Monday, December 6, 2010

12 Tips for Hosting a Fabulous Holiday Condo Party

Planning a festive condo party? We’ve got 12 tips that will help you maximize the fun, yet minimize the stress.


#1:  Book condo party rooms in advance, if required. Around this time of year, condo amenities like party rooms and guest suites tend to get booked up pretty quickly, so if you haven’t already booked your space, don’t wait til the last minute! If it so happens that your date of choice is no longer available, consider tips #2 and #3, below.

#2:  Choose your dates early. Ok, it’s probably too late for that now, so if you haven’t yet sent out your invites (what were you thinking?!) do keep in mind that weekends are a busy time for most during the holiday season. If you’re attempting a late notice gathering, aim for a Thursday or Friday night. Or consider having a party after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, when schedules may be a little less hectic.

#3:  Keep the numbers low. Smaller, intimate parties are easier to manage and tend to be more rewarding. Although the size of your party is often determined by capacity limitations of your condo space anyhow, keep in mind that it’s almost always less stressful to throw a few smaller parties rather than one huge bash. Not only will preparations and clean-up be easier, you’ll have more quality time to spend with each guest.

#4:  Consider a dessert party in favour of dinner. Think chocolate truffles, candies, holiday cookies, spice cakes and squares. Basically, anything that can be made bite-size, served in napkins and eaten with ease while standing works well. This will help to cut down on post-party dishes and clean-up! Another advantage? Guests can drop in and out with greater ease, and the party will be less painstaking to host. A fancy coffee bar adds an elegant and thoughtful touch. Do be sure to let guests know ahead of time that it’s dessert only – to minimize stress levels, the last thing you want is a room full of hungry guests!


#5:  Set the mood with music and/or video. Upbeat holiday music and classic holiday movies playing silently in the background will help to make spirits bright. And remember, when you're ready for the night to end, there’s no subtler hint that the party is winding down than when the music softens (or gets turned off, for guests who need a stronger signal!)

#6:  Keep the menu simple. Take advantage of foods that will feed many mouths (think buffet-style as opposed to recipes that are meant for individual plating) and that can be prepared ahead of schedule so that you don’t spend your entire day slaving in the kitchen. Some tried-and-true classics might include marinated vegetable or pasta salads, dips, and spice cakes/bread. You can even make some freezer-friendly cookies or cut up cheese squares and the like ahead of time to avoid a last-minute frenzy.

#7:  Remember the designated drivers and non-drinkers! A holiday party just isn’t the same without a festive concoction – whether it’s alcoholic or not – so consider adding an interesting non-alcoholic punch or eggnog to the menu. If serving alcoholic beverages in fancy stemware, try to use the same fancy glasses for non-alcoholic drinks. After all, you have the chance to host a holiday party but once a year and it’s time to impress! Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness and won’t feel out of place with a boring old cup of pop, soda or juice.

#8:  Décor? Do it before. Decorate your space before beginning food and drink preparation. Once guests begin to arrive, the last thing you'll want is to be running around your apartment hanging tinsel and mistletoe!


#9:  Keep your phone handy so that you can buzz guests up as they arrive – being left to wait in a lobby is no way to set a festive mood. Remember to keep an eye on your front door or party room entryway so that you can greet and say goodbye to guests as they come and go.

#10:  Greet guests with drinks and send them off with party favours to make your party even more memorable. Remember, the favours don’t have to be anything fancy – even a simple bowl full of candy canes or chocolates for guests to grab as they go would do – it’s just a nice way of saying “thank you for coming”.

#11:  Work the room! Remember, you’re the host – your guests took time out of their busy schedules to attend your party, so make them feel welcome by spending some time chatting with each and every one.


#12:  If you manage to follow only one party tip, this should be the one! Remember that your holiday party is all about your guests. They are the very reason you’re hosting an event to begin with! So, don’t stress over your culinary skills or talent for interior décor – spend your time enjoying the company and being hospitable. Small, personal touches make for a warm, intimate and memorable event, so keep guests in mind when preparing for your fete. You'll want to be in high spirits when guests arrive, so plan your menu, décor and prep time around your available time and budget - not what you feel is expected from you. As long as you keep this in mind, your guests will be happy they were there and will be sure to remember your party as something special and wonderful.

Happy hosting!