It’s the most wonderful time of the year and what better way to celebrate than by going all out and throwing the holiday party of your dreams? Here are just a few ideas for how to spread joy to the world (or at least your friends and family) and ensure your party is a rousing success. And don’t worry; you don’t have to do it all on your own. Thumbtack can help you take care of all your holiday party needs. Just be prepared for your guests have so much fun they demand you make it an annual event.
Pick a Theme
Winter Wonderland, Christmas Around the World, Christmas Carol Karaoke, White Elephant, “Nightmare Before Christmas,” Santa’s Workshop, Deck the Halls Tree Trimming, Naughty and Nice, Ugly Sweater… There are tons to choose from, but having a theme will not only make your party stand out from everyone else’s, it’ll give you direction for food, decorations, and dress code.
Hire Saint Nick and his elves to mingle with guests and pose for pictures. Feeling even more festive? See if a reindeer is available to hang out in your front yard. If Rudolph and his very shiny nose show up, your party is guaranteed to go down in history.
Hire a Decorator
A professional event decorator can turn your home into a winter wonderland, complete with fake snow and twinkling lights, or Santa’s Workshop—think oversized toys and giant candy canes. Even if you’re doing something a little more low-key like a White Elephant party, a decorator can spruce up your home with garlands, wreaths, candles, and lights. A decorator will also ensure all of your “party zones” (space for conversation, dancing, drink pouring, food eating etc.) are spread out and in just the right place.
Book a Bartender
Bring in a professional bartender to make spirits right! After all, the holidays are a time for celebrating with friends, not spending your entire evening making and refilling drinks. Planning an extravagant dinner party? A sommelier will impress your guests, ensure all of the wine pairings are perfect, and teach everyone a little something about wine along the way.
Rent a Venue
Sure you could have the party at your house, but if you want to invite a ton of people, you might want to consider renting out a bar, restaurant, or finding a space at a cool hotel.
Get a DJ
A DJ will get the party started and keep it going. Ask if your DJ can set up karaoke so that people can sing their favorite carols. Or, if you want to handle the music yourself, consider renting a karaoke setup for the evening.
Bring in a Caterer
The best part of the holidays is the presents—and food. No party is complete without sugarplums and fruitcake… or maybe just an array of festive appetizers created (especially when there’s drinking involved.) A caterer can bring in an array of finger foods and tasty bites, set it all up, and make sure everyone leaves with full bellies. Just like how Santa would want it.
Decorate Gingerbread Houses
Set up a table with everything guests will need to create mini gingerbread houses or if that feels too ambitions, decorate gingerbread men instead. It’s a perfect treat for guests to eat on the spot or take home for later.
Hire a Piano Player
Throwing a more elegant party? If you have a piano, why not hire someone to come in and play for the evening? Ask her if she can also bring lyric sheets so everyone can gather around the piano to sing songs and ring in the holiday.
Bring in a Photo Booth
It’s basically not a party these days without a photo booth. When making arrangements for the booth, ask about holiday props like Santa beards, elf hats, candy canes on sticks, snowflake sunglasses, and reindeer antlers. (Photo credit: Hailee Steinfeld with Taylor Swift/ Instagram)
Offer Valet Parking
Valet parking is crucial if you live in a place where parking is tough. And, considering a lot of holiday parties happen in inclement weather, it means your guests won’t have to worry about walking through snow, sleet, and rain. If people are going to be drinking a lot, think about hiring a party bus to transport people to and from the festivities. The gift of getting home safely is the best one you can give.
Hand Out Stuffed Stockings as a Parting Gift
Go all out with favors and stuff stockings full of candy, ornaments, and fun toys for guests to take home. Depending on how wild the night will be, you might want to throw in some aspirin and a bottle of water as well. Bells will be ringing, but no one wants them ringing in her head the next morning!