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As we write this in summer 2021 — coming out of the pandemic — we and our clients are reveling in the thought of hosting events again. Then, it hits us: This event-planning advice is good any year starting in the summertime. Holiday parties will be huge this year — but historically, November and December dates have filled up fast, because smart employers, families and friends know that giving thanks for a job well done, or because of love and friendship, never goes out of style.

Photo by Emily Wren Photography

First order of business: Nail down the date and location of your event as soon as possible and start inviting guests now to assure that your event is on their calendars. This is a win-win, since buttoning up your holiday party details early means you can relax and enjoy the holiday season while others are scrambling to find a great venue. Weekends book quickest and are most costly, so consider hosting a Sunday brunch or weekday event which will also make the most of your budget. Choosing the date and location and communicating to your guest list is as important for at-home parties as they are for corporate gatherings, too.

Photo by Krista Brackin Photography

Ready to party? Here are our five favorite tips for planning the best holiday party ever

1. Surprise With Ethnic Foods

Offering multicultural food stations not only guarantees rave review but also honors the many different fall and winter holidays. Take a page from Thanksgiving, Christmas, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and more for a deliciously different affair.

Photo by Krista Brackin Photography

2. Indulge With a Signature Cocktail

You’ll catch your guests’ attention with a next-level cocktail! Honor the fall and winter with sips featuring cranberries or a seasonal dessert. Two of our go-to holiday drinks are cranberry margarita and vanilla apple pie (with Fireball!).

3. Brighten With Non-Traditional Colors

Many different holiday traditions mean red and green are not always the go-to colors for your theme. Just as wedding parties are taking on brighter colors, so, too, can your holiday decorations. Think outside the box — your event planner can help.

Photo: Pexels

4. Party With a Purpose

Celebrate the reason for the season and partner with a charity. You’ll brighten the holidays for those less fortunate, but their hearts won’t be the only ones to feel full. Great choices are women’s and children’s shelters which always are ready and willing to provide needs and wish lists.

Photo: Pexels

5. Be Remembered With Perfect Party Favors

Think about making the grand finale — party favors! — tie into your theme or cuisine. Make an extra donation to your favorite charity on behalf of the group and send everyone home with a good feeling. Offer custom mugs at the coffee bar for a take-home treat, or a festive decoration filled with something sweet. Keep an eye to your guest list and strategize something unique with your event planner.Ready to start planning your holiday party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

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Robert Ryan Catering & Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a 5-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news, and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo: Pexels