Want to throw the holiday party of the year that’ll have everyone rockin’ around the Christmas tree, but think you can’t because your abode is an ever-so-humble small apartment?
Think again. It’s time to get creative.
Decking the halls and throwing a holiday party for the books in your apartment is easy, and we’ve got expert advice to prove it.
Tips for hosting a holiday party in your apartment
1. Make room
The first thing you’ll want to do for party prep is clear out space for your guests and make room for jingle bell rocking.
Chances are good you have methodically placed every piece of furniture in your apartment to make it feel like home, and while we tip our hats to that, it’s time to shake things up a bit.
You may find you need to store away your coffee table, that expensive vase your mom got you in Italy, and other things that aren’t needed, or could get broken during your festivities.
Thanks to Closetbox, this step is incredibly easy.
All you’ve gotta do is give Closetbox a call, and the moving elves will come to your house, grab up what you want to temporarily store away, and take it to a safe and secure storage unit.
Once you’ve recovered from your party of the year, Closetbox will bring your items back and take away the new decorations you splurged on to store until next year.
2. Arrange your serving and dining space
Once you’ve got a clean slate to work with (after Closetbox has cleared away unneeded items), it’s time to arrange your space in a way that makes sense.
We turned to celebrity caterer, founder and CEO of Elegant Affairs, Andrea Correale for some ideas. With a client list that includes Brooke Shields, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon, Liam Neeson, and more, there’s no doubt she knows how to host an all-star party.
“Consider how many people your apartment will fit comfortably,” Correale advises. “By planning ahead, you can be sure everyone has a comfortable place to sit to enjoy their meal. If your dining table is too small to accommodate your guest count, set up a self-serve buffet in the kitchen using the counters and stove-top.”
This is Correale’s own take on the farm-to-table concept — but this time, it’s “oven-to-table.”
No need to make more trouble for yourself, and take up additional space by bothering with fancy serving dishes — people are going to be more interested in your fancy egg nog.
3. Decide on your menu
While surely your party guests will love each others’ company, let’s be honest — they’re coming for the food and drinks, too.
Thus, you’re probably feeling some pressure to plan the perfect menu, and that’s understandable.
So, why not keep things simple by choosing a theme?
Ricki Kline and Rashida Purifoy, of L.A.-based hospitality firm Ricki Kline Design + Build, are known for their annual downtown L.A. loft holiday, party, and they always have a theme.
“Traditional decorations and food are great, but to us, every other holiday party will be that way, so why not get creative? We have done so many different themes, including Hawaiian, Mexican, Mediterranean, and Italian.”
Once you’ve chosen a theme, picking the food and decor becomes much easier.
4. Ask for help
One of the best ways to take party planning-induced stress off of your shoulders is to involve your guests in preparing the food.
“Ask your guests to contribute to the feast!” exclaims Correale. “Let them know what it is you have covered, and ask them to bring the rest.”
But don’t forget to make a list of what each person will be bringing — one green bean casserole may be too many, but there’s no way you could possibly know what to do with two of them.
“It is all about sharing in a delicious meal,” says Correale. “The less you have to make yourself, the more time you will have to chat, laugh, and make memories!”
5. Create a drink station
You don’t want to be spending your night mixing drinks for your guests, or hiring someone to do it for you.
Instead, set up a self-serve drink station equipped with all your guests need to ignite that holiday cheer.
You can always really simplify things by serving a batched drink. Award-winning event planner Jamie O’Donnell of Jamie O’ + Co. is no stranger to planning parties, and she’s a big fan of the batched drink trick to save space.
“Try beer, wine, soda and a mixed alcoholic drink in a nice crystal pitcher or a dispenser that guests can help themselves [to].”
You’ll also like the money that this saves you, as you won’t have to splurge on a variety of spirits.
All this talk about drinks probably has you feeling panicked about the number of half-consumed glasses you’ll be picking up the day after.
Correale has a suggestion: “Fun glass tags are always a good idea at a dinner party, and for those drinking from a high ball, use decorative drink stirrers or festive name tag stickers.”
Attaching a name to a glass in some fashion allows you to keep the used glassware down to a minimum.
6. Decorate to your heart’s content
One of the bonuses of having a party in a small space is that decorating is much easier.
Not having 3,000 square-feet of house to incorporate decor into will save you loads of time and energy.
However, it is important when throwing a party in an apartment that you decorate the entire space, including the bathroom. “Everyone will go into the bathroom at some point,” says Kline. “You want them to feel like they are still part of the party while in there.”
Whatever theme and decor you decide on for your soiree, Kline advises avoiding the use of scented candles. While we all love the annual excuse to make our homes smell like a forest of pine trees, you don’t want the candles to “compete with the delicious smells from the food,” says Kline.