holiday party ideas
Credit: HelloGiggles/Anna Buckley

Dust off your sequins and break out your holiday sweaters, because it’s officially holiday party season. Every December, our social calendars overflow with glamorous cocktail parties, festive dinner parties, cozy gift exchanges, and fun get-togethers. And every year, some of these events stand out more than others. It’s not the menu, theme, or budget that makes a holiday party memorable. (Though they certainly can help.) Instead, it’s the thought the host puts into making sure their guests have a great time.

If you’re throwing a holiday party this year, your top priority isn’t naming the perfect themed cocktail or coming up with the most clever hashtag for the night. It’s showing your guests that you appreciate their presence, then and always. It’s easy to get swept up in the details and stress of planning the perfect holiday party. But we’ll let you in on a secret: Throwing a memorable holiday party is easier than it sounds. And it’s not about being perfect; it’s about being hospitable.

We have some tips on how, throughout the night, you can show your guests how much you love them. Follow these seven steps and your holiday party will be the one everyone talks about, year after year.

1Do as much prep work as you can ahead of time.

You want to throw a great holiday party for your guests. But you also want to enjoy it with said guests. So, if at all possible, you shouldn’t spend the whole party making last-minute adjustments in the kitchen. Plan a menu that allows you to do most, if not all, of your cooking ahead of time. That way, you can catch up with friends and enjoy the party, too.

2Greet guests individually at the door.

Start the night off on the right foot. Give your guests a warm welcome with hugs and handshakes. Take their coats, ask if they’d like anything to drink, and offer them a quick tour. Being a great hostess is all about hospitality.

3Introduce guests to each other as they arrive.

You might know everybody at your holiday party, but that doesn’t mean everybody knows each other. Guests tend to stick to their own circles. Help them break out of their shells by introducing new people as they arrive and suggesting a topic to get the conversation going. As the night goes on, don’t be afraid to shuffle the room to keep conversations fresh.

4Make each guest a personalized holiday card

Credit: Tiny Prints

When most people buy holiday cards, they design and buy them in bulk. But did you know that with some Tiny Prints designs, you can personalize and buy just one card at a time? Each card costs less than $4 to make. Instead of name cards, set your holiday table with personalized holiday cards. Your guests will love how much thought you put into them.

5Give them the option to slip into something more comfortable.

When everyone retires to the couch after a hearty holiday meal, comfort is the name of the game. Give your guests the option to swap their street shoes for something cozier, like these slipper slides. You can buy them in bulk and always have a few pairs on hand.

6Spend time with each guest.

Your guests came here to see you. They know you’re busy playing hostess, but they’d also like to spend at least a little quality time with you. Don’t play favorites; make sure you make the rounds and spend time with everyone. They’ll definitely notice if you put in face time with them—and they’ll appreciate it.

7Thank them for coming and send them home with a thoughtful party favor.

Just like you did when your guests arrived, see them to the door and thank them for coming. And don’t let them leave empty-handed. You don’t have to go all-out with gifts, but a little token of holiday cheer is always nice. We like these personalized stationery sets from Tiny Prints.