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10 Inspired holiday party ideas

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Inspired entertaining

Holiday hosting doesn’t have to mean a sit-down dinner and preparing a three course meal. Trust us, your guests will get enough of that at every other Christmas event they attend. Spice up your next seasonal soiree with our inspired entertaining ideas.

Christmas wine and cheese party

1Holiday brunch

Who says your holiday gathering has to be in the evening? Have everyone over for a feast of breakfast favorites. Start with champagne and orange juice (and coffee and tea for anyone who wants it) and then serve your meal buffet style for the sake of simplicity. One-dish meals make things easy, like our decadent Tomato and Cheese Bake or Jalapeno Pie. Also keep fruit salad, muffins and juice in good supply for a well-stocked brunch table.

2Holiday cookie exchange

This is a great way to get friends and family together in a casual manner and end up with some tasty treats. Have guests choose their favorite cookie to bake (or buy) and bring it over and then set up a treat table where everyone can sample the sweets. Beverage options can include hot chocolate, flavored coffees or festive drinks like eggnog and mulled wine.

3Holiday cocktail party

Let's face it, the holidays are all about food, but it can be a good idea to give people a break, and instead, focus on one-bite appetizers and cocktails. Set up drink stations featuring one beverage per station. Stock each station with the ingredients for a simple cocktail (and a list of instructions) so guests can mix their own drinks. This frees you up to mingle and restock where necessary. Set up a few tables with simple snacks such as spiced nuts, trays of antipasto or a cheese and charcuterie board.

4Holiday wine and cheese

Besides the fact that everyone loves cheese, this is another good option that takes the focus off of heavy holiday meals. Set up is simple. Create several stations featuring one wine, paired with one cheese. Do some research in advance on wine and cheese pairing and place a card on each table explaining tasting notes, why the pairing works and what to expect. You can also leave comment cards at each station encouraging guests to leave their thoughts on each pairing.

5Holiday dessert party

Set up a table with your desserts of choice. Opt for items that are easy to hold and that aren't too messy. Think brownies, cheesecake bars, mini tarts or any other dessert that comes in an individual serving. You can also set up a candy bar for guests to fill bags with their favorite treats like gummy bears, Swedish berries and licorice allsorts.

Up next: 5 More holiday party ideas >>

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