4 GREAT FOODS TO SERVE IN MINI FORM
Mini Hot Dogs
Serve in top-sliced hot dog buns cut into four pieces.
–celeb caterer Peter Callahan
Mini Beef Wellingtons
Wrap a crescent roll around a small piece of steak. Bake and serve with mayonnaise and mustard dip.
Cut regular quesadillas into mini triangles.
–event coordinator Jo Gartin
Cut a cheesecake into individual squares or wedges.
Pick a Color Theme
CHOOSE A COLOR AND CARRY IT THROUGH YOUR DECOR, PLATES AND FLATWARE.
TIME YOUR PARTY RIGHT
Include start and end times on your invites. There is so much going on during this season, guests will be happy to know the time expectation on the event.
–caterer Mary Giuliani
If you plan your party the Friday or Saturday night before Christmas, your invite will compete with others. Pick the second weekend of December or a weeknight for a better RSVP.
–event planner Colin Cowie
3 FABULOUS (AND FAST!) DECORATION IDEAS
USE BOWLS OF BRIGHTLY COLORED CANDY AS A RUNNER DOWN THE CENTER OF THE TABLE.
–event designer Preston Bailey
Do the ever-easy holiday ornaments in glass jars
–party planner Mindy Weiss
I LOVE TO TAKE WHITE HOLIDAY STRING LIGHTS (THEY EVEN MAKE LED ONES NOW THAT DON’T REQUIRE A PLUG!) AND FILL UP GLASS VASES WITH THEM. GIVES A NICE LITTLE HOLIDAY SPARKLE WITHOUT BUSTING YOUR BANK.
POST-HOLIDAY SHOPPING MUSTS
Buy wrapping supplies after the holidays when they are on sale. Not only will you save money, but you will always have gift wrap on hand.
–event planner Marcy Blum
HOW TO SET UP THE BEST BAR
1 Stock up on a fabulous champagne. And forget the champagne cocktails. A great champagne is best served chilled.
–event planner Diann Valentine
2 Create an all-white bar for the holidays, where every drink is clear. It’s beautiful, and you don’t have to worry about stains if anyone spills!
3 Serve guests with one or two large drink dispensers that can hold up to 40 cocktails. Then set out your glasses on trays with an ice bucket and guests will help themselves.
4 Don’t forget delicious nonalcoholic beverages. Try Ayala’s Sparkling Cinnamon Orange Peel Herbal Water.
easy (and pretty) platter idea
Take your average crudités spread up a notch and create a platter with a color scheme—such as red and white vegetables—and set it on the coffee table with a dipping sauce.
LAST-MINUTE LIFESAVER FOR GIFTS!
BUY A FEW ALL-PURPOSE PRESENTS JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO BRING SOMETHING IN A HURRY. COFFEE TABLE BOOKS ARE GREAT CHOICES.
Lil Jon’s Holiday Playlist
“I grew up in the South on a lot of soul and R&B. This is one of the all-time top Christmas songs.”
“I remember listening to that on Christmas Eve before we went to bed every year.”
“SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN”
The Jackson 5
“I’d watch all those claymation Christmas specials, and then I’d listen to the Jackson 5.”
“THE CHRISTMAS SONG”
Nat King Cole
“That’s classic, classic, classic.”
“CHRISTMAS IN HOLLIS”
“It’s my all-time favorite hip-hop Christmas song.”
“WHAT YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS”
K-nock, Quad City DJs and the 69 Boyz
“It’s basically 12 Days of Christmas but a new version with a Cadillac and gold teeth. You’re going to laugh your socks off!”
MAKE THE MENU FUN
Pick a theme for the food.
Try a nostalgic menu with favorite childhood foods like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Or go French with a Bûche de Noël.
Do a dessert and sparkling wine party.
There’s less to prepare—purchase everything if you don’t feel like baking! Set up a buffet, and guests can make your house the last stop on a busy night.
FOLLOW THIS PRE-PARTY CHECKLIST
Be sure to have plenty of ice.
Stock up on lots of hangers.
Lay out all serving pieces, platters and bowls in advance. Put Post-its on them to identify what they are for.
For large dinner parties cook whatever you can in advance and freeze it.
2 PANTRY MUST-HAVES
Always keep DRIED FRUITS and NUTS in the cupboard for impromptu gatherings. Display an array of Medjool dates, dried cranberries, pears, apricots, walnuts and roasted almonds on a large platter and you are in business.
–event designer David Stark
TAKE TIME OUT
ONE OF MY FAVORITE STRESS KILLERS IS GOING TO A MOVIE. NO PHONES, NO TEXTS, NO TALKING!
–caterer Liberty Woodman of Lady Liberty
music mix tip
Your playlist should be only 20% holiday music so you will have the right mix—or “Santa Baby” will drive you crazy!!!
HOW TO GREET YOUR GUESTS
Bring guests something when you open the door. Maybe a shot of tequila, a specialty soda or chocolate. Guests will feel taken care of and relaxed.
DON’T FORGET THE BATHROOM!
Make sure your powder room is always stocked with a hand cream.
3 GIFTS TO SEND HOME WITH GUESTS
1 A “Hangover Kit” with airline-size bottle of vodka, small can of V-8 juice, saltines, Alka-Seltzer or Advil.
2 Lollipops! Choose upscale lollipops that match your party color scheme.
3 Set up containers with white candy (rock candy, yogurt pretzels, marshmallows) and little clear bags with Happy Holidays stickers so guests can take home a bag.