The Holiday party season means three things: beautiful decorations, spirited music, and lots and lots of parties. Between family gatherings, office parties, and celebrations with dear friends, most of us have full social calendars all December long — and if you’re like me, you might host a soiree or two.

Holiday party cookies

5 Tips For Throwing an Unforgettable Holiday Party

You probably want your party to be fun and memorable, but with so many parties going on, how can you stand out from the rest? I have a few tips that will help you throw an unforgettable holiday party, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or something else!

Remain Calm

First things first: if you’re hosting a holiday party, do your best not to stress out. Planning any party can be stressful, but putting together a great Christmas or New Year’s Eve event is easier than you think. In fact, it’s very likely that you have the basics covered.

The foundations for a great party are decorations, music, and the menu. You’ve probably already decorated your home for Christmas (whether or not you’re throwing a party), and there are plenty of holiday songs to set the mood. With those in mind, a large degree of your planning is set!

Incorporate the Unexpected

You may be thinking, “How will these tips make my party memorable?” There’s a reason I’ve included these “typical” party activities: everyone loves them! You have to have food, drinks, music, and games for everyone to enjoy themselves. But you can also make your mark with something truly exceptional.

What exceptional thing will you choose? Well, that’s up to you, but it should be something your guests will love — and won’t expect. Santa impersonator (complete with his own sleigh and real reindeer) maybe should pay your house a visit? Or confetti cannons go off at midnight, starting the new year with a colourful flurry? Maybe it’s something practical, like complimentary Uber rides to help your guests get home safely? Get creative, and don’t be afraid to go all-out!

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Your party’s menu is going to vary from one event to the next. How many people are attending? Are you hosting a traditional family event, or having a few friends over for drinks and dessert? These details determine whether or not you should start making turkey and cranberry sauce.

Christmas holiday party food

Of course, a holiday party doesn’t require a several-course menu. You can offer lighter, tapas-style fare, particularly if you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party (let’s face it, that night is all about the champagne). Some bottles of bubbly and some classy hors d’oeuvres will keep your guests happy.

Plan Some Party Games

Party games are a great way to get your guests mingling and having a good time. They’re a must if you’re throwing a casual celebration, and you can play a game or two after dinner at a more formal event. Just make sure your game keeps to the theme!

For a Christmas party, a White Elephant gift exchange allows for traditional gift giving with a fun twist. You can also create theme-appropriate versions of classic games, like Christmas carol Pictionary. For New Year’s Eve, play “truth-or-dare” style games that get your guests talking about the past year’s highlights.

Don’t Forget The Favors

Another way to make your party memorable (even for those who won’t remember much the next morning) is with personalized party favors! There are many great things you can send home with your guests to commemorate the evening and won’t get tossed out. What you pick is up to you!

Again, it’s important that your party favors reflect the theme of the party. A classy glass tree ornament is great for a formal Christmas dinner. A gold corkscrew (maybe engraved with your guest’s name) is perfect for a wild night on New Year’s Eve. And if your party was more family-friendly, you can never go wrong with some homemade holiday treats!

Remember: holiday parties should be fun — whether you’re a guest or the host. As you plan your upcoming soiree, make sure that you’re having a good time, too! If you love the decor, the food, and the entertainment, your joy will be infectious and everyone will enjoy themselves. So have a happy holiday!

Author Bio: Grace Li is a freelance writer from Omaha, Nebraska. She’s been published across many digital platforms for her expertise in party planning and DIY. When she isn’t working on DIY projects with her two daughters, she’s volunteering at her local pet shelter.

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