Most friends and family have a little time off between Christmas and New Year’s, so that might be a good time to wine and dine them for a few hours with a festive party open house style.
“We like to start with the selection of a date. It seems simple enough, but especially around the holidays, people find themselves in a bit of a time crunch,” says Jeffrey Monteith, Event Coordinator for Casal Catering in Barrie. “We then select the number of guests expected and go from there. This helps define the requirements for food, drinks, and place settings.”
Marni Heather, Owner of Wishes Concierge in Barrie advises hosting the party on a Friday night. “Hire someone for a few hours to do prep, and pick-up all your food and drinks. Also, a cleaner can save lots of time too. If any guest asks to bring something, say yes! A little goes a long way. Keep it simple.”
After you’ve selected a date and have an idea of who you’re going to send invitations to via mail or social media, it’s time to consider your décor, food, and beverage choices.
Decorating your home for a festive party should include warm and inviting ornamentation. Use poinsettias, wreaths, Christmas trees, lights, festive table cloths, candles, and garland, advises Monteith.
“Balloons are an inexpensive and easy solution to keep it fun,” says Heather.
“An often-overlooked item is sound. With the explosion of streaming services, fun and quirky holiday classics are abounding. You might also consider a woodfire video for your television. If children are attending, possibly have a streaming playlist of your favourite holiday cartoons ready to go,” suggest Monteith.
Feeding your guests is the next step. Make sure there’s enough seating, rent dishes and cutlery, or use recyclable paper plates and cups to save on running the dishwasher. Provide small hors d’oeuvres, or make it a buffet style.
“We’ve noticed a trend in potluck style for Christmas party open house style events. In recent years, we’ve also seen an increase in our pick-up catering service for this type of event. We’re often asked for assistance in menu ideas for things they can just order, pick-up, reheat, and serve,” says Lori Buch, Event Manager for Liberty North in Barrie.
If you want to offer a full dinner, have your party catered with an on-site chef and servers. “We do this often, and the size of the party can be as small as four to hundreds of guests,” says Buch.
“Keep it flavourful, but simple. Roasts, or items that can be baked like lasagna will keep you away from the stove and with your guests. Salads are also great sides. They can be prepared ahead of time,” says Monteith.
Ask guests to bring dessert, or call up a local bakery such as Sweet Time Bake Shoppe and order a few sweet trays. Have an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages too. Provide drink recipes so your guests can mix their own drinks!
Wishes Concierge, Barrie
Liberty North, Barrie
Casal Catering, Barrie
Sweet Time Bake Shoppe, Orillia
64 Mississaga St W