This post has been sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones, both family and friends, but who hosts the party? Growing up, my family hosted a holiday party each year and it’s become a wonderful tradition. I want to start that tradition for us now that we are in a house! I’ve picked up quite a few party-prep tips over the years—so in this post, I’m sharing my best tips for hosting a holiday party with friends!
Holiday Hosting Tips
Grab Quick and Easy Snacks
The first thing you’ll want to do is grab snacks. No party is complete without them! Hillshire® Snacking Genoa Salame & Prosciutto Social Platter in the Deli section of Tom Thumb is perfect for hosting gatherings at your place. Creating a good charcuterie board is hard, so when I have a million things on my plate, I let the pros do it; pick one up, use the flip-and-serve tray, then invite over my friends!
Unless you promised a dinner party, don’t worry about cooking a full meal for your guests. With the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platter, you can avoid the party faux-pas of cooking after your guests arrive…or at all! It is also great to account for any dietary restrictions due to all of the options, people can serve themselves!
On the side, you can add some desserts or some bowls filled with olives or fruit to compliment the platter.
Find a Tom Thumb near you to grab a Hillshire® Snacking Social Platter!
Know What Wines Go With Your Snacks
A party cannot be complete without drinks! Do your research ahead of time and know what wines go with the food you’re serving. Lucky for you, I did all of the research on what goes with the Hillshire® Snacking Genoa Salame & Prosciutto Social Platter.
The most suggested wine was overwhelmingly, bubbles! Cava, white or rosé, is a Spanish sparkling wine. I also like to have a red and white on hand (as well as a stocked bar cart) to at try to please all of my guests. Through my research and recommendations of the wine guy at the store, Chianti is a great red for charcuterie since it has high acidity. Verdicchio is a good white to pair with the Hillshire® Snacking Genoa Salame & Prosciutto Social Platter because it is fruity and dry. However, I’d just check out the Tom Thumb mobile app to see what coupons are available. You may be able to grab the ingredients for a great punch.
You’ll also want non-alcoholic options for adults who aren’t drinking, any kids in attendance, or as drink mix-ins. Check the Tom Thumb mobile app to find the best deals and make your grocery list!
Plan Your Guest List for Your Space
You guys know I used to have a small apartment (see how I decorated it for fall and Christmas!) A small space means a small party. Frankly, I never wanted a ton of people in my apartment. It would scare the dogs and it would be hot and uncomfortable. In the apartment, I kept the guest list to a minimum and got creative with seating when the number of guests exceeded the number of seats we had!
In our house, I love filling it to the brim! We have plenty of space and seating, plus people rarely sit when they are chatting and enjoying themselves.
Over-prep Ahead of Time
Without fail, I am prepping up to the second people walk in the door, sometimes even after, which I hate! I love cooking and baking as much as I can ahead of time, and that’s why something ready-to-go like the Hillshire® Snacking Genoa Salame & Prosciutto Social Platter is so helpful to pair with my cookies and other snacks!
I try to do all of my baking the day or two beforehand, and if I’m decorating Christmas Cookies that takes even more time because of course I’m a perfectionist with my designs. Anything you can throw in the crock pot like BBQ meatballs is great to set and forget, but something like pigs in a blanket or brie bites need to be planned up to the second so they are still warm when people arrive. I tend to choose easier items because cold snacks that are supposed be hot just don’t get eaten- another reason why charcuterie platters are amazing!
Decorate for the Season
If you are hosting a themed party, make sure to decorate accordingly! For a birthday party, I love a color scheme, but for holidays the party is themed: holiday of course! I decorate with my usual holiday decor and maybe add some additional lighting, candles, holiday-themed napkins, and serving pieces.
Here are some of my favorites!
Grab Some Games!
We usually break out some party games after the first wave leaves. At a party, people tend to use social cues to know when to come and go or what to do, so when one person leaves, you’ll find that more people take that opportunity to step out. Once the first wave of people goes we usually have a smaller group perfect for a game. We gather everyone around our table with snacks and games like Codenames, Cards Against Humanity, or What do you Meme?
Keep it Cool
The more guests you have in a small apartment, or house the warmer the temperature is going to get! Be sure to turn the thermostat down or keep windows open accordingly!
Prepare Your Guest Bathrooms
If there is one room other than the kitchen that will see a lot of traffic at your party, it is the guest bathrooms. Make sure there are plenty of tissues and toilet paper. I have mine in a basket on a shelf so people don’t have to sift through our cabinets to find it. I light a candle which not only helps things smell fresh but sets the mood and keeps the ambiance throughout the home.
If you take no other holiday hosting tip from this post, take this one: As a host, you need to enjoy the party! It may not be completely stress-free, but it’s always uncomfortable watching a host run around flustered all night. Just enjoy the evening, roll with the punches, and go with the flow! Don’t worry about dishes, cleaning, or anything you can’t control. Do your best to live in the moment and enjoy your guests. The best part about using the Hillshire® Snacking Social Platter is that it comes in its own serving platter and container for easy cleanup later!
You can always use disposable plates, glasses, and utensils for easy clean up, but I love using real glasses, I just keep them to my stemless wine glasses or others that can go in the dishwasher and it’s simple to clean up when everyone leaves.
Give a Party Favor
Holiday parties are so much fun. It gives you the chance to celebrate with your best friends and family and step back from the craziness that is life and the holiday season. Thank them for taking a step away with you by providing a small favor. At my parents’ Christmas Party each year, my mom sends everyone home with her homemade candy bars, I usually do Christmas white chocolate Chex mix, or cookies. Just remember any food allergies and be mindful of those who have them. You could do ornaments or cookies as well. It doesn’t really matter what the favor is, just that you give one!