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How to Throw the Ultimate Stress-Free Holiday Party

By AMA Staff

The “most wonderful time of the year” is also one of the busiest—and most stressful. If you’re planning to host a festive gathering, keep it simple, yet elegant, with these easy prep tips.

Up your decor game. When it comes to decor, less is more. Try pairing Pantone’s 2024 colour of the year—apricot crush, a warm and comforting tone—with silver or champagne for a festive look that’s on trend.

Set the mood. Skip the LED lights and candy-cane-scented candles. Instead, opt for unscented candles and a crackling fireplace, freshly cut cedar and pine garlands. A vintage holiday music playlist sets a festive tone.

Get the party started. Have a signature cocktail (or mocktail) ready for guests as they arrive. Consider mulled wine or holiday sangria (replace orange and lime slices with pear, pomegranate seeds and fresh cranberries). The spicy scent of cinnamon and cloves will immediately get guests into the holiday spirit.

It’s all about mocktails. Non-alcoholic cocktails have come a long way since the days of mixing cranberry juice with ginger ale—and their popularity is soaring. Simply swap out the gin or vodka in your cocktail recipes with a zero-proof spirit from your local liquor store. Also consider fun alternatives to soft drinks, such as sparkling kombucha.

Bring a board onboard. Graze boards (aka charcuterie boards) may be all the rage on social media, but they’re also a delicious—and easy—addition to a holiday party. Plus, you can prepare graze boards in advance, so you can spend more time mingling with guests and less in the kitchen.

As a responsible host, remember to order cabs or rideshares for your guests, or make sure there are designated drivers getting people home safely.