Holiday Ready for Your Party

Holiday Party Tips

Besides the obvious: make a list, prep ahead, self-serve bar–we decided to share some expert tips and hosting rules of thumb to make your gathering a “ginger” snap this year.

Decide on Decorations

“When it comes to decorations, think small. Save space for food by displaying low arrangements of blooms in lieu of a large centerpiece. Use small accents, such as gilded nuts, to fill any empty spots on the dining or buffet table.”–Martha Stewart


Give Your Family And Friends The VIP Spirit...

“Show you’re a gracious host* by stocking up on the exact bourbon or microbrew that a friend drinks. It’s a thoughtful gesture.”

–Soraya Jollon, party planner extraordinaire

*As a guest, show how gracious you are for not having to host and bring your favorite bottle to stock up the host’s bar!

Offer a Signature Guilt-Free Drink

“Mix up some wine with club soda or diet citrus soda, add a splash of low-cal juice (think cranberry), and a pretty piece of fruit, like a raspberry. Give it a catchy name, and you’ll have a festive drink that won’t derail anyone’s diet. You don’t have to go with grog or nog!”

–Bethany Thayer, director of the Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Detroit

Which wine?

“Sauvignon Blanc (which is light and fruity) and Cabernet Sauvignon (think cocoa and cinnamon) go with practically anything and taste good to pretty much anyone.”

–Margrit Mondavi, wife of the late Robert Mondavi

Party Planning Rules of Thumb


WHO is on the guest list?

It’s suggested to invite your guests at least three to four weeks out, if not sooner, as calendars tend to fill up fast around the holiday season.

WHAT kind of party? 

Giving your party invite a descriptive name such as: “Holiday Cocktail Party” or “Open House & Buffet Supper,” makes the invite simple and efficient. Allowing both you and your guest more time to focus on preparing for your soirée.

WHEN do you ask for help?

NOW! Solicit help, such as a moving crew, early and often! Star caterers and moving crews also book up quickly, so make sure to plan your party around your team’s availability so you aren’t left doing all the heavy lifting.

WHERE will everything go?

A week before your event, if not sooner, set the stage. Inventory items to be moved and stored, and choose what cookingware and serving dishes will be used. Lighting and décor should be decided, as well as where the food, bar, coats, clean-up station, additional seating, and music will be set up. Be sure that you invited 20 percent more people than you can fit in your space; and, if you’re planning to host in your home don’t forget to invite your neighbors.

WHY are you hosting?

There is a welcomed warmth that a hosts feels when all their efforts are realized and they can savor in the joy created by bringing their friends together. This holiday season don’t forget that your party is about how YOU want to do things. And if you follow that rule you will always feel more relaxed at your party. It’s a celebration, not a competition!

HOW much alcohol to buy?

Plan on two drinks per person for the first two hours of your gathering and after that, one drink per person for each additional hour. One can assume 40 percent beer, 30 percent hard liquor, and 30 percent wine, unless you know otherwise for your invitees.


Recommended Holiday Beer From Ballast Point

Orange Vanilla Fathom

•    India Pale Lager With Orange & Vanilla

•    A sweeter take on an award-winning IPL

Our Orange Vanilla Fathom India Pale Lager continues our quest for exploration. The piney and citrus hop aromas of our Fathom IPL combines with sweet orange and creamy vanilla – while staying true to classic lagering techniques. Brewed with a touch of nostalgia, it may remind you of a childhood treat, but this one is just for adults.


Drink Cheat Sheet

25 People


Beer 60 bottles

Wine/Champagne 9 bottles

Hard Liquor 3 bottles

Mixers 12 liters


50 People

Beer 120 bottles

Wine/Champagne 18 bottles

Hard Liquor 6 bottles

Mixers 24 liters


100 People

Beer 240 bottles

Wine/Champagne 36 bottles

Hard Liquor 11 bottles

Mixers 48 liters