Friday, 06 January 2012 by Keith Bahlmann
Hosting a holiday party can be fun and a great way to get together with friends you may not see as often as you like. However, some people may shy away from hosting, afraid the hectic planning or cost will be too much.
But you don't have to break down or go broke to host a stylish holiday party this year.
Following a few simple tips can ensure a party that's fun for you and your guests.
Play to Your Strengths
Consider decorating with what's readily available. Got a great collection of candles? Now is the time to use them. For an especially stunning effect choose only one color, such as white or cream, for all linens, serve ware and décor. Add a dash of sparkle and you're all set. If you need to borrow serving pieces to round out a buffet or dinner table, just ask family or a close friend.
And don't be afraid to employ secret elves as a way to lighten the load. Many caterers offer a pick-up or drop-off service for hors d'oeuvres. Cook the dishes you make well and then supplement them with food from a caterer.
This way, you can still enjoy the compliments on your cooking, but you won't be spending quality mingling time in the kitchen.
Simplify and Save
Most experienced hosts know the value of minimalism.
When deciding on food or drinks go simple but with a unique twist. For example, serve sodas, one red wine, one white wine and a signature cocktail with a unique base, such as Dumante, the world's only pistachio liqueur.
A simple martini takes on new sophistication with two parts vodka, one part Dumante and a lemon peel garnish.
Or shake equal parts vanilla vodka, dark creme de cacao and Dumante in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour through a strainer into a martini glass. Sprinkle with cinnamon to add a bit more elegance. For more ideas, visit www.dumante.com. Add a lasting impression when you give recipe cards of your signature drink as favors.
Invite a Special Guest
When gathering people who may not know each other, it helps to have a person or activity as a conversation starter. Consider hiring a local musician or artist who can entertain your guests with impromptu songs or sketches.
Or help guests get into the true spirit of the holidays. In lieu of gifts, guests can bring canned food for a soup kitchen, wrap toys for a local shelter or create care packages to send to troops overseas. By making it fun and easy, you will naturally infuse the spirit of the season into your event.
With a little creative thinking, your party can be the "must attend" event of the season.