Maybe you didn’t remember to get your plane ticket this year. Or maybe to avoid all the family drama you just told your mom you couldn’t buy a train ticket home because it was too expensive. Whatever the reason is, you might decide not to go home for Christmas this year — even though there’s no place like it for the holidays, as the song goes — and instead, throw a party for you and your friends.
The only problem is you haven’t been planning this for weeks like you probably should have been, and now you’re left with only a couple of days to find food, drinks and figure out who you actually want to invite. Here are some ways to reduce some of the stress for the holiday party that will turn out to be the one your friends remember (or don’t remember, if they have too much Christmas eggnog).
Send Out the Invitations Fast: Sure, everyone likes getting Christmas cards and invitations in the mail, but sometimes there’s just no time for that. Martha Stewart, the queen of all things homemaking, has you covered with email invites that can get the note out about your party fast while also looking festive. She has a few theme choices, from gingerbread houses to Christmas cookies.
Set the Mood: You don’t want your friends to come over for a Christmas party without your place looking like it's Christmas. Sure, you have a Christmas tree, good for you -- but that’s it? People like a Christmas party to really look like Christmas, and a few easy do-it-yourself tricks are all that's needed.
Look for some boxes around the house and buy some coordinated wrapping paper to decorate them in before placing them under the tree and around the house for some festive flair.
“I curate the colors, patterns and bows on these gifts to create a cohesive holiday look and place them around the house in vignettes instead of hiding them in the closet,” Brooklyn event producer David Stark told Good Housekeeping.
Find a Drink: You’ll need to find some good wine and beer for the party — and maybe some soda for those choosing not to imbibe — but you should also have a drink that most people can enjoy. Punch is the best option for Christmas, as it is so closely associated with the holiday, and can serve many people easily. You don’t want to be standing around mixing individual old-fashioned drinks for 10 people.
David Wondrich, a preeminent cocktail historian, has a recipe for Fish House Punch, an easy one considering it's mostly just booze. Put 1 ½ cups of superfine sugar in a bowl and dissolve it in however much water it takes to dissolve, then add about a quart of lemon juice. Add 2 quarts dark rum, a quart cognac and 4 ounces of peach brandy, then add some more water to dilute the batch. Put a big block of ice in it, let it sit in a cool place for an hour while you get other things ready, and it's ready to serve.
Have Food Easy to Make and Easy to Eat: It’s a party — people should be able to walk around and mingle, not having to worry about sitting and eating a turkey at a long table. Food should be easy to make and easy to eat, as well.
Food Network has some simple, bite-sized foods that can be made the day-of, including Swedish meatballs, spinach and goat cheese tarts and croquettes with ham and cheese. Now, all you need are some festive toothpicks.
— Yahoo Food (@YahooFood) December 14, 2015
Pick the Tunes: Frank Sinatra’s collection of Christmas songs will always be a classic, as will the Charlie Brown Christmas album. Making a playlist ahead of time will make it easier in the end to make sure that you, the person throwing the party, can have some fun, too.