Host a Holiday Open House

Invite friends and neighbors to join you for a relaxed afternoon of holiday cheer. Between the gingerbread decorating station, hot cocoa bar and variety of seasonal treats, there will be plenty to keep guests of all ages happy.

Pop the Bubbly

Nothing kicks off a party quite like bubbly. Display bottles in an ice-filled champagne bucket and offer guests a glass upon arrival. Add a few cranberries to each flute as a colorful nod to the holiday season.

Serve Buffet Style

Since there's no set meal time, a buffet piled high with seasonal flavors is your best bet. Guests will enjoy nibbling on fresh fruit, honey ham with hot, homemade biscuits, spiced olives, caramel-topped brie and tons of holiday cookies. Keep an eye on the table and replenish often. Get our recipes for: Caramel-Covered Brie and From-Scratch Buttermilk Biscuits.

Encourage The Spirit of Giving

Since guests will come and go throughout the afternoon, a gift exchange isn't the most practical option for this party. So, instead encourage their spirit of giving by asking guests to bring wrapped gifts to be donated to a local charity. Display the pretty packages where everyone can see them so the festively wrapped gifts become part of the party's decor.

Perfect Your Cheese Plate

The perfect cheese plate couldn't be simpler to create, yet will garner oohs and aahs from impressed guests. It's all about purchasing great ingredients and assembling them artfully. Choose 3 to 4 different cheeses that vary in texture and flavor, then garnish with your favorite fruits, nuts and preserves. Set out for guests to enjoy upon arrival, or incorporate into the buffet.

Keep Little Guests Happy

The easiest way to ensure the kiddos are well behaved is to set them up with an activity they'll enjoy. Set out gingerbread men and house-shaped sugar cookies ready to be decorated with icing, gum drops, chocolate chips, sprinkles and licorice. Cover the table with Kraft paper that can be folded up then tossed for easy cleanup.

Set Up a Hot Cocoa Station

Of course, your grownup guests deserve a treat, too. Place a bar-height table against a wall adorned with easy-to-make pom-pom garlands and a banner that reads Cup of Cheer. Guests will jump at the chance to concoct (then spike!) their own signature cup of toasty cocoa.

Ho-Ho-Hot Cocoa

No hot cocoa station is complete without peppermint sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream and hazelnut liqueur (for the adults). Since guests are allowed to get creative, it's a good idea to wrap the table in Kraft paper to keep the mess manageable. Of course, don't forget to set out plenty of mugs and replenish the hot cocoa as the party progresses.

Festive Favors

Making memorable favors that your guests will enjoy has never been so easy. Fold a square piece of paper into a cone shape, fill with roasted nuts, and fasten with jingle bells, a ribbon and a sticky tag. After all, there's no better gift than one you can eat.

Inspiration

When conceptualizing my color palette, I was drawn to a snowy palette of silver, white and evergreen for a fresh take on holiday decor. I incorporated a variety of textures like satin, felt and metallics to add warmth, and to beautifully offset the boxwood garlands and silver ornaments already present in my holiday decor.

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