It’s thirty days and some change to the holiday season. Are you ready to party? Are you ready to host an event? Holiday season is not only a great time to get together with friends and family, but if you are hosting in a new house or apartment, it can also be a great time to have an open house.
An open house has two general meanings. One meaning is used by realtors to showcase a house or dwelling on the market, while the meaning for the purpose of this article means to host an event with restrictive hours for visitation. Guests can show up when they please, but they have to leave by a set hour. A house-warming generally implies a gift is required. We are fans of the open house for new homeowners, apartment-dwellers and people who are extremely busy.
Here are a few hacks to jumpstart your holiday open house or party in a short period of time.
Decide what and how
The options are many. You are not bound to do anything too formal or too casual. Decide on your budget and the amount of money you are willing to spend to entertain. Other considerations:
- Time of day/Day of week
- The space for entertaining
- Number of people
The time of day and the day of the week determine food and drink choices. Determining which spaces to designate for entertaining can be both time-efficient and budget-friendly. (You will need to include bathrooms.) The number of people determines the amount of food and drink and seating.
Decide on who
Do you want to mix work friends with friends and family? Do you want to entertain for just the work crowd? Decide. Here’s why. The people determine the atmosphere of the event. Work friends and relationships require care. What happens in your home can be repeated at work. Do you want that? Be wise in choosing your who.
Let’s decide on the open house. These hacks are based on a holiday event that is easy to plan, execute, and end.
- Try to plan your event as close to Thanksgiving as possible. Others will be planning their events closer to Christmas and New Year’s. Get yours out of the way, especially if the home is new and you are new at hosting.
- Pick an odd day like Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The Friday after Thanksgiving is a great day too.
- Set the hours and stick to them. An open house means people can show up whenever it is best for them within a timeframe. Give people (and yourself) a three-hour window to visit. Three hours works for spoiling food and melting ice. Three hours works well for frazzled nerves. You will not be disappointed if certain people cannot make it, and pleasantly surprised by those who can. If your open house ends at 7 pm, you would be perfectly justified in putting things away, and not answering your door after the end. Open house does not mean drop by any time. Amateurs will learn and pro guests will know better.
- Serve small bites, tapas, and appetizers. No one should expect a meal or large buffet. Small bites are good to absorb alcohol and keep the waste to a minimum. People should nosh not graze. Serve what you would be happy to eat as a leftover.
- Craft a special punch with and without alcohol, purchase ginger ale and cocktail sodas, and purchase little in the way of alcohol. A well-stocked bar is good but not necessarily your friend for an open house. A tub of mini bottles of asti, champagne or prosecco on ice is a great option. Make sure you have enough glasses, napkins and stirrers.
- If you subscribe to a service like Pandora or Spotify, curate a playlist that is not overpowering yet festive. Classic Motown has a great playlist that is nostalgic for any age group.
- Depending on your climate and the weather, make sure you have doormats for potentially messy feet. Find places to hang coats, a rolling coat rack is an option that can be easily stored away after the event.
- Provide warm drinks like tea and coffee for teetotalers.
If you know that you will need help, designate a co-host or two to assist with caring for guests and handling things for you when you have to entertain. Plus, if this is your first time, then you will have someone to guide you right along.
A final note
Decor can be simple and not too fussy. Buy things that will serve you for years to come and not just for your party. If you want a holiday flora, then choose a few large poinsettia plants, some garland and holly, and perhaps some candles (unlit) for immediate decoration.
Decide to enjoy the process. Entertaining at home takes work and time, but it can be a great way to share holiday sentiment without having to leave the house. Start planning now, and you will be set by your big day.