5 Tips for Last Minute Holiday Parties

Danny and I don't throw a lot of parties. Living so far outside of a town, we don't have company over very often. When we do, it often feels very last minute: we'll get a text from a friend, or a cousin, or maybe even a brother, and then they'll be at our house. We always try to have something ready--bread in the freezer, something we can throw in the oven, or snacks we can put out. 

For the holidays, it's nice to throw the occasional holiday party. But if you're like me, you forget until the last minute--say, two or three days before and suddenly you remember you have a bunch of people coming over. And they expect food and maybe drinks. 

Here are a few ideas for making any last holiday parties a hit. 

1. Offer easy, do-it-yourself food and drinks. 

My favorites are mimosa bars (a variety of juices and champagne), bagel bars (a few varieties of bagel, two varieties of cream cheese, and some toppings), or baked potato bars (if you're looking for a heartier option). This way, you can just set everything up and that's it. Offer plates, napkins, and that's it. Less work for you and more fun for everyone else. 

2. Minimize clean up by buying what you can. 

Prime example: if you're having a bagel bar at a New Year's Day brunch, don't make your own flavored cream cheese. Bless, it'd be nice, but it's not worth it. Buy the little tubs of flavored cream cheese. Buy dessert items to stack on a tray if you're already making a dinner, or buy the appetizers. Pick the thing you want to make and then cut yourself some slack on the rest. 

3. Keep the decor simple. 

Here are a few ideas for simple decor ideas. My favorite is filling a glass vase with holiday ornaments. There are plenty of ways to make your space a little prettier for a holiday party fast: clean it up, get it organized, and then have one or two cute pieces. 

4. Light a candle.

Get the house smelling like Christmas. I'm talking a Kitchen Spice or Tis the Season scented candles from Bath & Body Works. Something that smells like you've been baking up a storm. It will make your house feel homey and inviting. Perfect for the holiday season. 

5. Relax.

You don't living in Martha Stewart's magazine. Really. You don't. It's ok if you didn't get the kitchen totally decluttered; it's ok if you didn't get a chance to make the entire party look Pinterest worthy. We don't live in magazine editorials. We live in the real world. And your friends and family will probably love you even if the cream cheese is still in the tub you bought it in or you didn't decant the orange juice into a fancy container. It's fine. Celebrate!