Steps about how to host a small holiday party
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Hosting a Small Holiday Gathering


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Are you the hostess that prefers small gatherings to big soirees? There’s something about an intimate group of friends and family that screams old time holiday.  I’m sharing some of my best tips and tricks for easy entertaining and hosting a small holiday gathering.  On to the biggest question I always get about hosting a small holiday gathering:


What are some good tips to successfully host a small gathering?

Entertaining for the holiday season should be something you look forward to; not something that you dread.  I want you to think of this scene.  Five or six close friends gathered in a room.  A fire or candles lit, old Christmas tunes playing softly in the background.  Small plates of appetizers on the coffee table between them.  They’re exchanging Secret Santa gifts before they even head to the table to have dinner.

This doesn’t have to be just a scene in your head.  You can make it reality with only a few steps. What people crave most during the holiday season is togetherness.  You could even just stop at the appetizers, or make the party start a little later and simply serve desserts.  Whichever you choose to do, even an introvert can entertain this holiday with much success. 

  • Keep your holiday party simple.
  • Invite only a small group of friends or family at a time. 
    • Consider your space.  Is it a small space? Can you move things around in your home to design the space for guests to be able to have conversations with different people, to lay out food, to play a Christmas game?
  • Plan ahead.

Steps to Create the Perfect Small Holiday Gathering

When I refer to a small group of friends – I mean small.  No more than 6 people (including you).  Many of us have several different groups of friends.  This isn’t the time to mix that group up.  Stay true to your core group and plan the evening around them.



Set the mood. Your house will most likely already be decorated for the holidays.  Even if it’s not, set the mood with a few simple additions.

    1. Turn off overhead lighting and use table lighting.
    2. String white lights in different places around the room.
    3. Light candles (unscented), and light the fire if you have a fireplace.
    4. Put on a simmer pot of holiday scents.
    5. Set your playlist up ahead of time including old favorites that people will recognize right away.  Leave the kid versions off of the list this time.


What if you’ve never hosted a holiday party or gathering before?

There’s nothing to fear when hosting your first holiday gathering.  Even a hostess that is just breaking into hosting can rock a holiday party!

Three tips for hosting a holiday party:

Plan your holiday menu. There are so many easy holiday dishes you can make that won’t be the cause of any holiday angst.  For instance, a pot roast dinner is a comfort meal that is super easy to make, warms you right up, and is virtually fail proof. A Thanksgiving menu or a Christmas menu doesn’t need to be complicated. 

Prep ahead of time.  Set your table the night before.  Move furniture around if you need to in order to create a more intimate space to gather.  Make sure that the main entertaining areas of your home are tidy and ready for company.  Set up your bar in a different space than your food.  This encourages guests to move about the room. When people ask you “What can I bring”? tell them dessert and build a yummy dessert bar as they arrive.  TIP:  Always place desserts by the coffee pot.

Set up a fun activity. This could look like so many different things.  If your group is really close, organize a Secret Santa.  This way the stress of gift giving to every person is taken off of everyone’s shoulders.  If Secret Santa isn’t your thing try having a card game available, or conversation starters where each person picks one out of a jar.  This activity can be a main event, or just a backup. Asks guests if they have a Christmas party game that they’d like to share during the party.  


What to serve at a holiday Christmas party:

You can go with appetizers or you can go with a full dinner (buffet or sit down).  Holiday appetizers and a few cocktails are the abosolute easiest way to entertain on a budget.  Check out some of my easy recipes for appetizers to serve your guests:

Easy Cheese Fondue Recipe with step by step instructions!

Prosciutto & Fig Bruschetta Appetizer

Mini Quiche Appetizers (Onion & Cheese)

Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls (Easy Appetizer)

Easy Stuffed Mushroom Appetizer

Easy Appetizer – Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

If you’d like to make it even easier, I have the solution.  Check out my digital cookbook, Holiday Sips!  It’s a 30+ page guide on how to perfectly pair appetizer and holiday cocktails!  You can sign up below, get a freebie to get your bar stocked, and take a look at the book!



Enjoy yourself

Too often we worry too much about everything being perfect.  It doesn’t have to be.  These people are your friends, and they have chosen to take a night out during a busy holiday season to celebrate the friendship you share.

Now get to planning that small holiday gathering – you’ll be glad that you did!



PS: Here’s some other content I think you’ll love!

How to Host a Holiday Potluck Dinner

10 Tips for the Holiday Hostess

Top 10 Gifts For The Holiday Hostess


Steps for how to host a holiday party.


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