I love to host parties. Let me rephrase that. I love the IDEA of hosting parties. Living in a condo can make it hard to throw the kind of party I want because of the limited space. I’m slowly starting to get better by hosting smaller groups but even so, it can be a lot of work with limited resources. Continuing with my theme of making the most of your small space and because we are in the biggest hosting season of them all, I thought I would share my tips on how to host an easy but fun holiday party (or any kind of party) when you live in a condo.
Keep your decor simple. With limited space (and likely storage), you don’t want to deal with unnecessary clutter and trying to find room to store it all. I’m a big fan of repurposing the pieces I have and using them as decor or simply enhancing what I have with simple pieces like lights or candles. One of my favourite items to use as decor is frames or boards that you can write on with chalk. You can customize the messaging for the party but then reuse the pieces day to day.
Drop In/Open House
The drop-in/open house format of parties is one that I have recently come to appreciate. As someone with an (ahem) larger social circle, it would be nearly impossible for me to have everyone over at the same time. This year I’m actually planning on hosting an open house style party so people can either drop in for a little while or stay as long as they like. Less pressure for both the guests and the host and definitely easier to manage.
Snacks and Nibbles
Dinners are overrated and frankly alot of work. Admit it, the best part about any party is usually the appetizers and snacks. Cheese boards, charcuterie, mini nibbles, jams, spreads, dips, I could go on and on! Creating an epic spread snacks and nibbles is often alot easier to plan and prepare and it also takes away the formality of a full dinner. Frankly, snack foods and appetizers can often be more filling (and satisfying) then a full coursed dinner.
Pre-Planning is KEY
Parties should be fun and not cause you any stress as the host. In order to minimize the hundreds of things that you’ll be dealing with on the day of, try to do as much as you can in the days leading up to the party.
5-7 Days Before – You should have an idea of how many people you are expecting by this time. Focus this time on planning: the theme, what decor you need, the menu and drinks. This would also be a good time to do an initial shop for both food and any supplies you need. Try to buy most of the non-perishable items in advance and buy the items you want to keep fresh closer to the day of the party. This is also a good time to figure out the party set-up. Where the food and drinks go, where people will sit. Once you have the idea in your head it will be alot easier to set up.
2-3 Days Before
This the time you want to focus on getting your space ready. Set up the decor, arrange the space in the way you want it, arrange your tables with how you want your supplies, food and drinks laid out. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. Believe me, you don’t want to be dealing with mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms a day before your guests arrive.
Day Before the Party
After taking care of your set up and completing an initial shop, you’ll know what you’re missing. This is the time to do your final shop. Buy your fresh food items and anything you might have missed. This is also the time you also want to try and prepare food items that can be made ahead of time. Think dips, cutting up vegetables/fruits, cubing cheese, baking desserts etc. Again, anything you can avoid doing on the day of, do the day before.
Day of the Party
It’s finally the big day. Your place is set up and now you just have to get the food and drinks out and wait for your guests to arrive. Create an ambience by putting on some music and about an hour before your guests are scheduled to arrive start to put out the food. Again you can keep the items you want to be fresh or cold in the fridge and put them out once your guests arrive but by this time everything should be out and ready so minimal work is required of you and you can enjoy time with your guests.
I for one live alone so I only have a dishware set for 4 people. Also, no one likes to do dishes. Make life easier on yourself and your guests by opting for disposable dishware. There are some really fun and innovative products out there that look AND feel like real dishes. You can also get creative by picking different colors/patterns that go with the theme of your party. Believe me, when it comes time to clean up after the party is over, you’ll be happy that all you need to do is take out the garbage.
Well friends, that’s it! I hope these tips were helpful. They’ve definitely helped me out in the past and will continue to be my guide in the future. Happy holidays and happy hosting everyone!