By Chris Dato • December 09, 2014
Whether you are hosting or attending, holiday parties are one of the best parts of winter. Obviously you have some responsibilities if you are going to host a successful Christmas party, but you are not entirely off the hook if you are arriving to the party as a guest either.
The Good Guest
The full range of you duties as a party guest may be more extensive than you first realize, and they start before you get to the party. The first order of business is getting to the party. Carpooling to the party is always a great idea, especially if you are going to designate a driver. A good gesture is to have everyone from the carpool chip in for gas, and for the driver’s efforts. If you don’t have a volunteer for the position, Uber is always a convenient option if you are lucky enough to have it in your city. The benefits of getting an Uber extend beyond just enabling everyone to drink, however. For a small price you get to show up in a nice car, with a fancy driver who will insistently open the door for you, and not have to worry about parking. If you have more than one group going, make sure you take advantage of Uber’s discount for referring a friend.
Make sure you dress according to the occasion, and dress classier when in doubt. Wearing thin layers is a good strategy for when you are going out. The layers will keep you warm, but you can shed them as you need to when you are inside or in the car.
Don’t show up empty handed. Bringing a gift for the host is a classy move, and the right gift can even play a part in the party. For instance, showing up with alcohol can be done in one of two ways, both of which are always well received. The first is to show up to the get together with a sampler pack for everyone, which will take a little pressure off the host to provide booze. However, a more personal move is to show up bottle of the host’s favorite alcohol, and allow the host to decide whether to serve it or save it. Check out this article for more tips and information on how to be the best party guest by Julia Sullivan.
The Good Host
Hosting a party can seem overwhelming, especially with the already chaotic pace of the holidays. However, pulling off a sensational seasonal soiree it actually much less impossible than it seems and can cost less too.
Food is going to be one of the most important criteria upon which your party is judged, so come out swinging. Set out appetizers right away, and let people start eating as soon as they get there. Don’t hesitate to start serving drinks and your party will be off to a rolling start. Presentation is key when it comes to the food, so spruce up store-bought spreads with simple garnishes or dips, and have a variety. In fact, if you really want to get creative, don’t have a main course, but instead opt for appetizers all evening long.
The power of presentation applies to more than just the food. A few well placed decorations and a couple of candles can really improve the atmosphere of a get together. Do not underestimate the power of a fancy centerpiece in influencing the way people remember your party, or how easy it is to throw one together. A candle, an unusually positioned Christmas tree ornament, and some clippings from the tree are all it takes to make a centerpiece that is sure to impress partygoers.
Entertainment is the other crucial aspect to the success of your shindig. Plan a couple games in which the whole party can participate, such as heads up. Heads up is great because you can split the party into teams or play free for all, and the huge selection of categories lets you pick topics that are relevant to the people comprising your affair. A particularly fun feature of this smartphone game is that it uses the devices camera to record the people shouting clues during each round, which is always a riot to watch afterwards.
Another fun idea is to have everyone participate in a white elephant exchange. Each person brings a funny gift of a predetermined value and puts them in a pile. After drawing numbers, each person picks a gift from the pile at random in numerical order. To add an element of mischief to the game, give players the option to steal an already open gift instead of choosing one from the pile, and limit the amount of times a gift can be stolen to 2 or 3.
These are just a few ideas to ensure your holiday get together is a smash, but don’t get so caught up in being a good host or guest that you are unable to enjoy the most important part: quality time with loved ones. And free drinks.
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'