‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. There’s something magical about getting all your favourite people gathered under one roof to celebrate. With the holidays upon us now is the perfect time to start planning a party at home.

With a little extra planning and some simple prep, you can bring neighbours and friends together for a night to remember.

1. Coat Check

Home-Coat-CheckWhen your guests arrive, rather than designating a chair or a bedroom like in years gone by, take things up a notch by creating room to accommodate their coats. By clearing out the closet near the front door and stocking it with plenty of hangers for all your guests, you’re providing a warm welcome and truly inviting them in from the cold. Use the hangers in the mudroom and show off that part of your house while you’re at it!

2. Set the Tone with the Right Lighting

Use our short days and long nights at this time of year to your advantage. Gathering when it’s dark outside allows you to set the perfect atmosphere and create the right mood – no matter what kind of party you’re planning.

A sophisticated soiree can be achieved by dimming the main lights, setting the fireplace ablaze and lighting some candles.

On the other hand, a festive house full of guests ready for some merriment calls for switching off the main lights and decking out your main floor with fairy lights. The addition of some disco lights may be exactly what you want for a countdown to the New Year.

3. Drink Station

What’s a party without some cocktails or mocktails? It’s pretty standard for a host to setup a makeshift bar with glasses and non-alcoholic options.

Regardless of whether you’re supplying all the drinks or prefer BYOB, consider a drinks station in the kitchen or dining room. Including a signature cocktail for the occasion can take your party to the next level.

4. Plenty of Food

A necessity of any party is food to keep your guest from going hungry. Snacks and other nibbles can be placed around the house to keep your guests satisfied. If there are any guests with allergies or other requirements, a label is a nice touch so everyone knows what they can indulge in.

If you love to cook, then preparing a full spread may be more your thing. At Christmas, there’s no better way to shine than with canapés, hors d’oeuvre and elaborate dishes.

For those who don’t want to cook, but want plenty of food to indulge in, invite your guests to bring a signature dish, traditional recipe, or family dessert that they’re proud of. It’s a great way to cut down on your stress and allows everyone to sample a variety of dishes and even partake in a friend’s holiday tradition.

5. Curate a Playlist

Brighten the mood with some tunes. Leading up to the party you’ve no doubt been prepping your playlist – now is your chance to showcase your extensive music collection.

With a little planning, you can also cater to everyone’s musical taste from the start. A twist on trying to accommodate special requests during the party is to instead ask everyone to submit a song along with their RSVP. This way you can curate playlists based on their suggestions, and ensure everyone will hear something they like throughout the night.

Now you can simply dial it up or down to suit the crowd.

6. Let the Games Begin

Throwing a stellar Christmas party that people will talk about in the days to come requires something different and a little special. Having a few party games up your sleeve is one way to break the ice and get your guests mingling.

Traditional crowd-pleasers like board games, poker, charades or even a simple deck of cards are great standbys. If you want to spice things up with more elaborate games or ones that require your guests’ participation, remember to include them and let them know ahead of time. Some seasonal ideas are an ugly sweater contest, a gift exchange or a cookie recipe taste off. There are plenty of free games and ideas online to choose from too.

There’s nothing like a party to liven up the holidays and spread some cheer!