How to Throw a Christmas Cocktail Party
Prepare a Guest Area
For formal parties, use holiday stationery to send invitations. This sets the tone and helps you prepare the right amount of food and cocktails for guests who send an RSVP. In addition to close friends and family, try including friends from other circles like work, fitness class, or school. You may be surprised who hits it off with each other. Have a guest area prepared with a coat rack and seasonal decor for when everyone arrives.
Serve Up Christmas Cocktails
At this party, the Christmas cocktails are the real stars. Offer classic batch drinks like eggnog and Christmas punch or a few specialty Christmas cocktails. Signature drinks like Christmas mojitos, pomegranate mimosas, and warm beverages like hot toddies are always a hit with guests. Additionally, keep punch bowls and ice buckets on hand for champagne and wine. As a courtesy, have alcohol-free punch, sparkling water, and coffee or hot chocolate for guests who don’t drink in clearly marked carafes and pitchers.
Use the Right Christmas Barware
Bar glasses come in many varieties, so what should you use for your Christmas cocktail party? It just depends on what you serve. Use flutes with champagne drinks, cocktail glasses for aromatic drinks like martinis, and low ball glasses for drinks on the rocks or cocktails, such as “old fashioneds.” If you decide to serve hot drinks, like Irish coffee, use specialty glasses to keep them insulated.
Provide Some Festive Food
As the host of a Christmas cocktail party, you already have your hands full, so keep the menu simple by serving finger foods and hors d’oeuvres. Cheese and deli plates, dips, crackers, and spreads provide enough options to accommodate most dietary preferences and take little time to prepare. Cake stands, cutting boards, and large plates make it easy for guests to graze from the snack selection.
Create a Holiday Atmosphere
Show off your Christmas spirit with classic decorations like holiday table runners, twinkle lights, and a beautiful new Christmas tree. For formal parties, choose a simple palette of two colors like gold and white or silver and green. You can also use wreaths or candles as table centerpieces. Decorations for casual parties can be more eclectic and colorful. Try using candy, paper banners, stockings, and balloons to add holiday fun to your Christmas party.
Play a Gift Giving Game
From useful to silly, White Elephant gifts range from Bluetooth speakers and ugly Christmas sweaters to total junk, so encourage your guests to bring novelty gifts to make the game more interesting. Set a price limit so everyone can participate and encourage your guests to bring fully-wrapped presents. Each guest grabs a present from the pile then swaps or steals a present from another guest. Once everyone’s swapped or played, tell your guests to open their gifts. At the end of the game, they’ll be surprised at what they got and gave away.
Don't Forget a Safe Sleigh Home
Just like any party with alcohol, you should encourage guests to carpool or come with a designated driver. Rideshare apps and taxi cabs can also help your guests get home safely if you live in the city or suburbs. If you have a guest room, have it ready with fresh holiday sheets, blankets, and decorations for anyone who needs to stay. If you don’t have a guest room, get an inflatable mattress, new pillows, or other accessories to help them get a good night sleep in your house. Christmas cocktail parties should be enjoyable, but never let your guests drive home if they’ve had too much to drink.