by Anna Varnell
on Monday, November 20th, 2023 at 9:14am.
The holiday season is a magical time of year, and there's nothing quite like having friends and family in the comfort of your own home. We have seen so many people purchase their first home in the recent years which creates the perfect opportunity to host holiday gatherings for the first time. Whether you purchased your first home or moved into a new home, we've put together a list of 10 essential tips to help you host an unforgettable gathering and make lasting memories during this special time of year.
1. Create a Warm Welcome
Begin with a festive entrance to set the tone for your gathering. Consider placing a wreath on the front door, adding twinkling lights, or placing a seasonal doormat to greet your guests with holiday cheer.
2. Festive Decorations
Transform your home with tasteful and cozy decorations. As the weather gets colder, many decorations can even make the transition from November to December. Adding seasonal touches like garlands, ornaments, and candles will help to create a festive atmosphere throughout your space.
3. Functional Flow
Ensure a smooth flow of movement within your home. Arrange furniture to encourage easy conversation and keep walkways clear. Consider creating designated spaces for various activities, such as a cozy corner for intimate chats or a well-lit area for board games. If your family is anything like mine, we tend to gather where the food is which can sometimes create a crowded kitchen. To encourage your guests to gather in these designated areas, a cheese tray or appetizer will help spread out the crowd.
4. Comfortable Seating
Make sure you have enough comfortable seating for everyone. Arrange sofas and chairs in a way that encourages conversation and connection. Adding festive cushions and throws not only enhances comfort but also adds a touch of holiday charm.
5. Comforting Food
Whether you're hosting a full-course dinner or a casual gathering, plan your menu in advance. Consider catering or potluck options to ease the burden and allow you more time to enjoy the festivities. Just because your hosting does not mean that you are required to sit out on the fun! Don't forget to accommodate any dietary restrictions your guests may have.
6. Beverage Station
Set up a self-serve beverage station with a variety of options, including non-alcoholic choices. Provide seasonal favorites like hot cocoa, spiced cider, and a signature holiday cocktail for a touch of sophistication. If you need a little inspiration, click here!
7. Create a Cozy Ambiance
Adjust the lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Use a combination of overhead lights, table lamps, and candles to achieve a cozy ambiance that enhances the holiday spirit. A tip for those who do not have a fireplace - search “fireplace” on Netflix or YouTube on your TV to find a video of a fire burning in a fireplace. While it doesn’t produce any heat (obviously), it does help create a cozy vibe.
If you are concerned about lit candles throughout the house, you may even consider a simmer pot. Fill a large pot with water, orange slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg, Let it simmer on the stove before or throughout the evening. This will fill your home with an amazing smell without the worry of somebody knocking over a candle.
8. Background Music
Create a playlist of holiday tunes to add to the festive mood. Keep the volume at a level that allows for conversation, ensuring that the music complements the atmosphere without overpowering it.
9. Interactive Entertainment
Plan activities that engage your guests and add a layer of entertainment to the gathering. Board games, a holiday movie marathon, cookie decorating, or a DIY ornament station can be great additions to your festivities.
The holidays are also a great time to encourage a spirit of gratitude. By incorporating a giving element into your gathering, you’re sure to spread joy and happiness throughout the evening. Consider arranging a gift exchange or organizing a donation drive for a local charity to share the holiday spirit among your guests.
10. Have Fun!
Often times the host can easily get caught up in "hosting duties" or making sure everything is just perfect. Don't forget that this gathering is for you to have fun too! It's ok to leave the dishes to be done later or maybe the dinner got started a little bit later than you had hoped. Remember to sit down, enjoy the amazing food, and celebrate with the wonderful company you're surrounded by this holiday season!
Looking for a new home to host your friends and family? Contact us to get started!