The holidays are a wonderful time to get family and friends together, but it can be difficult to plan an event that everyone can enjoy. Follow these tips to throw the perfect get-together for everybody on your guest list.
Schedule it right
Try to select a date and time that’s suitable for most people on your invite list. For instance, you may need to end your gathering earlier so young children can make their bedtimes, so starting the festivities at 5:00 p.m. might be a good option for a two-to-three-hour party. Avoid times that may clash with your guests’ schedules, such as late in the evening on weeknights.
Composing your guest list well is key. Make sure little ones will have others to play with and that partygoers will meet people with similar interests. You could plan an icebreaker activity to kick off your bash, such as a holiday trivia game or craft. Make introductions to get everyone acquainted, and regularly check that everyone feels comfortable and included. Encourage your guests to congregate by serving dinner buffet style so they can eat and mingle simultaneously.
Spread some cheer
Parties are best when everyone present joins in, so pick food, activities, and music that most of your guests will appreciate. A charcuterie board with fresh veggies, nuts, chips, dips, meats, and cheeses will cater to a variety of tastes and allow everyone to find something they’ll like. (Just make sure to ask about allergies beforehand.) Put together a holiday music playlist for the party that includes popular tunes and nostalgic songs, and choose an activity that all ages can play together, such as a white elephant gift-exchange game. When you do, ask each person to bring a wrapped gift that’s suitable for both kids and adults.
Set up a kids’ table
While it’s fun to get different generations together, you might also want to give adults and children their own spaces at your party. If you set up a children’s table, it will give grown-ups a chance to talk and provide some fun for the kids too. Check in on the younger ones from time to time to make sure they are safe and happy, or enlist a young adult to keep a watchful eye on them.
Break it up
It’s also a good idea to encourage people to form smaller groups during your party. Designate a different activity for each room, such as a room for games, one for eating, and another for conversation. A large space can accommodate group activities like a game of darts, and a smaller one can be perfect for a place to relax and chat.
Have a quiet space
It’s helpful to provide a separate area for when a little one needs a nap or when an older adult could use some rest. For example, you could make a bed with clean sheets in an extra room, or, if the weather outside is pleasant, you could provide seating on your patio or deck away from the main activity.
Wrap it up
Finally, set a time for when to conclude the party so parents with young kids or guests who might want to retire early don’t feel pressured to stay longer. One way to do this is by putting the start and end times for your get-together on your invitations. Or, after everyone has eaten dessert at your party, start cleaning up, turn down the music, and point out where guests can pick up any parting gifts.