How to Throw an Awesome and Intimate Holiday Party

It seems COVID is the guest we didn’t invite to 2020. Yet, we have all been there. It happens with big parties. Someone invites some “friends,” and hosting a fun party ends up being a marathon. By the end of the night, you aren’t sure if you ate enough or drank enough, or even if you enjoyed it. That is why, if we can find one silver lining to 2020, we are proposing to keep it small. That’s right. While many states, like Maryland, have opened up and no longer have gathering limits, maybe it’s not a bad thing to limit your guest list. Just because it’s a small party doesn’t make it less of one. So, without further ado, here is how to throw an awesome and intimate holiday party.

Step One – Get RSVPs

It might seem with larger parties you might want a headcount, but smaller ones generally need it more. Figure out how many you want to invite (say, 10 people) and start reaching out. See who is available and explain this is invite-only. This helps with two things. First, they know not to invite their cousin’s best friend that is coming into town. Second, it helps explain why they need to let you know ASAP about their RSVP. You can do this via text, GroupMe, evite, or Facebook private events.

Step Two – Set The Theme

Don’t overthink this. Do have fun with it. Maybe you just want to do a sit down casual dinner. That’s fine. But, maybe you want to do a costume party, a wine and cheese pairing, or party in your PJs. Whatever rocks your boat. Determining the theme helps you figure out the menu, activities, and music. Here are our favorite ideas:

  Prom Party

Have your friends dress in throwback formalwear. Create a photo booth area with props. Play some WOW hits from the early 2000s or 1990s. Just like a school dance, have food set up buffet style. Think finger foods and your teenage favorites. Best part? This time you can spike the punch!

  Classic Dinner

Keep the dress casual and have everyone bring their favorite bottle of wine. Plan to have some appetizers for people to drink and talk while dinner finishes. Or better yet, get it catered. Have a sit-down dinner and then a friendly game of charades or cards after. Put on some easy jazz in the background.

  Movie Themed

Pick your favorite holiday movie, and have everyone dress as a character from that film. Try to keep the menu specific to the food from this movie (i.e., Home Alone – Kevin LOVES pizza!). Then, instead of music, have the movie playing. This can be anything from a Disney film to a holiday movie.

Want more ideas? Have a Hanukkah Potluck, or have friends bring a traditional dish from their different backgrounds. You can also have a hot chocolate bar and decorate cookies together.

Step Three – Slow Down

It’s a lot easier to manage a small party, so take the opportunity to enjoy it. Use the decorations you would already have for the holidays. Cater from a local small restaurant to save you time and energy. Finally, engage your friends to bring libations or help make a festive drink.

Also, have a simple agenda – eat, drink, have an activity. Think of only one activity too – watch a movie, play a game, dance, etc. All this should be fun, not stressful. When in doubt, throw together some cheese, crackers, and wine. Sometimes parties are just about engaging with our friends and family. And, after this year, that is just what we need. Cheers, friends.