Celebrate the Holiday Season with an Open House!

Celebrate the holiday season with an Open House!

During the holiday season, it’s nice to open your home to share what you have been blessed with.  But planning a holiday get-together and put stress levels through the roof.  Here’s your easy plan to guarantee a great night with friends and family.

Below is a guide to plan your open house from the decorations, guest list, menu, and even a couple stress relievers.

#1 Decorations

You can go as simple as you want or shoot for a glossy covered magazine look!

  • Make your house an inviting- casual setting with warm lighting and several food stations.
  • Pick a focal point and decorate around it.decoration
  • A theme is easy to keep you focused and less stressed. A couple examples would be Santa’s, snowflakes, snowmen, rustic or modern.
  • Select a decorating day. Put on some festive music, light some holiday candles and enjoy the process.
  • Repurpose with minimal expense.
    • Swapping out photos for holiday cards
    • Move the couch to face the tree instead of the TV
    • Use old ornaments in vases of various heights
    • Paint the ornaments, pinecones, etc. with your theme color. Then accent with greens

#2 Guest List:

When you have your invite list finalized, be as personal as possible, whether it’s an email invite, fun little cards or word of mouth. You could even create an “Open House” invite to keep in your pocket and hand out as you see friends and family.  Here are some tips when creating your invites:

  • Be clear on start and stop times. This will ensure people don’t come over when you are prepping
  • Decide on whether kids are invited or not.  If they are, keep them busy by setting up several easy festive crafts. Even better hire a responsible teenager or two to do the crafts with them. Adults can mingle and kids will be having fun!
  • Parting gift for guests (if it’s in your budget.) A couple ideas would be baked goods or your signature fudge that can be prepared days ahead. Careful not to overdo it here!  My rule is something “homemade” from the heart or nothing at all.

#3 Menu:

  • Keep it simple. Pick a dish you are good at for your main entrée.
  • Prepare finger foods and appetizers ahead of time, do as many ahead as possible to reduce your party day stress. Don’t be afraid to outsource if budget allows!
  • Self-serve BAR! – Need we say more?! This gives your guests who may not know each other something to do together and chat about. Have a signature drink? Print out recipe cards for guests to use and take home. And remember, LOTS of ice!
  • Remember sharing goes both ways, your guests feel welcome if they can participate in a small way. You would pick the menu, then ask a guest to bring something to go along with your theme. Here are some fun ideas:
    • Wine & CheeseChristmas_Dinner_2016
    • Pastries & Coffee
    • Bacon & Beer
    • Meats & Sweets

#4 Stress Relievers

  • Keep it casual. Set the mood with your festive music and decorations.
  • Set a budget and find ways to save by shopping online or borrowing from friends.
  • Phone a friend. The day before, have them come over to help with final touches (dusting, cleaning, food preparations, table setting, furniture moving, and getting those last minute items). It’s always more fun with a friend and you will get it done faster!
  • Enlist in a helper- your babysitter, your child’s friend, a waitress you know – hire them to come for the evening to assist in kitchen help, serving and clean up!
  • Stock up the bathroom- running out of toilet paper is a buzz kill!
  • Have a designated spot for coats.
  • Place plenty of trash receptacles.  Cover with burlap bag or wrapping paper to go along with your theme.
  • If you have leftovers, purchase some holiday decorative plastic containers and send home with your guests.
  • Clean up as you go! This is a MUST. The last thing you want is to wake up tomorrow and regret hosting. It’s OK to accept help of considerate guest who volunteer to help.

Holiday season is usually a busy season, but having an open house for your friends and family allows them to come and go as their schedule allows. No reservations, no pressure, no worries. ENJOY the festivities and Merry Christmas!