Host a Holiday Open House for Neighbors, Friends, and Family!
December 17, 2012
Celebrate the holidays by inviting your friends, family, and neighbors over for a holiday open house! More relaxed than a cocktail party or formal sit-down meal, a holiday open house allows your guests to stop by to share in some Christmas cheer throughout the afternoon or evening, fitting your party into their busy holiday schedule. A holiday open house is one of the easiest ways to entertain for the holidays and with a few simple tricks and a little creativity you're guaranteed to have a extraordinary event.
Give your guests plenty of notice for your holiday open house by sending your invitations out at least a month in advance. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for many families so you'll want to give everyone plenty of time to fit your event into their busy schedule! Let everyone know that your hosting an open house and they are free to stop in any time during your open house hours. Unlike a regular party though, you need to put an end time for your event, because you certainly don't want any visitors showing up after you've packed up all the food, changed into your jammies, and settled in for a night of television!
Make plenty of room for your guests to mix and mingle during your holiday open house by moving furniture out of the way, putting coffee tables to the edge of the room, and grouping chairs together to make it easier for your guests to sit and chat. Bring in extra seating by setting up folding chairs around your party space. If your folding chairs are a little banged up, hide the damage with white chair covers can be made a little more festive with red or green bows. Instead of having one large buffet table, which might become crowded with all the guests congregating at once, set up smaller food tables around the party space. Cover each table with a festive Christmas tablecloth and stock them with paper plates, coordinating napkins, and plastic silverware. Using Christmas paper goods will give your party a festive feel but will make clean up much easier, and, since you'll have people in and out all day long, keep you from having to do dishes all day long! Add a festive centerpiece to each table, whether it's a pretty poinsettia, a miniature Christmas tree arrangement, a holly trimmed pillar candle, or a glass vase filled with ornaments, any bright and cheerful centerpiece will do.
Plan a menu filled with finger foods that are easy to replenish throughout the day so you won't be stuck in the kitchen. Meatballs that can be kept warm in the slow cooker are a good choice, as are staples like veggie trays, cheese and crackers, tortilla rollups, which you can prepare ahead of time and replenish from the fridge as needed, candied nuts, and plenty of traditional Christmas treats like cookies, fudge, brownies, and mini cupcakes. Have another table set up for drinks, stocked with festive Christmas cups and the basics like soda, bottled water, sparkling cider, and, of course, eggnog! If you'll be serving alcohol and your holiday open house, have mixers like club soda, orange juice, grenadine, and cola, garnishes, as well as popular liquors like vodka, rum, bourbon, gin, and whiskey, as well as beer and wine. Be a responsible host and collect everyone's keys before the drinking starts and, if anyone is too intoxicated to drive home, call them a cab or let them crash at your place for the night.
Consider hiring a responsible teen to help you with your holiday open house. They can collect coats as guests arrive, keep an eye on the food table and restock green serving trays as they run low, point guests towards the restrooms, heat up any appetizers, and keep an eye on any children that might be coming. This leaves you free to visit with your guests instead of worrying about the minor details.
Hosting a holiday open house is possibly one of the easiest ways to get together with your friends and family during the busy Christmas season and spread some Christmas cheer. You can open your home for an afternoon or evening, spend time with the people you love, and, with the right amount of pre-party prep and planning, have a stress-free event that runs smooth as silk!