December 16, 2012

So you've decked the halls and trimmed the tree, now what? Plan a party, of course. A Holiday Open House is an easy way to foster friendships, share sweets, and put your holiday decor on display. See our tips on how to plan a party amidst seasonal stress:

1. Finger Foods: Rather than a meal, serve an array of finger foods. Set up multiple food serving stations to encourage mingling among guests. And of course, this cuts down on dish washing time, as there's no need for flatware.

[Savory Parmesan Bites from 15 Easiest Finger Foods]

2. Desserts: It's certainly no secret that there are a bevy of baked goods during the holidays, and a Holiday Open House is the best time to put your desserts on display. If you want to avoid the oven altogether, ask guests to bring a tray of Christmas cookies for an old-fashioned cookie swap.

[Iced Sugar Cookies from 100 Hottest Holiday Cookies]

3. Kids: It's true, you must always consider the kids at seasonal soirees. Set up a "Kids Corner" with board games, coloring books, and kid-friendly holiday treats, like these Christmas Cookies for Kids.

[Peanut Butter 'n' Jelly Scones from Holiday Recipes for Kids]

4. Drinks: As the holiday hostess, you decide to serve alcohol or not. If serving spirits, consider making a signature sipper, like Jingle Juice or Rudolph's Tipsy Spritzer, or simply set up a stocked bar where guests can serve themselves. For a dry affair, try a bowl of festive, kid-friendly punch, like this Holiday Punch with a frozen, floating wreath.

[Candy Cane Martini from Editor's Favorite Holiday Cocktails]

5. Party Favors (Food Gifts): For a festive finish to your Holiday Open House, never allow a guest to go home empty-handed. Give the gift no one can deny: chocolate. If you have leftovers, make sure your guest grab their favorite sweet treats and take them home. This makes clean-up even easier!

[Hazelnut Nutella Sandwich Cookies from Gifts from the Oven]