Holiday Party Ideas: How to Host a Holiday Dinner Party

How to Host a Holiday Dinner Party Header with guests in the background

The holidays are full of fun events like concerts, gift exchanges, parties, and dinners. Most people look forward to these events and have high expectations for the turnout, which can make hosting a bit daunting, especially if you’re hosting a holiday dinner party. The food, the atmosphere, the music, the guestlist… there are so many factors that go into making a holiday dinner one to remember.

If you’ve been faced with hosting a holiday dinner party this season, worry not. Here we have a complete guide for hosting a dinner that will be sure to please each and every one of your guests.

The Type of Holiday Dinner Party

The first step in throwing an amazing holiday dinner is deciding what type of dinner party it will be. Do you want something casual or formal? Buffet-style or catered? Think about what your guests would prefer, how much help you will have (and need), how much time you have to prepare, and what kind of holiday dinner party your budget will allow for. Decide on how the food will be served, what kind of food you want to serve, etc. Once you have the basics decided upon, you can get into planning the details.

Group of Friends Celebrating at Holiday Dinner Party

The Guestlist

Once you have the holiday dinner party type decided upon, the guestlist should follow suit. Would this dinner work best as a family dinner, a friends dinner, or a mix? The number of guests is especially important when it comes to planning out the food and setting. A smaller guest list may mean that a multi-course dinner in the dining room is possible while a larger guest list may require a more casual setup. Once you have your guest list figured out, make sure to send invitations early and request RSVPs.

The Food

The food is arguably the most important part of your holiday dinner party, so careful menu planning and preparation is recommended. Here are some cooking tips if you’re going the traditional turkey-cranberry-mashed-potatoes route:

1. Make the appetizers the night before so you have the day-of to focus on the main dishes.

2. Enlist the help of your closest guests so you have more hands in the kitchen. Or, have guests bring a dish to clear up cooking time and kitchen space in your home.

3. Have your recipes for turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, apple pie, and any other main dish picked out at least a couple weeks in advance so you know exactly what you need and how long each recipe will take to complete.

4. Purchase food warmers just in case dishes are completed at various times.

5. Don’t forget the drinks! The beverages should match the caliber of the food, so if you’re putting the effort into making a gourmet meal, the drinks should follow suit. If needed, have guests bring the beverages. This is a great way to delegate without going full-on potluck.

6. A great way to gage the amount of food you’ll need is to try to make enough so that each guest can have two servings.

Friends Toasting at Holiday Dinner Party

The Setting

Set the mood of your dinner party with decor, seating arrangements, music, and lighting. Make your holiday dinner party more festive by heading to your local dollar store and picking up some decorations. If you have kids who are willing to help out, this is a great project for them. Turn the lights down a bit for a cozy environment and arrange the seating for easy navigation and conversation. Your holiday dinner party environment should be inviting, comfortable, and conducive to mingling. Turn on some soft holiday music to set the tone for a lovely night of delicious food and engaging conversation.

Check out these ideas for DIY holiday decor crafts to give your party a little something extra.

The Back Up Plan

We know – planning and executing a holiday dinner party can be challenging and a bit daunting. If things aren’t going the way you planned, you and your guests always have the option of celebrating the holidays with dinner at Kosar’s Wood Fired Grill at Hard Rock Rocksino. The holiday menu features both delicious classics and fresh twists on holiday favorites. So, whether your dinner party is running smoothly or not so smoothly, you know you’ll have an amazing dinner.

The goal for every dinner party host is to have guests leave full of great food and happy they came. With the right planning and preparation, even a first-time host can throw an unforgettable holiday dinner party that will have guests asking for another one next year!

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