How to Throw a Fabulous Holiday Party

Want to throw a truly spectacular holiday party this year? We picked the decor-and-design-oriented brains of four of Glam’s top DIY, design, and decorating bloggers about how to create a successful gathering for your family, friends, and loved ones this year. Read on to steal these genius party-planning tips from Catch My Party, Spearmint Baby, The Party Dress, and Modern Day Moms.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: How do you set a fabulous table for a holiday party?

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Nothing says holiday party like cinnamon, pine, and wreaths. Make mini wreaths to place around candles on the table for a fun, wintery way to spruce up your setting.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: Layer upon layer of details. Add in textures, play with patterns, and add some shimmer or metallic for a festive accent. Personal touches such as place cards, wine tag charms, or a small gift at everyone’s place setting are unique ways to make the table more personal to your guests.

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: I think the key to a fabulous table is to think about your guests first. If you’re doing a fancy adult dinner party, decorate to the max and serve some great signature cocktails. But if you’re having children at the party, setting your table with butcher paper, putting out buckets of crayons, and letting your guests go to town is a much more interesting idea and fun for everyone. You can still add special elements, but keep your goal for the party in mind.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Another fun way is to use Christmas lights as a centerpiece on your table. By mixing and mingling them around the dishes, your food and decor will really stand out as you gobble up the delicacies.

Shari Lott, Spearmint Baby: I have not mastered party planning yet!

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: I also like the idea of taking a typical dessert that everyone loves, like Rice Krispie Treats, and elevating it by adding something interesting to it, like sea salt and brown butter. I like taking traditional things and serving them in unexpected ways.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: Is there a holiday party that stands out in your mind as being “the best holiday party I’ve thrown”? What kind of food was served? How did you decorate?

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: What’s funny is we always go to my in-laws for the holidays, so I don’t have a “best holiday party I’ve ever thrown.” Every year I flirt with the idea of throwing an open house but haven’t yet accomplished it. Hopefully this year I will actually do it and you’ll get to see the photos.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: I threw a “Mad for Plaid” party that I just loved. Plaid is still a trending pattern for the winter/holiday season, and I had a lot of fun playing with different ways to incorporate it into my dessert table. The centerpiece was my favorite part: I cut strips of plaid fabric and tied them around willow branches. It was dimensional and warm and cozy all at once!

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: When I think of holiday food, I think of caramel corn, candy-cane bark, and apple cider.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: Do you have any tips for throwing a fabulous holiday party on a budget?

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: My favorite piece of advice is to hold it in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. This way, you just need to serve appetizers and desserts and can save a lot on food. I recommend making as much as you can yourself and using cake and cookie mixes for desserts.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: When styling a dessert table, dress up store-bought desserts instead of ordering custom ones from a bakery. Use peppermints to dress up cupcakes and a white piping pen to write festive messages on brownie squares (I love “mix and mingle”, “be merry,” “happy everything”). And use colored frosting to sandwich two store-bought white meringues together for a color-coordinated dessert.

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: Also, I recommend just one signature cocktail, maybe some hot apple cider served straight for the kids, spiked for the adults. And I love the idea of a “do-it-yourself” bar like a gingerbread cookie decorating station that’s inexpensive to put together but fun for everyone.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: Decorate with items you already have in your home. Fill a large bowl or glass vase with ornaments to make a fabulous centerpiece.