Thursday, December 24, 2009

10 Holiday Party Hints

  • Pace them. Low-alcohol holiday punches are a great way to kick things off, and keep the blowhards at bay—at least for a while. 
  • Feed them early and often. That old idea of saving up an appetite for supper is hell for hosts. Hungry guests grump while waiting, then race through the meal, turning into big, bloated, sleepy cushions that never leave the sofa. Pass foods like crazy. Have a hot food station for when guests arrive. 
  • Make a playroom. Even if you’re only expecting one child, set one room aside where roughhousing, yelling, and candy are encouraged. Balloons send the subliminal message to the young and young at heart. Colored light bulbs make a huge impact. Have mini sodas in a giant, brightly colored plastic bin with bananas, apples, and grapes. Kids eat fruit if it’s presented in a fun way. Have a bunch of toys, but only bring one or two out at a time. Put tons of pillows and blankets on the floor after dinner, or better still, a tent, and if you’re lucky, they’ll fall asleep watching Finding Nemo for the 30th time.
  • Pay (or bribe) teenagers to help. Two words: cheap labor. Give them a fiver and tell them there’s more coming if they help you.
  • Think of your guests like livestock. Herd them from space to space. Everyone has one room that never gets used; make that a dessert and coffee station and save yourself the headache of tray passing. Also, to prevent the herd from crowding around the bar, why not set up three to four mini bars all around with glasses, opened wine, beer, and soda? 
  • Make music. The best parties are when everyone dances at the end. 
  • Let the dishes stand. If you don't worry about washing every fork in sight, your guests won't either!

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