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How to Plan a Christmas Party


How to Plan a Christmas Party

A successful party lives on in everyone's memory long after the last glass of punch has been sipped and the last bite of dessert eaten. But the fuss and frustration of planning can be a big party pooper. All the details -- What kind of party should I have? Whom should I invite? How should I decorate? What do I serve? -- can make even the most experienced host or hostess a little stressed.

If you add to this equation the many demands and complications of the holiday season, you have the recipe for a real headache. Though the rewards of a successful Christmas party will carry on all year, some people might feel that the planning and execution is just too much of a burden.

That's why we've included lots of party themes, ideas, and menus that make it easy to pull off a spectacular event. Our tried-and-true secrets for entertaining will ensure that your party is one to remember! We will walk you through all the steps of planning and hosting a Christmas party, including:

Decorating for a Christmas PartyWhen you are hosting a large party or celebration you want to create an exciting environment for your guests to relax in. Some simple decorations can turn your house into a seasonal wonderland for holiday revelers. In this section, we will show you hot to decorate for a Christmas party, including how to choose a color scheme and how to create a festive Christmas centerpiece.

Planning a Christmas PartyIt's easy to think of the perfect Christmas party, but it's a whole other matter making it happen. As with any large project, the only way to ensure success is careful planning. On this page, we will show you how to plan a Christmas party, from conception to picking party invitations to choosing a theme to enjoying the night of the party.

Decorating for a Christmas Party

The sound of a crackling fire. The joy of newly fallen snow. The anticipation of Santa Claus. The smell of a cedar tree. The taste of a freshly baked Christmas cookie. At its very essence, Christmas is a holiday that excites our senses. How things sound, look, feel, smell, and taste evoke memories of holidays past, flooding us with emotions.

The best way to re-create these memories -- and to create new memories for our families and friends -- is to surround ourselves with things that remind us of the season. Decorating is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. Whether you are planning a small get together or a large party, decking your home in seasonal splendor will satiate the senses and fill all your guests with holiday spirit.

Ornament Centerpiece:Before you begin constructing your Christmas centerpiece, you'll need to assemble the following items:

1. Dry floral foam

2. Knife

3. 4- to 6-inch-high brass bowl

4. Hot glue gun, glue sticks

5. Ruler

6. Evergreen bough

7. 14 Christmas ornament balls

8. 12 small pinecones

9. 1 spray of plums (or about 7 plums)

10. 4 berry sprays, cut into pieces

11. 3 poinsettia flowers with leaves

To create an ornament centerpiece:

Cut floral foam to fit the bowl; glue. (Use a plastic liner if you don't want to glue bowl.) Cut bough into five- to six-inch lengths. Form width and length by gluing greens around edge of container.

Mound Christmas ornaments, pinecones, plums, and berry sprays on the greens and floral foam and secure with hot glue.

Glue sprigs of greens, poinsettia flowers, and other poinsettia leaves to fill in holes between ornaments and pinecones.

The Colors of ChristmasChristmas is all about color. Glowing strings of lights, festive stockings, and beautifully wrapped gifts take center stage. The colors you choose to emphasize in your Christmas decorations can impact the feelings they evoke. Consider your goals -- icy and intense, cozy and traditional, modern and fresh, elegant and luxurious -- before deciding on a color scheme.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas: A white Christmas can be classic and traditional or glamorous and fresh. That's the beauty of decorating with such a versatile color. With contemporary interiors, an all-white Christmas is en vogue: current, up-to-date, modern. With traditional decors, all white lends a homespun feel to the holidays. Twinkling white lights and touches of silver are spectacular accents to an all-white decorating scheme. Flickering candles or a roaring fire add warmth to pure white and play up the shimmery effect of any gold or silver accents.

Now that you have your decorations picked out, it's time to plan your party. On the next page, we will help you make your Christmas party a reality.

Planning a Christmas Party

Le Reveillon

What was once a simple meal after midnight mass has blossomed into Le Reveillon, a nighttime dinner for French families with many of the same dishes as those served on Christmas Day. Some families use the event to decorate the tree or give presents. Like many other nationalities, the French often decorate with a nativity scene, greenery, and candles.

An old-world Christmas: Celebrating the season is a month-long tradition in Germany, with festivities culminating on Christmas Eve, the night the Christmas tree is unveiled. Children are not allowed to see the tree until a bell is rung and it is brought out, fully decorated with cars, trains, angels, tinsel, lights, and ornaments. Families sing Christmas carols and place presents underneath. The night later gives way to a feast so lavish that the evening is often called "Dickbauch," or "fat stomach." Legend has it that those who do not eat well will be haunted by demons during the night.

Invite guests to an old-world party by printing out an invitation, leaving the front blank. Then glue greenery to the front in the shape of a wreath. Clippings from your tree, mistletoe, and ivy are easy choices to work with.

On the day of the party, decorate with nuts, fruits, greenery, marzipan, and adorable carved, wooden figurines of angels, trees, and Santa. Don't forget candles and trimmings.

Party Time!

The date has finally arrived. Guests will be arriving on your doorstep in minutes! You've prepared as much as possible ahead of time to ensure your plans run smoothly. A few finishing details should be all you need to make the event memorable.

Anticipate the comfort of your guests. Set appetizers in the living room, on the buffet, and in other places that make it easy to nibble. Play music and light candles for ambience.

Take guests' belongings when they arrive. Introduce people by pointing out what they have in

common with each other. Accept any gifts graciously and take to a discreet place so that other guests won't feel guilty if they didn't bring one.

Finally, stay out of the kitchen as much as possible so you can mingle with your guests and enjoy the party. And most importantly of all, you should enjoy yourself. Your holiday party should be for you as much as it is for your guests.

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