Planning a Holiday Party to Remember

It’s beginning to look—and feel—a lot like Christmas. But planning this year’s holiday party doesn’t have to feel like just another item to check off the to-do list! You can have fun organizing a dinner party that will give your guests a touch of the peace and community that the holiday season is really all about.

Holiday Table Setting by Jen Lutz

So take a deep breath, get a piece of paper, put on some soft Christmas music, curl up by your Christmas tree, and enjoy planning the holiday party that your friends and family are sure to remember.

Table Décor

Sometimes simplicity is everything. Holiday table settings are no different. Monochromatic color schemes are trending this year, and choosing varying tones of the same color can make creatively decking your table easier than ever.

You could choose a traditional red or green color scheme, or go with simple, muted colors like snowy white and champagne to set off your table design. White Christmas trees make great table toppers and can be worked into a variety of holiday centerpieces.

Choosing one color around which to work your design makes your job easier. It also adds sophistication and class to both formal and informal gatherings. Online sources provide a wealth of inspiration for holiday table settings, so take some time to explore and collect the ideas that work best for you.

Everything from folding your dinner napkins into fun holiday shapes to creatively working a festive centerpiece into your setting can make your table and party stand out from the rest.

Music and Mood

Your music choice depends on whether you want to create a relaxed, classy mood—something along the lines of a five-star restaurant—or something more upbeat and trendy. For relaxed Christmas music at a more formal dinner party, go with instrumental arrangements. These tend to be more suitable for a classy dinner party than more rollicking choices.

For other parties, a playlist of Christmas classics might be the perfect choice.


The perfect cocktails and beverages for your evening are a must. For non-drinkers, try classic Wassail Punch. It’s a sweet, refreshing blend of cinnamon, apple cider, and mulling spices that tastes like the Christmas season itself. Wassail can be served either hot or cold and garnished with slices of citrus fruit to add a colorful detail.

For those who’d like something a little stronger, try Food Network’s Christmas Cocktail – a perfect blend of pear juice, champagne or sparkling wine, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate pearls. Homemade cocktails, garnished and served in chilled glasses, add an extra easy-to-prepare touch that your guests will notice.


Choosing the right cocktails and menu makes all the difference in organizing a successful dinner party, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Carefully prepared appetizers add color to your dinner and provide a lovely complement to the evening conversation. And the best hors d’oevres don’t require a professional chef to create. Try something like Tomato and Mozzarella Tarts for a simple, delicious starter.

Slow-cooker entrees like Paula Deen’s Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs and Sauce bring a gourmet touch to your holiday spread. They’re so easy that you’ll have plenty of time for more important things—like curling up in front of the fireplace beside a pre-lit Christmas tree with a cup of egg nog. This time of year is meant to be enjoyed, so choose recipes that make life easy on yourself and savory for your guests.

It’s (not) ALL in the details…

The old design maxim “presentation is everything” applies, but creating an atmosphere with detailed touches doesn’t have to be a headache. By simplifying the menu, planning ahead, and focusing on elements like practical table design and music to set the mood, you’ll create an almost-magical holiday atmosphere that both you and your guests will savor.

Don’t get so caught up in the planning and design process that you miss the community of the season. A popular old Christmas song reminds you that “the world is your marshmallow.” So embrace your marshmallow, enjoy your decorations, and add an evergreen candle to complement your artificial Christmas tree. Take the time to enjoy family, friends, and all that is joyful about this holiday season. Your guests will notice and appreciate the atmosphere unique to you and your home.