Holiday theme parties
With all the season's social engagements clogging everyone's calendars, you want your party to be the one that people remember. So go on – get creative! Now we know a holiday party can seem like enough pressure on its own, but making it themed can actually be fun and easy. A theme can help you plan your decor and open up – or narrow down – your food and beverage options. And if you include a fun dress code in the invitation, it'll help build anticipation for your party. Laura Panter and Michelle Hunt of The Martini Club have some creative suggestions for holiday theme parties that will dazzle your guests and keep them talking about it till next year.
Creating a festive atmosphere for your home bar can be simple and cost efficient. Start by draping your bar (or a small table in the kitchen) with colourful cloths. Add pine scented candles and sprigs of holly amongst your liquors and mixes. Freeze a bowl of cranberries for a festive garnish that also chills your drink. Finally, sprinkle a handful of fresh cranberries across the bar- the effect is simple, affordable and elegant. The results will belie the effort.
Make your space lovely by creating a rustic holiday ambience. Try spreading juniper twigs out on the table for decor, along with apples, squash and nuts. Have the kids create a welcoming snow man on the front lawn, and line the walkway with glimmering candles. In keeping with the theme, serve orange, red and green cocktails with earthy and homestyle food pairings. And remember to tell your guests to dress for the season!
Holidays are a time of ritual and celebration – not to mention nostalgia. So a retro holiday party is a perfect fit! Dust off the old record player and pull out some old Christmas favourites. There are plenty of cookbooks available from the 1940s with vintage hors d'ouvres such as ham and cucumber sandwiches (without the crust, of course), and baked bacon-wrapped pineapple chunks. Classic cocktails are also retro-chic so think about serving Grasshoppers, Pink Lady's and Brandy Alexanders.
Other suggestions from The Martini Club include creating a beach holiday party. Let your guests step out of the wintry night into a warm, exotic getaway. Between the umbrellas in their tropical drinks and the calypso carols, they'll believe for a few hours that they've escaped the snow.
Or in keeping with the realities of the season, lower the thermostat a little, light a fire and have your guests dress as they would at a ski lodge. Spiced cider, warm eggnog and hot chocolate with Bailey's or mint schnapps will make it feel like you've just come in from a day in the Alps.
For an elegant shindig, dress the house in white and silver. And have your guests dress accordingly, too. It complements the snowy outside, while adding some sparkle to the party. Serve white drinks like the classic martini with silver stir sticks or for some striking contrast go with vibrant red drinks like a cosmopolitan.
If a more intimate gathering is more your style, you can't go wrong with candles. Host a small dinner party surrounded by candles. You might even go so far as to make it a medieval kind of feast. Serve up some hearty comfort food and let the raucous conversation commence. For ambience, put on some instrumental Christmas songs in the background.