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Holiday open house ideas

Throw an open house this holiday season and invite neighbors and friends to swing by and enjoy some hot cider and sweet treats! An open house is an old-fashioned holiday party where guests stop by throughout an afternoon or evening. Food and drinks are served buffet style rather than the formal dinner party design. It’s an easy and fun way to showcase your decorated house for the holidays and visit with neighborhood friends and family. These top tips and recipes will make your house the place to be this holiday season!

1. Decoration and lights

Twinkling lights are not only an inexpensive way to decorate but really set the atmosphere for a fun party environment. Simple white Christmas lights strung outside your door as well as throughout your house will give your party that fancy glow.

Use simple green wreaths found at craft stores adorned with various holiday ribbon to decorate throughout your house. Light scented candles in cinnamon and other seasonal scents to help set the mood for some festive fun!

Fill glass vases or apothecary jars with inexpensive, simple ornaments and line them down your dining room table and on various side tables. Tie adorning bows around the vases and let the streamers twirl down onto the table.


2. House organization

With an open house, you can have various waves of friends and family entering your house and may find it crowded throughout the party. To help with crowd control, push back sofas and large furniture to your walls.

Place fragile vases and other smaller trinkets in a safe place so they will not break.

Set up folded chairs for extra seating. Separate drinks and food so guests won’t crowd one room of the house. Set up extra card tables with table covers for extra serving space. The key is spreading out your food and allowing enough walking room to have the perfect flow to your party!


3. Sips and eats

Keep the food simple and easy for your guests as they mix and mingle. Serve finger foods like cut veggies with an assortment of dips.

Set dishes or even wide vases throughout the house with treats like spiced pecans and mini holiday cookies.

Serve toasted crostini and an assortment of fresh fruit and cheeses.

Foods that can be prepared ahead of time and don’t require heating will allow you time to enjoy the open house as well.

As for cocktails, sparkling wine with a splash of cranberry juice is always a festive choice! Consider a signature cocktail that is unique to you or your family. For nonalcoholic beverages, serve a variety of fresh fruit juices with ginger ale or club soda for a splash of fizz. Arrange an assortment of maraschino cherries, pomegranates, lime wedges and other garnishes for guests to jazz up their cocktails.



  • 7 oz champagne or Prosecco
  • 1 oz cranberry juice


  1. Add cranberry juice to champagne or Prosecco
  2. Garnish with a couple of fresh cranberries. Cheers!




  • 4 cups pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Lightly beat egg with water in a small bowl. Pour over pecans and stir until lightly moistened.
  3. Add in dry ingredients and toss to coat pecans.
  4. Spread nuts on pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.


Fun favors

Send your guests out in style with a simple, easy favor!

Make a couple extra batches of your favorite cookie recipe and drop 1 or 2 into a cellophane bag. Tie the bag with a colorful holiday ribbon and attach a simple gift tag to thank your friends for dropping by! Take it up a notch by attaching your favorite holiday recipe too! Place the favors in a basket by the door for guests to grab on their way out.

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