Martha Stewart’s 5 Tips for Hosting A Holly Jolly Holiday Party

Dec 6, 2022

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Hosting a Holiday Party

‘Tis the season for hot cocoa, trimming the tree and, of course, holiday parties!

If you’re hosting this year, it can feel daunting trying to plan out every detail—from the food to the décor to checking everything off your to-do list, there’s a lot to consider.

And, of course, we want to make sure you’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to make your holiday party the talk of the town this year. So, we recruited the Queen of Holiday Hosting herself, Martha Stewart, to share her top 5 tips for throwing a holly jolly holiday party.

Grab your favorite hot beverage (a tipple of your favorite liqueur, perhaps?) and check them out below!

 

The holiday cheer doesn’t stop here! Explore our Christmas Shop for ideas and inspiration on everything from gifts and stocking stuffers to table linens and ornaments.

Explore Our Christmas Shop

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Throwing a Holly Jolly Holiday Party

1. “Whether you are using string lights, microlights or LED candles, adding light to your home décor creates a warm and cuddly Christmas scene.”

For simple décor that won’t break the bank—and to help set the mood—opt for string lights and candles.

String lights work well in place of lamps and overhead lighting to create a cozy atmosphere, while candles help create intimacy among your guests. Place festive candle holders with tealights or flameless LED candles on food and drink tables to carry the décor through the space (we’re pretty keen on this little sleigh and these reindeer candle holders for an endlessly festive feel).

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Hosting A Holly Jolly Holiday Party

2. “Create a plan for holiday entertaining. Think about what you can prepare in advance and make a checklist of all the ingredients you need.”

This is probably the best piece of advice when it comes to holiday entertaining.

By preparing as much as possible ahead of time, you can reduce the amount of stress—and let’s face it, work—that you’ll have come party day. Once you’ve finalized your guest list, think about how you want the evening to feel.

If you’re looking for more of a cocktail-style soirée where guests can serve themselves and mingle, consider setting up a buffet with some easy, make-ahead appetizers, like this Autumn Charcuterie Board. Or try this creamy, tangy Baked Brie en Croute with Jam, which can be assembled ahead of time and popped in the oven just before your guests start to arrive!

If your guests are the adventurous bunch, try this Creamy Salmon and Chive Mousse on Crostini. The mousse can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, and when you’re ready to serve, simply spread the mixture on pieces of warmed, lightly toasted bread.

For a more formal, sit-down affair, choose dishes that can feed a crowd but still allow you to enjoy your guests’ company, like this Beef Tenderloin Roast. Pair your entrée with recipes that are as fuss-free as possible or that require minimal oven space, like this Slow Cooker Stuffing. Round out the meal with these colorful Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots, which can be made up to 6 hours ahead of time and reheated just before serving.

For more recipe inspiration and tips on how to make your dishes ahead of time, check out our list of 10 Thanksgiving Sides to Impress Every Guest.

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Hosting a Holly Jolly Holiday Party

3. “Two sawhorses, an old tabletop, and a pretty tablecloth are all you need to create a bar that is portable and can be put in a spot that’s easy for guests to reach.”

Even if you don’t have a pair of sawhorses at your disposal, you can still create the same portable, easy-to-reach bar with a long folding table and a festive tablecloth!

Find a spot that’s away from the food prep and service area to prevent guests from interrupting the flow to and from the kitchen. Or, set it up where you want your guests to mingle—people tend to crowd around food and drink tables, especially if they only know 1 or 2 others at the party because it gives them something to focus their attention on.

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Hosting a Holly Jolly Holiday Party

4. “Having more alcohol on hand than you may need is always a good idea—most guests will agree that nothing kills a party faster than running out of drinks.”

Someone once said, “A party without wine is just a meeting.”

Now, we’re not sure who that someone was but they were definitely onto something. Keep your party buzzing by ensuring there’s always plenty for your guests to drink.

Set out a “serve yourself” wine and beer station so guests feel welcome to have as much, or as little, as they like. Or mix up a big, batched cocktail to ensure no one is stuck making drinks all night. We’re fans of this cranberry and rosemary-infused Harvest Punch that can be made with vodka, apple brandy or bourbon.

For a warm, soul-satisfying option, try this Instant Pot Christmas Wassail. It’s quick, easy and all made in one dish for easy cleanup and endless enjoyment.

Thirsty for more inspo? Check out our list of 9 Cocktails to Celebrate the Holidays and tips on turning your favorite bevvy into a batch big enough for the whole crew.

Martha Stewart's 5 Tips for Hosting a Holly Jolly Holiday Party

5. “If you’re hosting a party and opening the invitation to children, make sure you have a designated activity area set up so they don’t get bored.”

The holidays are all about family, so it’s natural to expect your guests to want to bring their kids along.

If you’re open to hosting children, consider setting out a few kid-friendly activities to keep them occupied while their parents rock around the Christmas tree.

Pre-make cookies in festive shapes and set up a cookie decorating station! Lay out the icing and sprinkles and let the kids decorate cookies to take home. Or pick up some modeling clay and let the little ones pretend to make their own cookies. Set out some kid-friendly Santa Claus impression cookie cutters and let them build their own Christmas wonderland.

 

Remember, when it comes to holiday hosting, the most important thing is enjoying the company of family and friends. So, whether you go all out on décor and whip up an amazing spread or you opt for a few well-placed candles and some delicious apps, we hope you enjoy every moment.

 

The holiday cheer doesn’t stop here! Explore our Christmas Shop for ideas and inspiration on everything from gifts and stocking stuffers to table linens and ornaments.

Explore Our Christmas Shop

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