tips: How to Host a Holiday Party

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent Sunday morning at my second Pottery Barn class. This time, the focus was on how to host the perfect holiday party. 


I’m blessed to be surrounded by a husband and a best friend who are both naturally talented at hosting. Me? Notsomuch. I have to go to classes. And take notes.

But, as I’ve learned through my time as a blogger, I’m never the ONLY ONE. That said, I thought I’d share my notes with you, as well as some items that I’d love to purchase – immediately after I win the lottery.

  • For a less formal party, it’s appropriate to send out invites via social media. Think: Facebook, evites, etc.
  • For a formal party, evites won’t fly. It’s appropriate to send out a written invitation at least three weeks in advance.
  • When hosting a buffet meal, decorate your serving table with varying heights to add depth. It’s all about visual appeal, people!

  • Have your food and beverages on different tables. Because it’s always awkward trying to refill a drink when you’ve got your hands full of food. 
  • If you’re made of money, buy one these things, so your wine-loving friends can just help themselves.

Click here, money bags.

  • Do all your prep ahead of time! Do NOT put yourself in a position where you’re sweating over a hot stove when your gusts show up. That would not be cute. 
  • Themes, themes, themes!! Give me a piece of literature, and I’ll give you a theme in no time. Give me a hosting duty, and I got nothin’. A good theme is essential for a put-together holiday party, and it’s also a clever way to create conversation amongst guest who don’t know each other. Pottery Barn’s 12 Days of Christmas set is TO DIE FOR. I want every piece.

 Click here for the whole set

  • When hosting a sit down dinner, strategically set up your place cards. Put talkative people next to quiet people, split up couples, and put argumentative people as far away from each other as possible!
  • When hosting a cocktail party, set your limit at 4 – 5 appetizers. Also, don’t go spend a fortune on liquor; 2 – 3 signature drinks is appropriate. Lastly, always make sure to have beverages for the DDs!
  • Not into dinner or drinks? Host a cookies and coffee party! A good tip: Cakes and pies are nice, but they loose their visual appeal after a slice or two. Make sure to have a variety of cookies, and warm coffee ready when your guests arrive. I think it’d be best if you serve them in these mugs 😉

Click here for the mugs

  • Lastly, don’t forget the tunes! The music gets everyone in the holiday mood!

What, just me? 😉

Let’s chat – Are you hosting any holiday parties this year?


  1. says

    Um, if you agree to play Hanson at your next holiday party, I will be there, with bells on! ….but seriously! That class inspired me, let’s throw a party!!! :)

  2. says

    I freaking LOVED that Hanson album back in the day and someone posted on my blog the other day how they still love listening to it. Kind of makes me want to find it and break it out. :)

    We’re hosting Christmas Eve this year as well as our usual Christmas morning brunch. I really want to make it fun and beautiful but I know I have to share the responsibility, y’know, especially since it’s technically my parent’s house. 😉 One of these days, I’m going to have my own place again and be able to host my own parties.

    • Colleen says

      Keep your eyes peeled – I think the next one they’ll offer is in January! And yes, isn’t Snowed In the best?! :)

    • Colleen says

      Oh, we are too poor, too! Hah! We get together with our friends, but everyone brings something, either a dish or a drink. It’s fun and casual – wouldn’t have it any other way!

  3. says

    Yay, great timing on this post! I’m hosting my first holiday cookie swap this weekend (icy blue & red themed). My last big pre-party decision is: Sunday cocktails or no Sunday cocktails? :)

  4. says

    Now here is the thing Colleen, do you have another post for teaching us how to make friends to invite to these parties LOL! This is seriously all great advice, have you ever thought about doing wedding advice too? I feel like your style is just so easy and I’d love if you do more of these types of posts.

  5. says

    My family and I are on a hosting roll–my sisters and I threw my mom a huge surprise party a few weeks ago and we are hosting a Mother-Daughter Ugly Christmas Sweater party next weekend. I love having parties, so the holidays are the perfect excuse to host!

  6. says

    I love hosting holiday parties, but am not having one this year. Maybe next year…these are some great tips. I love the idea of cookies and coffee, as long as the coffee is Irish, if you know what I mean.

  7. says

    Great tips for holiday parties! That class sounds like so much fun. We’re throwing a new year’s eve party this year, so I’ll be putting some of these tips to action. Especially setting up the food table with different heights (visual appeal). That’s something I always forget about! Signature cocktails and cookies, that’s the stuff I can remember :)

  8. says

    Ahhhhhh Hanson! Hilarious! I need to take one of these classes how do you find out about them? I need a your birthday and your husbands birthday and your anniversary and Christmas are all three days apart appropriate party theme :) any ideas?

  9. says

    As I opened this post and glanced at the first picture, I awkwardly looked down at myself.

    Yep, wearing the same exact shirt.

    And you know I’m fist pumping my approval of your inclusion of Hanson: Snowed In. AAAAWWW, yeah.


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