Once you’ve decided on a holiday party, the guest list and the calendar date, it’s time to think about what to serve:
Simple but fun:
Consider offering one special holiday drink that can be mixed ahead of time, like sangria in pitchers or a Christmas Champagne punch.
Stocking a bar?
You don’t have to go all out; vodka, gin and bourbon are the most common choices for mixed drinks. For gadgets, check our bar guide.
Include non-alcoholic options:
Sodas, fruit juices, maybe a special Christmas sparkling cider. Let guests help themselves with an ice-filled party tub.
Offer an unexpected treat:
Liqueurs or cordials with Christmas desserts.
Make things easy on yourself this Christmas with a buffet setup. A few of your homemade favorites, a few quirky or exotic take-out dishes and lots of bowls filled with nuts or olives—that will keep everyone happy and chatty. Find more ideas and recipes in our Tasting Party® Guide.
Garnishes: Olives, maraschino cherries, lemon peel
Ice bucket with tongs
Pitcher for water, juices
Lots more ice
Drinks: According to professional event planners, each guest usually consumes 2-3 drinks during a party’s first hour; 1 drink every hour after that. Other good things to know:
1 bottle of wine = 4 servings
1 bottle of Champagne = 6 servings
1 fifth bottle = 25 shots; or about 17 mixed drinks
Glasses: Plan on at least 3 glasses per person, since guests can misplace or change their drink.
Food: You can estimate that each guest will probably eat 5-6 appetizers per hour. Plan on 2 appetizer plates per guest. Details: You can never set out too many coasters or napkins. Your furniture surfaces will be protected and so will your sanity.