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Hosting a holiday open house is a fantastic way to get friends and family together during one of the busiest seasons of the year! I’ll show you how to host a holiday open house where everyone will have a wonderful time!
TIP 1: Invitations & Guest List
I will always be the one who sends a paper invite. I just love them, but regardless of how you choose to invite people, make sure you do it formally, and not just by word of mouth. Open houses require a start and end time. It’s also important to state something along the lines of: “stop by and celebrate with us any time you’d like”. This way guests understand clearly what type of party they are being invited to. Also, remember not to invite people who don’t get along and that you aren’t positive would behave themselves around each other. Invite one or the other, but never both. If you can’t avoid inviting both, adjust their invitations to open it up to two different time slots. Oh, the drama.
When you are thinking about how to host a holiday open house you need to make sure that food and drink are on the top of your list for planning!
TIP 2: Food & Drink
Who doesn’t love to plan a menu? Oh, is that just me?? It can’t be! Keep your menu simple with items that can be replenished throughout the time of your open house. My tip would be to make sure much of what you are serving are foods that are easy to move around with – cocktail party style. Supplement all of those yummy tidbits with a couple of crockpot items that can be warmed up in the oven in batches and used to replenish your food supply. Here’s what I would serve:
What I do for food & drink…..
- Choose three of these 20 Easy Appetizers for a Party and make plenty to last the day. Keep the oven on and warm them up as needed. Check out my Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts from this list for a real crowd pleaser! Some of these are room temperature appetizers, and some are hot. Pick a mix. That way you don’t stress yourself out trying to offer too many.
- For the heartier options, I would make a white chicken chili with all of the fixings that are pre-chopped and ready to replenish, along with two different quiche options, and a meatball in sauce that guests can use to make themselves a slider. Place all of the fixings for the slider next to the slow cooker.
- Set up a dessert table. Personally, I might make this a littler easier on myself and pick up some desserts at a place like Costco, or your local bakery. This is also a wonderful option when people ask “What can I bring”? A dessert is really helpful for a party like this!
Try one or two of these festive treats to make your party extra special:
- Freeze cranberries and rosemary in ice cubes. Serve to guests
- Make these Peanut Butter Balls and wrap them in cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon for guests to take home.
- Leave out recipe cards next to your best dishes to share with family and friends!
Always set up a self-serve bar!
For drinks, I’m sticking with my stand-by. I always offer a really nice white, a smooth red, and one signature cocktail. Choose one of these for something festive! Set up the bar so that people can serve themselves and you don’t have to play bartender. Make up a few batches of your signature cocktail, however; if you don’t want to keep doing that – simple put out a nice frame with the directions written out. Festive and fun!
How to host a holiday open house wouldn’t be complete without TIP #3!
TIP 3: Decor & Setting the Mood
If you’re overly festive (like me), your home will most likely already be decorated for the holidays by November 1st. If not, it’s easy to get it ready for your Holiday Open House!
- Poinsettia plants bring the holidays into a room in a snap! Place smaller ones in sets of three raising one up just a tad higher than the others. Place greens on the bottom. Larger plants can be placed around the perimeter of the room (again, I use the rule of three and place them at varying heights.
- Candles always set the mood for the holidays. I almost exclusively use these fabulous candles that I found on Amazon. They look just like the very expensive ones, and work just as well! These candles have a timer, a dimmer, and last forever on a set of batteries. I decorate with them by the season as well. Check them out here!
- Make sure you have a playlist set on repeat in advance, or plan to use something like Pandora to keep the tunes going. I’ve gathered a few you can add to your playlist.
- For other tips on how to get your space party ready – check out this post on 10 Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party.
TIP 4: Set up your space
When planning your holiday open house, you won’t have any idea when people are going to plan on showing up – crazy, right? You could have lots of people arrive in the beginning of the time frame, a few at a time, or all closer to the end. Set up your space for optimum flow.
Make sure that you move your furniture around to create small seating groups where a few people at a time can sit and talk. Don’t place the bar close to the food. This way you avoid people congregating in one place. If children will be present, set up a place for them to enjoy the party as well. A specific area to play, or table where you have gingerbread cookies ready for decorating. Whatever you choose, make it easy to manage and fun for the kids.
A few last tips on space:
- Place appetizers around the room. People gather near food.
- Put away anything that is particularly precious to you.
- Make sure to designate a space for coats.
TIP 5: Enjoy your party!
A good host or hostess will always greet guests, so be sure to do that! I’ve been to parties where I swear, the host or hostess doesn’t even know you’re there. That’s never a good thing. Do as much prep ahead of time as you can, and when people ask what they can bring – ask for a dessert. Keep a special bottle on the side for you and your partner to share, crank up the holiday tunes and enjoy your friends and family!
Hosting a Holiday Open House
It will probably be the most fun you’ll have all season. You’ll get to see a lot of friends, all on the same day without hosting multiple parties!
Let me know how your holiday open house turns out – and if you have any additional tips! I’d love to hear them!