It's the most wonderful time of the year: party season!
Don't worry if you don't have a spacious dance hall at your disposal like those dance-crazed teens in Footloose. With a little creativity, ingenuity, and a thoughtfully curated guest list, you can host the soirée of the season in your very own home!
First, crack open one of these unique hosting guides for inspiration:
Designer, author, and perennial party maestro Steven Stolman shares his secrets for stylish entertaining in this practical yet hilarious manual for aspiring hosts and guests. The scrumptious but decidedly un-fussy recipes pair perfectly with the fun, cheeky voice of the author, who truly believes that anyone can throw a fabulous party. Even the most reluctant of socialites will be inspired by Stolman's rallying cry: "For those of you who never have anyone over, for crying out loud, just open a can of peanuts and call me!"
I'll admit, I was a little suspicious of this baby pink little confection of a book upon first glance. I thought for sure it would be way too precious, causing me to hang my head in shame for not having a home straight from the pages of an Anthropologie catalog. Then I saw the deliberate, designed wine stain on the cover, and my fears were assuaged! Although some of the advice seems to assume that readers are at a certain level of wealth and means (sorry, Kate Spade, but I don't think I know a single person who owns "fine china"!), this book is ultimately a sparkling, warm, and unpretentious guide where the biggest "secret" to a memorable party is putting people in a good mood: "...everyone dancing, laughing, being witty...and not sweating the small stuff." Oh, and not Instagramming at the dinner table!
After presiding over 150 dinner parties of his own, Corey Mintz has quite the arsenal of hosting wisdom to share. In his extremely opinionated, bitingly funny little book, Mintz takes you through all the steps of throwing a successful dinner party, from the table setting ("The centerpiece...is a stupid nuisance that only gets in the way!") to politely calling it a night (be warned, your guests "may be drunk and not pick up on social cues").
If you like your parties with a side of costumes and theatrics, this is the book for you! Each chapter is filled with loads of fun ideas for throwing the vintage-themed party of your dreams, whether it's an elegant, Victorian-era tea party complete with dainty finger sandwiches, or a 1920s speakeasy with old jazz records and bathtub gin!
Next, break out the cocktail shaker and build up your beverage repertoire:
And here I thought the only holiday drink options were eggnog and glögg, opens a new window! Mouthwatering photographs accompany these 50 recipes for traditional winter cocktails with a twist (Fernet hot toddies, anyone?), plus a whole lot of drinks you've never heard of like the You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, opens a new window.
Don't get trapped mixing drinks in the kitchen all night! Bring back the long lost art of the punch bowl with these 40 large batch drink recipes, and give yourself the freedom to mingle!
Frosty nights call for toasty beverages! Warm your chilly guests with a cold weather pick-me-up like the Rosy Cheeks, a blush-colored citrus mocktail, or the Wilted Mimosa, a cozy take on my favorite brunch cocktail.
Finally, and most importantly, get to work on that party playlist!
With hoopla, opens a new window, you'll never run out of rug-cutting jams to keep the party going! We all have our own ideas of what constitutes "party music," of course, but might I suggest exploring the dizzying array of '80s albums, opens a new window at hoopla? You can borrow up to 8 titles from hoopla every month and keep them for a week!