How to Easily Host a Holiday Party

Martha StewartThrowing an elegant holiday get-together -- whether a sit-down dinner or a cocktail party -- doesn't have to be stressful. Here are a few tips for hosting a wonderful Christmas gathering without breaking a sweat.

1. Put Together a Guest List and Invitations

Once you've decided what kind of party you're going to host, determine the date, time, guest list, and menu. Then put together a list of people to invite and decide how you're going to get the word out (you can send an invitation via email or post, or you can call guests). We suggest inviting your guests at least three to four weeks in advance if not sooner, as calendars fill up fast around the holiday season.

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Plus: The 42 Prettiest Christmas Cookies

2. Easy Menu Ideas

Now that you know what type of party you're going to host and you have a guest list, it's time to pick what you'll serve. If you're having a dinner party, use one of these easy menus, or pick and choose which recipes you want to use and create your own holiday menu.

3. Make a List

At least a day before, make a list and schedule of what needs to be made and when. Make sure to leave at least an hour before the party starts for any last minute emergencies, and, of course, to get ready and relax before your guests arrive.

Plus: Our All Time Favorite Eggnog Recipes

4. Prep Ahead of Time

Make as much of the food and drinks ahead of time as you can. Of course, some things cannot be made beforehand, but try to get all of your prep work done as early as possible. If you're organized and have everything ready when the party starts, you'll be better able to attend to your guests.

5. The Bar

Set up a separate station (in another room or area if possible) for drinks. Stock it with both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage choices, ice, cocktail napkins, and appropriate glassware.

6. Enjoy!

Last but not least, enjoy yourself! If you are having a good time, your guests will have a great time as well.

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