Monday, November 20, 2017

Holiday Hosting

It's so secret that we have had some not-so-merry holidays over the past several years. I've learned to make time and space for the grief and sadness that come with the season of sparkling lights. I try to plan ahead and get as much done in advance of the holiday season as I can. 

It has been a relief to find that the holidays feel lighter and happier in recent years, and this year I shocked myself by agreeing to host the holiday staff party for David's new school. 

The tradition is that everyone bring an appetizer, so we're sticking with finger foods, wine and beer, maybe a festive mixed drink we can do ahead of time. It's adults-only, so we'll hire a babysitter to do her best to keep our kids upstairs and get them to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. 

I wanted to do something special for invitations, but paper seemed impractical since it's a long guest list, plus we're already sending out traditional Christmas cards. So for the party, I'm using Paperless Post invitations. I'm probably overthinking it, but I felt like it was important to set the right tone... 

I want it to be festive, cheery, and casual. I don't want to imply this is some kind of glamourous gala and then be like, "Oh, hi, welcome to our house, hang on let me dim the lights so you don't notice that carpet stain." I'm hoping that it's an opportunity for me to get to know some of the teachers that David works with on a daily basis, and to show our appreciation for all they do for the students.

Anyway, Paperless Post has lots of super cute designs, and I think I chose one that sets the right tone. I was worried it was a little boozy for a work party, but David assured me it was fine (ha!).  I don't want to link the exact design here because I want it to be a surprise, but here are a few of the top contenders:

Reindeer Cocktails

Jingle & Mingle

Holiday Party

Honestly, there were so many cute ones I had to ask David for his input because I felt like I couldn't decide! I'll be sending them out this week.

We'll be keeping the foods simple (mini-sandwiches, veggie trays, a couple of dips, some chex mix, and cookies and bars, plus whatever else people bring to share), and we're sticking with paper plates and napkins, so clean up should be pretty easy. I'm planning to set up lots of luminaries outside, plenty of twinkle lights inside, and hopefully find a not-too-cheesy holiday playlist to stream. I've always been a fan of Christmas decorations, and I just might use this as an excuse to get a few more things. After all, we're in a new house this year!

I keep thinking that we have it under control, but then I start freaking out about details or things I might be overlooking. I've never hosted an event with this many people, and I don't want to screw something up. Any bits of practical advice?


  1. Sounds fun, and cute invites. I think you've got the bases covered. I always like a nice sparkling non-alcoholic punch for non-drinkers or drivers. I remember going to a few parties when I was pregnant or on medication that prohibited me from drinking alcohol, and it was nice to have something more festive than a glass of water. (Especially if you don't want to call attention to the fact that you aren't drinking - that happened to me once, and sort of outed me as pregnant before we announced it to everyone.)

    So maybe if you do a special drink, consider a non-alcoholic one. Did you ever make that pear punch? It's delicious and festive and pretty.

  2. Thanks for finally writing about >"Holiday Hosting" <Loved it!

  3. These are so cute -- I think "Jingle & Mingle" is my favourite! I have to admit, I get nervous just having a few people over for coffee -- the biggest gathering I ever hosted was about four years ago when it was our turn to host dh's maternal aunts, uncle & cousins -- about 45 people in all. Stress city, but the weather held (it was in our backyard in August) & we found a great caterer, and everyone had a good time in the end. So I am probably not one to give advice, but it sounds to me like you have things under control. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!