I’m hosting 22+ people (not counting children under 2) in my house today for a holiday potluck. It’s going to be awesome! My husband, the master of all things carne, is busy grilling his special pork and beef ribs out on the deck.
Here are my tips and tricks for a successful holiday party:
- Seating: I had the foresight to buy chairs, benches, stools, footrests all of the same height–the height that’s perfect for dining tables. So the non-official chairs can be used as extra seats whenever they’re needed. Right now, I have more than enough seats for everyone.
- Tables: I love extendable tables that are built well. My well-used dining table seats 6 when un-extended, but is currently seating 12. I also love desks. Because I write all around the house (change of scenery, change of mood), I have desks in just about every room. There’s one in my sunroom which is open to the kitchen, and it can be used as an extra eating surface if needed. My coffee table in the family room, also open to the kitchen, has 3 adjustable heights. One of those heights suits little kids sitting at the table on kiddie chairs. It’s where my kids sometimes draw or eat snacks while we watch TV or just hang out.
- Floor plan: No doubt, open floor plans are best suited to entertaining. But closed floor plans can create intimate sub-group gatherings too. I have a very open floor plan in the main living area with the kitchen, large familiy room and sunroom all one space, divided naturally. Through a glass door, the kitchen also leads to a formal living room and dining room, which I use as a “reading” area with rattan seating.
- Food: I’ve given up hosting parties where I have to cook everything. I just run out of steam after a while, between the cooking, cleaning, entertaining, washing, running after my kids, etc. So potlucks are always my go-to for gatherings.
- Ambience: I have a large TV over my fireplace in the family room that I can use to put on some holiday movie classics or music. My tree is all decked out in the living room with presents underneath (I happen to LOVE wrapping presents!). Each year, I let my kids each choose a couple more ornaments to add to the tree. I put out some pretty place mats, arrange fruits with vibrant colors and voila, just enough holiday cheer without being too cluttery.
And really, a successful party in the end is all about the people–if you’re having family & friends over, people you enjoy hanging out with, you’ll always have a great time no matter what!