33. Holiday Parties at Home

It can be very satisfying to cater to friends, families and loved ones
during the Christmas holidays. Taking the time to share food, fun and laughter
in a happy, jovial manner truly embraces the spirit of Christmas.
In deciding to have a party at home, one of the first things to consider
is whether it will be formal or informal. Among the key things that need to be
considered are the number of people to attend, the menu, the preparation of food
and arrangement of decoration that is attractive and has themes for the
holidays. It’s also important to make a note of how much, if any, help will be
available from friends or family members.
A formal Christmas party likely would include a small number of people –
not more than 12 and likely fewer – who would be seated at a table for the
duration of the meal. It means that place settings and seating have to be done
and a decision made on whether the meal will be a three- or four-course dinner.
The advantage of a formal dinner is that it is very organized, it has a
known content and everyone around the table usually engages in pleasant
conversation. It also usually provides a good opportunity to get to know and
hear from everyone present without having to initiate any small talk, which some
people are not comfortable doing.
As the host of a formal dinner, you will also have the responsibility of
keeping the meal flowing smoothly by having each course brought out at the
perfect timing and to also be aware of any special needs that a guest may have.
In contrast, an informal Christmas party at home is organized in a
different manner and does not have the predictability of a formal one. The fun
and festive spirit of an informal holiday party comes from groups of people who
mill around, move about freely to have conversations, laugh and enjoy munching
on Christmas treats, goodies and other foods.
Despite the easy, fun-filled atmosphere, it is necessary to plan the use of
space and to think about the area that people will use or wander around. Making
such a plan will facilitate contact between partygoers so that the party spirit
will pervade everywhere and put participants in a livelier mood.
Another consideration to make for an informal Christmas party among friends and
family is if children will be present and about their ages, if they are allowed
to attend. Children, even older ones, always need careful supervision. If
children are going to attend a holiday party at home, arrangements should be
made for adequate supervision of them and special activities should also be
provided that can occupy their attention.
An important feature that must be a part of a festive Christmas party at home is
the right mix of music. In selecting Christmas music, consideration should be
given to what will be played at the start of the party as guests are welcomed
and introduced to each other, the songs that can be played later to inject or
enhance liveliness and later to create the right mood as the partygoers bid
farewell with ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’
Along with the music, Christmas decorations and even the food can also help to
enliven a Christmas party at home. Food that is interesting because it looks
‘pretty’ due to the color palette of items, infuses a mellow feeling among
guests and adds an intangible element to the level of enjoyment and excitement
of the partygoers.
Christmas parties at home can also be personalized with special cookies, treats
and dishes that are ethnic. The presence of some ethnic food, but not an
overwhelming quantity, which isn’t frequently enjoyed by guests will be
different and will add something that is unique to the host. And that is a part
of what a Christmas or holiday party at home is about. It’s to entertain family,
friends and acquaintances with a personal style while all enjoy some merriment
in the season of goodwill and good cheer.